The Men & Mice Blog

It's a multicloud world, we're just managing it.

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 1/22/19 10:13 AM

 

After initial resistance, the IP, and more broadly network, infrastructure market has begun its love affair with multicloud in earnest. During the Gartner IOCS events last fall in Las Vegas and London multiple analysts expressed how the maturing of network management includes not only cloud, but the use of  multiple cloud vendors within a network architecture.

But in business circles multicloud can still present a number of questions, such as:

  • What is a multicloud network?

  • Why choose (or learn about) multicloud?

  • What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of multicloud networks?

In this series we'll answer those questions, and more - from business use cases to vendor-specific (AWS, Azure, VMware) implementations.

What is a multicloud network?

Simply put, 'multicloud' is the use of multiple cloud environments within one network.

A multicloud network can be

  • comprised solely of multiple cloud vendors,

  • or a hybrid network utilizing both on-prem infrastructure and more than one cloud service.

Hybrid multicloud IP management

For network managers, the multicloud’s advantage is diversity of supply chain and distribution of resources. In addition, multiclouds offer automation for streamlining task loads and eliminating misconfiguration (human error) as well as adding redundancy to protect against attacks, all while ensuring a backend-agnostic implementation of cloud network technology.

Why multicloud?

By utilizing various vendors, IP infrastructure managers can take advantage of the strengths of each cloud service. This affords companies more

  • flexibility & portability,

  • agility,

  • security & reliability.

Both cloud-native and external support IPAM and DNS services benefit from a multicloud management approach.

Flexibility & Portability

Cloud networks can do many things, but there's no vendor that does everything for everyone. For example, some may offer robust facilities for IP addresses but lack the requirements for a proper DNS solution. Another vendor’s great infrastructure for running DNS may lack the necessary pool for allocating IPs.

Due to this, and the desire to capitalize on best-in-class solutions for complex network needs, cloud adoption often naturally turns to multicloud. With overlay solutions that integrate with compatible APIs configurations can be freely migrated, replicated, and scaled - therefore creating agility.

Agility

Companies who take advantage of multicloud with the visibility of overlays have better tools to achieve better resource utilization across the board, and easier migration and scaling processes to meet business demands, rather than limit them.

Furthermore, multicloud networking offers better redundancy - a key for security and reliability.

Security & Reliability

When it comes to failover, redundancy is key. Dangers from both inside (such as human error) and outside (malicious DDoS attacks or simply hardware failure) can render networks unusable unless they can offload workloads seamlessly.

In the unlikely event of all things going wrong, any one cloud service’s all-encompassing SLA may still have blind spots for your network setup, particularly since you may be using those various services to cover a multitude of different needs. But a multicloud environment, and more so a hybrid environment (in this case we mean a mix of on-prem and cloud/multicloud), can offer reliability by enabling the distribution of resources (i.e. eliminating single point of failure in the network supply chain).

The Men & Mice Suite is built for hybrid and multicloud networking

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To take advantage of multicloud networks, businesses need solutions that are widely compatible and capitalize on cloud-native functionality. Without the former the range of options is limited (defeating the purpose of multicloud) and without the latter much of the ROI of the process is lost (due to limited efficiency).

Men & Mice develops network management solutions at the DNS, DHCP, and IPAM level.

Like a multicloud, the Men & Mice Suite has been widely compatible backend-agnostic, beginning with on-prem compatibility with Windows, Cisco and Linux/Unix then into the cloud with AWS and Azure as well as several cloud DNS services like Akamai FastDNS, DYN, NS1, Amazon Route 53 and Azure DNS. Instead of relying on a specific vendor or technology (or even a select few of them) we've focused on facilitating the communication between them while also offering a powerful management solution within the Men & Mice Suite.

The Men & Mice Suite is API-driven, software-based solution that integrates cloud-native resources and functionality. We know that creating a network focused on strengthening business progress means creating a complex network. Our focus is on simplifying these complexities in the network management process-- helping the network help the business.

