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Men & Mice @ Cisco Live 2019: New Best Practices for Future-ready Hybrid and Multicloud Networks

Posted by Men & Mice on 6/5/19 11:28 AM

 

Cisco Live San Diego: we’re coming! Find us at booth 2234 for all your DNS, DHCP, and IPAM needs, plus sweet swag from Iceland!

Copy of Copy of Booth #2432Whether you’re attending Cisco Live or not, chances are your enterprise or large organization is well into developing or implementing its cloud strategy. Further, you’re likely capitalizing on a number of cloud services across multiple platforms.

This year at Cisco Live, we’ll have Paul Terrill, our North American Director of Sales Operations, taking the Think Tank stage for a look into what best practices you can adopt today to get your environment ready for the hybrid and multicloud networks of tomorrow.

With more than a decade of experience delivering software solutions that meet the diverse IP infrastructure needs of some of the world’s largest multinational enterprises and government organizations, Paul is an expert in identifying, and solving, large scale network management challenges.

Here’s a sneak peek at Paul’s talk.

Adopting best practices for a future-ready network

Scheduled for Monday, June 10, 03:30 PM - 04:00 PM, PDT, at SDCC - World of Solutions, Think Tank 2,  Paul’s talk will focus on the challenges organizations face in a cloud-native world, the solutions that transform networks into a future-ready state, and the pitfalls to avoid along the way.

During the session, Paul will explore new best practices and the advantages to adapting hybrid network strategies to take advantage of service-native features in all IP infrastructure solutions, whether on-premise, cloud or multicloud. Specific attention will be given to some of the common pain points in adapting hybrid and multicloud network strategies, such as the potential loss of access control assignments, lost time and staff resources during migration processes and compatibility hurdles between multiple services (and how to overcome them).

Additionally, Paul will describe in detail the advantage of Cisco IOS DHCP against other solutions, as well as where most hybrid and multicloud migration strategies go off the rails. He’ll also be speaking about why IT decision makers need not fear APIs (in fact, why they should embrace them) and why homegrown solutions are no longer acceptable.

Made with your infrastructure in mind

We understand the importance of visibility, control, automation, and security — and also how challenging those can be in complex, hybrid IP infrastructures. Men & Mice provides API-driven DNS, DHCP, and IPAM software solutions to global enterprise, education, and government organizations.

Men & Mice also recognizes the widespread presence and critical importance of Cisco hardware in enterprise networks. With products like Umbrella, Cisco is continuing to bring network infrastructure innovation to larger audiences. By utilizing the Men & Mice Suite with Umbrella, Cisco customers gain the advantage of being able to control internal DNS resolvers, numbering anywhere between dozens to hundreds, in one fell swoop. In addition, proper visibility quickly highlights servers not properly configured.

Questions?

While in San Diego next week, come and listen to Paul’s talk, and/or visit us at booth 2234 throughout the event. You’re welcome to fire away with whatever questions come to mind - our experts will be on hand to help you solve your unique enterprise networking pain points.

Topics: DNS, Cisco Live, hybrid network, Cisco IOS, multicloud

Men & Mice Suite version 9.2 released with AWS multi-account management, DNS Workflow, advanced Reporting and Azure Marketplace availability

Posted by Men & Mice on 3/6/19 7:11 AM

Men & Mice Suite Version 9.2 continues to deliver on the company’s commitment to making complex enterprise IP infrastructure management, across hybrid and multicloud environments, as elegantly simple and quietly robust as customer-grade technology, but on an enterprise-grade scale.

Men & Mice Suite Version 9.2 in a nutshell (tl;dr):

●   New Workflow module (add-on): greater ease and control of DNS management by enabling users to request and optionally schedule the fulfilment of DNS changes for administrator approval/denial.

●   New Advanced Reporting module (add-on): create tailor-made reports by correlating data and templates in just a few steps, scheduling the results to be generated daily, weekly or on a custom schedule.

●   Multiple account support for AWS: manage and retrieve data from AWS master account credentials associated with up to thousands of AWS sub-accounts.

●   Availability on the Azure Marketplace: try the Men & Mice Suite on Azure, or implement with one-click install (with step-by-step instructions).

●   Improved DHCP functionality for scopes and reservations on ISC DHCP, ISC Kea, and Cisco

●    A host of added functionality for filtering, quick commands, and data displays for further mobility and ease of operations.

Free Trial of the Men & Mice Suite version 9.2

Not sure yet? Read more about the Men & Mice Suite's new 9.2 features and functionality.

