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

multicloud-cover

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 designed to be widely compatible  and 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.

You can also find us on social:  

linkedin-1twitterfacebookyoutube

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

New Year Resolution: 20th Anniversary of Men & Mice DNS & BIND Training

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 1/10/19 12:12 PM

 

New Year, Newly Trained You!

Many people love to use the new year as an opportunity to set goals for self-improvement. Whether it’s improving health or taking a chance on yourself to go for those big career goals you’ve been putting off.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to either learn DNS & BIND or refresh your knowledge, we have the perfect series of courses to bring you up to speed.

For 20 years Men & Mice Training has helped professionals in Network Management, including executives, System Administrators, Network Architects and Network Managers learn principles, best practices and strategies for DNS and BIND.

Why learn DNS?

Nothing in the Digital Era happens without DNS. Business functions and services are increasingly, exclusively online, as are nearly all areas of our lives. DNS makes networks work. If you want to know how to keep things running smoothly online, then it helps to fully understand DNS.

Suffice to say, DNS is important.

Why learn from Men & Mice?

It'd be easy to point to our track record (since 1990!) of developing DNS, DHCP, and IPAM software solutions to highlight why we feel (and our students feel) that our DNS & BIND courses are exceptional. Since 1999, we’ve offered independent public and onsite private training to professionals and organizations such as:

  • Top Level Domain (TLD) operators,

  • DNS registrars,

  • Governments,

  • Universities,

  • Enterprise and SMB businesses

Our instructors and program coordinators value comprehensive, practical teaching methods. As such, our course materials are decidedly not "animated user manuals" - they cover DNS contextually, with real world examples and hands-on labs.

Our 2019 resolution was to augment our course materials to include new sections on DNS Cookies, Response Policy Zones (RPZ), Response Rate Limiting (RRL), and DNSTAP as well as other refinements including the introduction of new debugging labs. This resolution aligns with our ongoing commitment to ensure our courses are relevant to real wold scenarios and stay up-to-date.

In short, you'll learn what DNS is, what it means today, and why having this knowledge is valuable to your own career growth and to your company’s network.

Training designed for context

Men & Mice offers two main training paths: DNS & BIND Week (DNSB-W) and DNS & BIND Advanced (DNSB-A).

The former covers the fundamentals, with practical training and tactical application.

For those peripherally working with DNS, or looking to learn the basics, the first three days of DNS & BIND Week is available as DNS & BIND Fundamentals (DNSB-F).

The latter DNSB-A, and the security focused DNSSEC & BIND that we will offer again this year, teaches the ins and outs of DNS mastery, and the subsequent use cases and resulting business values.

Even experienced network professionals get value out DNS & BIND Week, like this student who took our course in 2019:

"I've been using the internet since the days of gopher in 1995.  And running networked linux systems since 1997. But this course refreshed my understanding of the fundamentals of the internet more than anything else I've done in the last 21 years."

When, where, and how

Men & Mice offers training courses and certifications in_ (1)

To learn about the Men & Mice Training Program, take a look below and visit https://menandmice.com/training.

 

MARCH 4 - 8, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

 

APRIL 22 – 26, 2019

CENTENNIAL, CO, USA (NEAR DENVER)

 

JUNE 3 –7, 2019

GDANSK, POLAND

 

JUNE 24 - 28, 2019

RESTON, VA, USA (NEAR WASHINGTON DC)

New call-to-action

 

Topics: BIND, DNS training, Response Rate Limiting (RRL), Response Policy Zones (RPZ), DNSTAP, DNS Cookies, hybrid dns, network management, day-to-day IT

Men & Mice Sensible IPAM Part 5: Security of IP Infrastructure

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 12/28/18 11:18 AM

In the final instalment of our 5-part series on IPAM (and really, more broadly, DNS, DHCP and IPAM), we’re taking a look at sensibly managing security in a scattered network environment. From large-scale DDoS attacks to mitigating human error, security measures come in all shapes and sizes — often overwhelmingly so. Here’s what you can do to stay ahead.

(TL;DR version: you need a DDI overlay to increase security on your network... and we happen to offer a great one).

This Playbook series consists of five parts:

Each part presents real-world problems for which Men & Mice has provided solutions.

Opposites attract… security problems?

Imagine that you are:

  • The CTO of a Managed Service Provider, whose own network is the first line of defense to protect customers. Your services are sensitive, as gaining access to or bringing down your network would compromise those utilizing your MSP solution. 