Stay tuned

After this overview, in the coming weeks we'll be examining the particulars of multicloud environments and networking.

Whether you’re looking for platform-specific information, business use cases, or technological discussions, you’ll find it in this series. Subscribe to our blog updates to make sure you don’t miss anything, and let us know if at any point you’d like to know more about a particular subject.

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Topics: multi-cloud, network management, ip infrastructure, IP address management

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 3: Cloud integration

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/3/18 9:54 AM

 We’re continuing our series of posts on steps to creating a sensible environment from your scattered network resources, for business reliability and efficiency. In this post, we examine how to tap into flexible and affordable cloud resources without losing money on the hidden costs of migration and misconfiguration. This Playbook series consists of five parts:

Each post in the series presents real-world problems for which Men & Mice have solutions.

Pitfalls of cloud adoption on infrastructure

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Imagine that you are:

  • A CTO of a global logistics company and your corporate network is diverse, due in large part to acquisitions, where segments are in cloud, co-located and in your own data centers. Your warehouses around the world have to run independently, to ensure there are no service or operations interruptions, even if cut off from the rest of the network. How do you consolidate and synchronize between on-prem and cloud networks, even when a location goes offline?

  • A network administrator and your company is tapping into cloud infrastructure for the first time. You’re tasked with overseeing workload migration and establishing processes for orchestration. Where do you start?

  • The Director of Infrastructure Services at an IoT company providing personalized services for users. Privacy is paramount, and your solution relies on heavy cloud usage — but utilizing virtual machines on-demand is slow and customers experience issues. You identify that your on-prem DNS is the bottleneck.

From a business standpoint, the advantages of cloud services cannot be overstated. While attending Gartner IOCS London last week, we saw our vision validated. The overarching message to IT Infrastructure and Operations leaders was to modernize, diversify and synchronize. Further, AWS re:Invent, which we also attended, showcased Amazon’s focus on streamlining hybrid environments, which was great news for customers of Men & Mice Suite who capitalize on our compatibility with AWS and AWS Route 53, from an IPAM and DNS perspective respectively.  The modern strategy in network is to align network architecture and operations with business logic and policy for more intelligent infrastructure.

This means capitalizing on and properly integrating cloud resources into existing networks, and avoiding hidden and unexpected costs (“What is this $100,000 bill from our [cloud provider]??” --Philip Dawson, during Gartner IOCS London). Integrating is the hard part… or at least it used to be.

We’re very much looking forward to continuing the conversation around hybrid cloud efficiencies and our leadership in DNS, DHCP and IPAM for complex hybrid networks at Gartner IOCS in Las Vegas this week.

What You Need

Every network management solution must include some kind of integration with cloud services. There’s a difference, however, between cloud-native integration at the core and compatibility as a feature or an afterthought. Worse, forcing customers to retrofit antiquated solutions into cloud services as a means of retaining a revenue model destined for extinction.

Furthermore, compatibility with a range of cloud services (from AWS to Azure to others) is important: flexibility means little if it comes with a set of strings that lock your business in. You need portability. Your network will scale up, down, in and out faster than ever before. Adaptability is key. Plus, distributed resources and redundancy protect against DDoS and other failures.

Where Men & Mice Can Help

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Men & Mice Suite is an overlay solution for core of IP infrastructure management. Its flexibility as an overlay above the entire network, regardless of platform and environment, extends beyond on-prem, into cloud services as well.

Because the Men & Mice Suite handles network the same way, no matter the underlying setup or location, it’s especially suited to consolidate and synchronize, making management more efficient and automation easier. Further, its built-in reporting features (specifically audit trails) channel all network information from various resources through a central component, enabling quick, transparent data on what’s happening in your IP infrastructure and where.

If a part of the network becomes isolated, for example, Men & Mice Suite will then seamlessly sync and update once reconnected.

Another roadblock for business at the network level is incompatibility between cloud services.  Each vendor organizes data differently, with different APIs, which creates a need for specialized personnel, support services and added costs and can make moving workloads to or across cloud infrastructure frustrating at best and impossible at worst.