Artboard 1-100Five noteworthy updates in Men & Mice Suite 9.2 for a Future-ready IP Infrastructure Strategy

Beyond the consistent improvements customers have come to expect from Men & Mice, version 9.2 of the Men & Mice Suite focuses on the expansion of cloud integration, such as AWS multi-account support and Azure Marketplace availability, as well as simplifying DNS workflows and deepening reporting capabilities with new add-on modules.

AWS Multi-Account Management

Men & Mice Suite already features cloud-native integration with AWS and Azure as well as Akamai Fast DNS, Amazon Route 53, Azure DNS, Dyn DNS and NS1 to best manage and synchronize IP address management and DNS respectively. In the v9.2 release, Men & Mice has added multi-account support in AWS, to manage and retrieve data from AWS master account credentials associated with up to thousands of AWS sub-accounts.

aws-multi

DNS zones, VPCs and subnets can be listed for each AWS account subscription, dramatically cutting down administration while guaranteeing a global view/management of the cloud infrastructure.

New Workflow Module

One of the key new features in version 9.2 is the newly introduced Workflow module for efficient request and approval of DNS tasks. The Workflow module allows users to make requests for creating, modifying and deleting DNS records and optionally schedule the fulfillment of DNS changes. 

workflow

A common scenario for using the Workflow module would be a user requesting to add a new DNS record, modify or delete an existing DNS record. The request is created and is viewable to an administrator, along with other requests from other users in one comprehensive list, for approval or rejection, scheduling or immediate implementation. The new Workflow module can be licensed as an add-on to versions of Men & Mice Suite v9.2 or beyond. 

Advanced Reporting Module

In any enterprise-level organization, transparency and a clear line of responsibility are crucial. The new, advanced Reporting module, enables users and administrators with the ability to utilize, save and export for download a variety of report templates and customized reports.

reporting

In 2018, Men & Mice introduced simplified reporting features within the Men & Mice Suite. In Men & Mice v9.2, the new advanced Reporting module takes this several steps further, where reports can be tailor-made by correlating data and templates in just a few steps, scheduling the results to be generated daily, weekly or on a custom schedule. The advanced Reporting module can be licensed as an add-on to versions of Men & Mice Suite v9.2 or beyond.

We’ll cover the two brand new modules for Workflow and Reporting in detail in the coming weeks.

Men & Mice Suite goes live in the Azure Marketplace

azure-marketplace

Microsoft’s software and services are present in just about every organization’s infrastructure, making the business of keeping critical infrastructure up and running consistent, reliable, and familiar for a lot of network managers. Familiarity of technology has its benefits, particularly when it’s possible to extend your network into the cloud within the same Microsoft ecosystem, as is the case with Azure cloud services.

The first third-party solution to have integrated with Windows 2016 and Azure DNS, Men & Mice takes its long-term technological focus a step further by simplifying availability of the Men & Mice Suite for Microsoft Azure customers. From Version 9.2, the Men & Mice Suite is available through the Azure Marketplace. Deployment can be done in a matter of minutes instead of hours, with one-click install and easy-to-follow instructions. Simple as that.

Automation and the Men & Mice REST API

Not every network task requires human interaction. In fact, the life of a network manager can be simplified by automation in the right places. Men & Mice’s REST API offers the automation and customization needed to keep teams focused on the bigger picture and help keep networks secure.

network_menmice

In addition to improved automation and customization capabilities, some other great new features introduced in Men & Mice Suite v9.2 include added IPv6 support in its network creation wizard, single-click system updates and improved management of subnets, ranges, scopes, and more.

Changing The Way The World Sees Networks

Overlay solutions, such as the Men & Mice Suite, anticipate changing network needs, focus on compatibility between services and extend network investments while combating network conflicts and vulnerabilities. Likewise, Men & Mice’s dedication to establishing both technical and business partnerships for its solutions means customers can count on DevOps-friendly automation, synchronization and the unified visibility necessary to manage the next generation of enterprise networks.”  — Sigfús Magnússon, Head of Product, Men & Mice.

Let us walk you through a demo

Free Trial of the Men & Mice Suite version 9.2

Topics: Men & Mice, DNS, DHCP, IP address management, "cloud dns", Azure DNS, aws, azure, multi-cloud, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam

2019’s word of the year: multicloud (connectivity)

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 2/22/19 9:57 AM

It’s a multicloud world. (We’re just managing it.)

Whether you want to spell it multi cloud (with a space), multi-cloud (with a dash), or just ditch all of that and go full-on conjoined “multicloud”, the fact remains that multicloud utilization is on every business leader’s lips.