  • The Lead Network Administrator of a mid-sized enterprise company recently expanding with new employees (and devices), through M&A activities, arriving daily. Onboarding new people is your technological challenge, balancing their need for autonomy and network resources with your requirement to maintain security protocols.

While opposite in scale, these problems can wreak the same amount of havoc in both cases, and network security is of paramount importance, more than ever.

What You Need

Much of network security is inherently present in the technology used. Orchestration and synchronization between different software providers, interfaces and hardware, however, needs to be done well.

Good security practices have to be sensible to be ubiquitous across the network, instead of obstructive. They have to be simple at their core and robust in their execution to prevent and solve problems. Let’s face it, your network is complicated enough.

How not to approach IP infrastructure management (1)

Some of the more overlooked security vulnerabilities in network management today include:

  • Visibility challenges, or lack of central, unified overviews resulting from incompatible or simply different services (i.e. the variety of interfaces and functionality of each individual service that comprises the entirety of a network)

  • Misconfigurations or incompatibilities (what you do in one area of your network may not synchronize or be compatible with another area of the network, particularly with cloud vendors).

  • Human error (Hey, we all make mistakes. But automating can remove this ever-present challenge, increasing the health of the network).

  • Loss of control (how can you restrict access to increase security and focus on providing autonomy only where needed.)

Where Men & Mice Can Help

How to approach IP infrastructure management

Retaining network security on the DNS, DHCP and IP address level has been a core design principle for the Men & Mice Suite from day one (which was nearly 30 years ago). Managing the fundamental components of the network means great responsibility: if the foundations are compromised or out of sync, the entire network is at risk.

The first security risk the Men & Mice Suite has addressed in the evolving world of hybrid network management, was to eliminate synchronization and misconfiguration hurdles between on-prem services and cloud services, then across cloud providers, enabling greater automation and utilization of network resources, independent of what are the services themselves. Then, we centralized management of these diverse and otherwise incompatible resources into one place.  

This backend-agnostic, API-first overlay approach gave way to the xDNS Redundancy feature, which helps further mitigate DDoS and other malicious attacks.

If parts of the network become unavailable during an event like a DDoS attack, xDNS Redundancy prevents shutdown by switching to alternate resources. Once the affected resources are once again accessible, changes and updates are automatically synced across the entire network.

Due to the Men & Mice Suite's powerful, compatible APIs different network resources are processed and managed the same way within the Men & Mice Suite. This means that replicating or migrating DNS zones or DHCP scopes between network environments requires no special consideration or prolonged processes, making your DNS, DHCP and IPAM more nimble.

In addition, health alerts within the Men & Mice Suite provide the visibility necessary to proactively address misconfigurations, address space overlaps and malicious attacks while minimizing its effect on user experience.

Likewise, unified audit trails within the Men & Mice Suite help identify the source of an issue and on what area of the network, providing richer data to inform proactive decisions.

More often than any company would like to admit, especially in the age of post-Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enterprise culture, security breaches can occur through human error. A simple password used across multiple mission-critical logins, a laptop stolen or left digitally unguarded, a malicious email attachment downloaded with malware, trojans or droppers, all can quickly take down or manipulate areas of your network, wreaking havoc.

The Men & Mice Suite’s granular access controls, including its integration with Microsoft Active Directory, provide solid security templates for preventing unnecessary access (and therefore unnecessary vulnerabilities) on the network. Retaining existing configurations and implementing new ones is easy, replicated, synched and scales as needed.

IT is no longer a department but a holistic and critical business resource. In 2019, we’ll be placing emphasis on closing the gap between IT professionals and IT users, on-prem and cloud teams as well as the increasing importance of overlays. It is our goal to showcase the importance (and value) of  proper DNS and IPAM for businesses, and the effects (and context) of eliminating network hindrances that complicate or slow business decisions.

Lesson 1: A quick way to learn about DNS Protocols

Here's a recent discussion during EuroBSDCon on DNS protocols and what will be changing in the future (DNS over TLS vs. DNS over HTTPS) by Carsten Strotmann on behalf of Men & Mice. We'll elaborate on this topic a bit more in 2019 during our talk at UTmessan in Reykjavik, February 8 & 9. 

What you need to know about DNS Protocols_ The good, bad and ugly of DoH and DoT

 

Topics: Security, network security, ip infrastructure, hybrid dns, hybrid ipam, network management

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

Why follow Men & Mice?

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.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all