The Men & Mice Suite simplifies orchestration and automation through its reliable APIs, which are compatible with the best-in-class cloud services, even capitalizing on their cloud-native features.

It utilizes the existing service features to pull valuable Cloud IPAM and DNS information into a centralized management interface together with on-prem data. And all is done with minimal disruption, thanks to the software-based design and virtual appliances. 

From AWS to Azure, from on-prem private clouds to public infrastructure, the Men & Mice Suite brings a holistic approach to network core management in the age of cloud. Its simplified operations workflow cuts out hidden costs and creates a single reliable management layer for DNS, DHCP, and IPAM.

In short, Men & Mice Suite lets you scale your network to suit YOUR needs and we’ll focus on providing you with the management capabilities and visibility, no matter what’s under the network hood and how it changes over time.

In our next post, we take a look at day-to-day network core management of IP infrastructure, and how we make that simple and straightforward as well.

 Already a customer of Men & Mice Suite? You can now share your experience through Peer Insights and G2Crowd! 

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Topics: multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, hybrid network

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 1: IP Conflict Resolution

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 11/9/18 7:56 AM

Picking up on the deep dive into sensible management for your scattered network resources, this Playbook blog series consists of five parts (plus the overview we've published previously) that are:

Each part of this blog series presents real-world problems that Men & Mice have experience in solving. This week’s focus is on Conflict Resolution.

Addressing IP overlaps and DNS conflicts

Imagine that you are a:

  • CIO with several geolocations but lacking a core network management solution, whose company just got acquired. You're looking for a solution that would be a good fit for the merged environments.
  • CTO of a solutions provider for companies. One of your customers, operating two data centers and building another for cloud services, needs an IPAM solution that can bridge between on premises and cloud.
  • Consultant, advising with a project involving the merger of two environments. You're looking for a single automation platform that can resolve the issues arising from overlapping network spaces.

The number one obstacle is resolving conflicts between services, applications, network environments and geolocations, at the IP address, DHCP and DNS levels.Conflict resolution increases security, efficiency and availability. 

What You Need

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An overlay solution deployed on top of your IP infrastructure. A complete overview of every asset you have, and a convenient (preferably automated) way to resolve existing conflicts between them. (And, of course, prevent further ones.)

At the first step you need an easy way to analyze data from across network components. Longer term, one that helps ensure that new IP address assignments, DNS zones, and DHCP scopes are not created without cross-checking for conflicts throughout the entire network environment, including your on-prem and cloud (and multi-cloud as is often the case now).

How Men & Mice Can Help

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A software-based and API-driven solution, the Men & Mice Suite was developed to simplify core management of IP infrastructure in heterogeneous environments.

Software-based means nominal performance impact on your hardware and cloud resources, and easier deployment because there are no physical appliances to implement. The Men & Mice Suite works on top of any environment(s) you have without impeding performance or disrupting operations.

API-driven design creates convenient ways to manage and automate your DHCP, DNS, and IP Address Management. It also collates various platforms into a single control mechanism through a central interface. The Men & Mice Suite boasts a backend-agnostic API that plugs into network components seamlessly.

You and your team can reduce project time and cost significantly through more quickly identifying overlaps and conflicts, which are visible in the Men & Mice Suite, as well as  more quickly identifying means for resolving them. Resources, be they related to DNS, DHCP, or IP Address management, can be replaced, upgraded, or expanded without the need to start over from scratch. Plus, with Men & Mice, you can capitalize on and migrate to/from whichever best-in-class cloud services make sense for you (Azure, AWS…).

DNS, DHCP and IPAM Demo

Topics: multi-cloud, IPAM, IP address management

5 steps to sensible IPAM for multi-faceted networks

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/15/18 6:57 AM

Let's say your business has just gone through a merger or acquisition. The network environments and resources are incompatible-- each using different vendors to operate and manage various segments of your network. You want to consolidate these network resources for better control, security, and efficiency. How do you go about it? Creating a project plan is a good start, until it gets out of hand and vendor lock-ins create impossible, costly hurdles. 