Whereas before enterprises viewed migration to the cloud as a distant possibility, the focus has now shifted entirely. Increasingly data intensive applications and services require that they speed up their digital transformation, and to stay competitive, explore the benefits of migrating their data, services and applications not only into one cloud, but many clouds.

Competing cloud infrastructure offerings, such as AWS and Azure, provide enterprises with undeniable benefits. Network availability, for instance, can more readily be optimized as workloads can be switched between vendors in the event of a localized failure. At the same time, utilizing one, or many clouds, also presents new challenges to network management.

How do you maintain multiple networks on multiple cloud platforms, each with their own means and methods of running their cloud environment?

In comes multicloud connectivity.

Multicloud connectivity is the software-defined, invisible layer of abstraction that takes care of communication between different (and often incompatible) vendors, platforms, and implementations (on-prem, hybrid, private, or public).

As digital transformation journeys are becoming more and more streamlined and less and less experimental, it helps network managers to consider the emerging best practices around multicloud connectivity.

Multicloud ways and woes: playing nice with each other

Organizations can and should take charge of picking services aligned with their cost-benefit vectors. From SaaS applications like Salesforce, Office 365, or Google Drive, to raw computing and storage infrastructure resources, most everything is delivered from the cloud. But that also means more moving parts, which can lead to possible service degradation.

Best practice: Cloud vendors aren’t motivated to play nice with each other, so it falls to organizations to plan for and implement multicloud connectivity in their cloud adoption strategy.

Multicloud ways and woes: security

In the charge to the cloud, there has been a huge focus on security for storage and computing resources. However, there hasn’t been a similar awareness of network vulnerabilities - and with multicloud re-defining networking it’s especially timely to pay attention to security now.  

Best practice: Beyond smart planning of networking strategies, multicloud connectivity helps to address the challenges posed by threats to network availability.

Multicloud ways and woes: disaster recovery

When disaster strikes,, cloud services are well-positioned to keep a business up and running regardless. DDoS attacks or simple human error disrupting everyday operations don’t need to  cause a total shutdown of an organization’s network. Building contingencies seem simpler in the multicloud, but disaster recovery can also put an increased strain on the network, particularly if network managers have to struggle with vastly differing operational requirements in different cloud environments.

Best practice: With such a critical role to play, networks need to rely on strong,  functional connectivity between multiple cloud environments to strengthen them.

Multicloud connectivity and the Men & Mice Suite

Multicloud makes connectivity not only crucial but defining. As a company focused on networking solutions, Men & Mice is excited about this unique emphasis on networking itself.

The Men & Mice Suite is a hybrid and multicloud DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management solution. It’s been built to provide the multicloud connectivity by being widely compatible, secure, and reliable.

It’s software-defined. The connectivity layer provided by the Men & Mice Suite depends on no set architecture or infrastructure and requires no single-point-of-failure hardware.

It’s compatible. API-driven and backend-agnostic, the Men & Mice Suite simplifies programmatic control and automation across multiple cloud vendors.

It’s secure. The Men & Mice Suite extends the enterprise-grade security over the connectivity layer, allowing for audit trails, role-based access controls, and migrating existing security policies to the cloud.

It’s fault-tolerant. Customers can rest easier as the fall-out from human error, DDoS attacks and cloud service outages can easily be mitigated by the Men & Mice xDNS Redundancy™ feature.

Hybrid multicloud IP management

With the upcoming release of version 9.2, the Men & Mice Suite improves on its already best-in-class solution. From deep AWS and Azure integration to the flexible web application, developing the Men & Mice xDNS Redundancy™ for added security and reliability, we’ve made multicloud DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management even better and ready to deliver on the need for connectivity.

Men & Mice Suite Free Trial

 

Topics: DNS redundancy, multi-cloud, multicloud

Multicloud networking: Integrating your AWS accounts

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 2/1/19 8:38 AM

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is probably one of the most well-known and utilized cloud (and soon to be on-prem) solutions providers. In addition to its technical robustness and market reach, enterprise businesses can rely on its proven reliability, metered billing and multitude of partner solutions.

When it comes to multicloud network environments, two questions occupy the minds of decisions makers:

  • When do you utilize cloud?

  • How do you maintain network health and integrity while utilizing cloud resources?

In this post, we present a few possible scenarios where synchronizing AWS resources with your on-prem corporate network is beneficial, as well as what to look for when evaluating the implementation.

When do you need AWS integration?