You need solutions that support your plan.

Men & Mice Suite DNS DHCP IPAM

Here are our five basic steps to successfully taking control of your scattered network assets. We'll cover each step in greater detail in later posts.  Think of this as a 'big picture' blueprint.

1. Addressing IP overlaps and DNS conflicts

The number one obstacle to control is resolving conflicts, at the IP address, DHCP and DNS levels. It's true, whether you're trying to integrate new network groups after a successful merger or acquisition, or simply need to get a better handle on the ones resulting from various segmented projects across your business.

Look for a solution that gives you a complete overview of every asset you have, and a convenient - even automated - way to resolve conflicts. An overlay, a solution that lives on top of your IP infrastructure and analyzes data from across network components, can help ensure that new IP address assignments, DNS zones, and DHCP scopes are not created without cross-checking for conflicts throughout the entire network.

2. Scaling existing configurations

Then there's the issue of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Many neglect to upgrade software services in fear that it will cause unforeseen conflicts that could potentially render a network inoperable. Plus, any organization that's been around for a while generally has its workflows and configurations worked out. It makes no sense to start from scratch or risk misconfigurations, unless you have no other option, right?

A proper DNS, DHCP, and IPAM suite should be able to unobtrusively pull data from your existing configurations, without further complicating the network. Even better,  if it can replicate at scale to suit your expanding needs, particularly into cloud. Look for API-first solutions that demonstrate compatibility with best-in-class providers. 

3. Taking advantage of the cloud

Speaking of expanding needs: cloud platforms offer many advantages to businesses experiencing network strain as a result of business growth and the digitization of every aspect of life and commerce. Little to no up-front costs, metered billing, and flexibility to scale up or down as needed makes cloud services attractive. They also introduce new problems, chief of which is additional network complexity and vendor 'lock-in'.

To avoid lock-in, increase scalability and portability, find a backend-agnostic solution that reduces the need for non-scalable, home-grown software and frees up valuable engineering and operational resources to focus on growth. Data and network assignments from core network components should work and synchronize across multiple platforms to adapt to changing needs.

Further, a solution that capitalizes on its compatibility with cloud-native functionality in cloud services like AWS and Azure, rather than retro-fitting its own solutions into cloud environments, is more apt to mitigate additional complexities down the line. It also give network administrators the ability to migrate between services as needed.    

4. Simplifying the day-to-day

Simplicity also boosts operational efficiency. Automating mundane network functions and unifying all on-prem and cloud DNS, DHCP and IPAM into a single-pane-of-glass console reduces network complexities.

A lightweight, agile management software should complement your desire to easily see and control everything across your network while enabling you to simplify everyday actions, scale and replicate as well as control delegation responsibilities to those in the field.

5. Securing the networks

Delegation can become one of the largest pain points when proactively defending against security issues, however. Increasing access can create more attack vectors. This combined with the utilization of multiple vendors across network functions, creates opportunities for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. The balance between implementing conveniences and ensuring network security can often be tricky. 

Choosing a solution that enables granular, role-based access and complete operational transparency is not only useful but critical. Find a solution that allows you to retain access controls from various network components and delegate only a well-defined set of permissions to individuals or groups across network resources, whose actions are then logged through a unified audit trail.  

Keeping an eye on your bottom line

Consolidating and upgrading your core network components doesn't have to be riddled with runaway costs and operational headaches. Just like your network itself, your network management toolset needs to work for you. Both operationally and financially you need something as complex as it absolutely has to be.

Men & Mice Suite is a robust, agnostic, overlay software solution for DNS, DHCP and IP address management that includes a powerful unified console for consolidating control and visibility over hybrid and multi-cloud networks. 

Trusted for decades by the architects and managers overseeing some of the world’s largest network infrastructures, Men & Mice Suite offers simplified integration, advanced control, and improved security.