AWS, and cloud services in general are an attractive option to modernize and extend corporate networks and IT, providing resource availability at scale. Here are a few scenarios where Men & Mice customers are using AWS. 

  • Mergers and acquisitions create fast and immediate demand for resource scaling or consolidation. Both for incorporating newly acquired networks and migrating them

  • Project fragmentation, which benefits from a dynamically available pool of resources, as well as self-service, keeps management overhead low and minimizes bottlenecks. 

  • Physical expansions, whether new local offices and data centers or diverse geographies, enterprises take advantage of locally available resources or factor network architecture to reduce latency and increase performance.

  • Network diversification to prevent against DDoS and other malicious attacks.

Dynamic cloud in the slower moving enterprise

Enterprise businesses have developed networking practices to mitigate downtime and more frequently than ever, prevent against attacks. Starting from small-scale on-prem installations to utilizing large-scale private data centers, then cloud, diversifying the network supply chain is as mandatory as maintaining different logistics providers or materials suppliers.

More often than not, regulatory oversight also dictates much of what can and cannot be done. That presents an obstacle enterprise businesses have to consider or work around, particularly with regard to onboarding and utilizing cloud.

How to utilize AWS?

AWS and Amazon Route53 for DNS address the growing need for networking resources management in the cloud. But even Amazon recognizes the importance of visibility across an entire network setup,  introducing last fall the Route 53 Resolver for Hybrid Clouds, for bi-directional querying between on-prem and AWS.

This is exceptional news for AWS customers, particularly customers of Men & Mice Suite using AWS. Any cloud/multicloud configuration has to work natively, dynamically, and securely if its benefits are to be fully realized, a guiding principle of the development of the Men & Mice Suite. 

Natively

Cloud resources offer the most benefits when utilized to their full native extent, and synchronize with on-prem at the same time. Like spreadsheets were to IP Address Management, managing cloud services separately is both inefficient and enables a host of trouble down the line.

Proper multicloud networking needs a single management interface, an overlay,  that natively connects to the cloud and the cloud services’ features while providing complete visibility across the network, down to the management of zones and unification of audit trails.

Dynamically

If provisioning cloud resources is on par with the procurement of new hardware for the on-premise infrastructure, what’s the point? Scaling up or down using the cloud is an attractive concept, but unless it’s also easy to implement, adapt  and migrate when needs change, much of the benefit is lost.

Dynamic resources require, beyond native integration, a programmable and automated interface, capitalizing on APIs to simplify processes and retain security configurations.

Securely

It's critical to network security to have the ability to enforce the same property structure and protocols for network entities, regardless of whether across multiple cloud platforms, accounts or on-prem, to ensure adherence to corporate standards for network and IP provisioning. Likewise, retention of access controls, and complete visibility in network audit trails is equally important. 

Your IP infrastructure management software has to be able to handle management, synchronization and reporting, cohesively, authoritatively and securely.  

Utilizing Men & Mice with AWS

multicloud-cover

Overlay solutions, such as the multicloud-enabled Men & Mice Suite, alleviate these management, visibility and portability concerns.

The Men & Mice Suite comes with

  • native integration with IPAM and DNS residing in AWS and Amazon Route 53

  • replication and synchronization of multiple DNS zones through xDNS Redundancy™

  • an easy-to-use, web-based graphical interface for management of the entire multicloud network and a single compatible API layer for automation,

  • enterprise-grade security feature set and granular, role-based access controls.

  • Multi-account management of AWS accounts or an AWS account with multiple child accounts (note: upgrade to Men & Mice Suite 9.2 required for this feature).

The Men & Mice Suite keeps the chief advantages of multicloud networking (heterogenization of resources) while maintaining a homogenized management overview.

More clouds

What happens when your network is fairly homogenous — like, say, relying mostly on Cisco, Linux or Microsoft servers on-prem? When looking into cloud solutions, what are your deciding factors? Does multicloud help minimize latency across specific global operations? Can you increase diversity in your network infrastructure supply chain and mitigate security risks simultaneously? 

The short answer is yes. We'll dive more into these topics in the next few posts. 

Topics: hybrid cloud, hybrid network, aws, Amazon Route 53, multi-cloud, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 4: Managing Everyday DHCP, DNS, and IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/17/18 5:06 AM

We’re continuing our series on implementing sensible solutions to rein in scattered network resources, specifically IP infrastructure management such as DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI). In this post, we examine how to simplify day-to-day IP infrastructure operations, in-house or in the field, by rethinking priorities and streamlining the interface between you, your engineers and the network.

This Playbook series consists of five parts:

Each part of the blog series presents real-world scenarios that Men & Mice has helped solve.

When response time > features (agility)

Imagine that you are:

  • An infrastructure director of an enterprise company that’s recently experienced a merger. You’re evaluating newly acquired resources, and how to integrate them into the network. For the moment, however, you simply need to keep everything running smoothly while you evaluate how to merge the network resources. You need to quickly see network resource usage statistics, identify overlaps and bottlenecks, and monitor network health.

  • A network administrator delegating day-to-day management across teams and offices distributed over multiple international geographies. To minimize manual changes, cut network overhead and mitigate misconfiguration errors, you have to automate processes and set up local access controls that complement your network security strategy, in tandem with helping your team have the autonomy they need to operate unencumbered.

The integrity of enterprise IP infrastructure (DNS, DHCP, IPAM), factors heavily towards the business’s ability to execute on operations and even generate revenue. Yet, there’s very little knowledge, outside of core IT departments, about the functions and responsibilities of the company’s network. Likewise, IT operators don’t always have the full scope of understanding about how network complexities can hinder business efficiencies. What is known, however, is that agility is becoming more important as networks scale or adapt to meet changing demand, with speed and simplicity proving equally valuable to the robustness of the DNS, DHCP and IP address management solution.

What You Need from your DNS,DHCP and IPAM

How not to approach IP infrastructure management (2)

Instead of lugging the proverbial kitchen sink everywhere you go, or retro-fitting your network needs into a uniform solution (especially when doing so creates greater hurdles), that, well, doesn’t actually serve your needs, choose a lightweight overlay solution that lets you resolve common issues and manage network functions quickly, every day and provides the visibility necessary to maintain the network’s integrity.

As Elias KhnaserSenior Director Analyst, Gartner, pointed out in a recent Gartner IOCS talk entitled,“Technical Insights: Top AWS and Microsoft Azure Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid,”  3rd party solutions (eh em) should be used to bridge gaps between on-prem and cloud for hybrid / multicloud environments. Likewise Bob Gill encouraged the use of overlays “to bring order to the chaos.” (Thanks, Bob! We agree.)

This will enable you to simplify workflow and minimize the complexities between you and the network, no matter which area of the network you are focused on any given day and no matter the underlying architecture behind it. Complete visibility helps you make informed decisions. Coupled with the flexibility to quickly maneuver, the solution you choose must enable you to adapt to changing needs without disruptions in network functionality.

Where Men & Mice Can Help with day-to-day IP infrastructure managment

With the robust and complete feature set of the Men & Mice Suite and the built-in visibility it offers,  you can tackle large projects and deep (re)organization all while getting a much clearer view of IP infrastructure management holistically. The newest version of the Men & Mice Suite, introduced a few months back, delivers the management power and day-to-day operational functionality through our light-weight overlay software, neatly packaged with an improved web application.  

The web application is designed specifically for day-to-day operations where speed and agility is paramount. For example, you can quickly organize and manage DNS zones and records or  IP address ranges, DHCP scopes and IP addresses. Its features are streamlined, to manage the most common tasks performed through the Men & Mice Suite with additional Quick filters and Quick command to further cut down time. If you need to deep dive into the guts of your network operations, fear not, you have the Windows management console as well.

Engineers overseeing various areas of your network can quickly respond to and solve IP allocation issues, move DNS zones and DHCP scopes, remove bottlenecks locally and experiment with moving more workloads to the cloud, without sacrificing the ever important visibility.

Automating and delegating tasks that are defined through fine-grained access controls within the Men & Mice Suite helps alleviate IT overhead and affords some localized autonomy in everyday scenarios, making day to day network management more efficient.

Infrastructure directors overseeing fragmented networks can get greater visibility and operational functionality. 

Men & Mice Suite distills powerful DDI capabilities into a non-disruptive software package, complete with an agile tool for day-to-day management, offering compatibility with Unix/Linux, Windows, and Cisco IOS as well as functionality across Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, NS1, Akamai Fast DNS, and IPAM in AWS, Azure and OpenStack.  Manage, sync and automate network changes and authorizations, filter and record changes through unified audit trails and get comprehensive insight into large-scale networks through one unified dashboard. 

In the last part of our playbook series, we’ll take a closer look at how to reinforce IP infrastructure security and prepare for DDoS mitigation and defense against other threats.

Topics: IPAM, IP address management, network security, ip infrastructure, multicloud, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam, network management, day-to-day IT

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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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