DNS, DHCP & IPAM Software Trial

Topics: multi-cloud, "cloud dns", CLOUD, networking best practices

Men & Mice at Microsoft Ignite 2018: hybrid compatibility with on-prem Windows Servers and Azure / multi-cloud portability

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 9/5/18 2:25 PM

Fresh from the great experiences at VMWorld in Las Vegas — including a Finalist nod in the Networking category for the Best of VMworld Awards, thank you very much — the Men & Mice team is heading to Orlando, FL at the end of September, to talk all things Windows, Azure, hybrid DNS and IP address management at Microsoft Ignite 2018.

(Best of) VMworld 2018

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Men & Mice was awarded as the Finalist in TechTarget’s ‘Best of VMworld 2018’ awards in the Networking category, and we couldn’t be more proud.

We brought the Men & Mice Suite to VMworld to showcase our no-nonsense, unified approach to simplifying enterprise DNS, DHCP and IP address management. Our commitment to developing software solutions that scale and adapt to changing network needs while keeping costs and complexity down (through automation, virtualization and full network visibility) were validated both in conversations we had at our booth and reflected in the award we received for Men & Mice Suite v9.1.

The Men & Mice Suite is an overlay management solution that can be dropped on to an organization’s existing on-prem and cloud infrastructure, maximizing investments to give full visibility, synchronization and added security across network environments. Its fast-implementation and non-disruptive deployment, as well as reliable REST APIs, cloud-native functionality, fine-grained access controls and web-based management application simplifies day-to-day operations while amplifying compatibility with best-in-class platforms and vendors for greater network flexibility and portability as an enterprise network evolves.

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At Microsoft Ignite 2018 -- Hybrid & Multi-cloud Network Management

Microsoft Ignite is a prized opportunity not just for Microsoft, but for third-party developers, like Men & Mice, to connect with customers, partners (and each other) in order to advance Network technology further.

The Men & Mice Suite was born amidst the rolling green hills of Iceland but feels right at home flying in the Azure skies of Microsoft (and on the ground in Windows Servers-based on-prem).

Ignite will focus on cloud and networking (and cloud networking.) as dialog around cloud integration shifts from“if” to “how” and “how to make it better.” From datacenter modernization, and its fundamental transition to Managed Services, to cloud-native development for future-ready network infrastructure, Men & Mice will feel right at home. We are about simplified DNS, DHCP and IP address management, after all.

Azure DNS

Men & Mice has been working closely with the Azure DNS team for a long time, to implement full support for Azure DNS in the Men & Mice Suite, an augmentation of the suite’s existing functionality with Windows-based on-prem environments, unparalleled Active Directory integration and hybrid IPAM synchronization with Azure cloud instances.

Men & Mice customers have been able to enjoy the same high availability, performance, and convenience of Azure DNS while maintaining the low cost and full control of their DNS domains and IP address blocks via the tools provided by the Men & Mice Suite.

With the newest additions to the Men & Mice Suite  v9.1, including xDNS Redundancy, which includes cloud-native integration and support, full portability of DNS zones between on-prem, cloud and between cloud vendors, fully leveraging your resources has never been simpler and more efficient. With our web-based management application you can even take everyday network management on the go, while our APIs offer powerful automation (and more!).

Meet Us at Booth 108

Drop by our booth to see how the Men & Mice Suite can increase network flexibility, scalability and simplify your Windows and Azure-based network management — including hybrid networks with on-prem Windows servers, IPAM in Azure and DNS on Azure DNS — without burdening administrators and end users with the complexities.

Come meet us in Orlando to see for yourself.

DNS, DHCP and IPAM Demo

Topics: azure, Windows, Azure DNS, Microsoft Ignite, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, Men & Mice Suite

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The Men & Mice blog publishes educational, informational, as well as product-related material for everyone and anyone interested in IP Address Management, DNS, DHCP, IPv6, DNSSEC and more.

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