The Men & Mice Blog

Fast-tracking Azure adoption with Men & Mice Suite for hybrid and cloud

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/29/18 9:52 AM

Creating sensible DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI) isn't always easy - as we've seen. Consolidating management of DNS, DHCP, and IP addresses, particularly those scattered across multi-vendor platforms both on-prem and in the cloud, is a common challenge for enterprises.

Management and migration at scale requires tools optimized for this purpose.

Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies as well as large-scale municipalities, education and research institutions rely on Men & Mice Suite for their IPAM and DNS. More and more are moving workloads into the cloud, which is easier with Men & Mice.

Have DNS zones scattered across different platforms and environments, and you want to migrate to Azure?

By deploying the Men & Mice Suite management solution you can:

  • bulk migrate or import DNS zones into Azure DNS
  • Use workflow extensions to automatically tag zones throughout the migration phases
  • Identify zones that have been changed at their previous provider during the migration and would need to be updated with Azure

After migration, you have the ability to:

  • track changes, delegate access,
  • see all zones across multiple subscriptions,
  • and manage the data through APIs.

In the end, you’ll have increased service levels, improved network security, and overall uptime of critical network resources.

Men & Mice: changing the way the world sees (Microsoft) networks

Utilizing cloud services is a priority for enterprises challenged by infrastructure sprawl, segmented projects, and mergers & acquisitions. But they also face obstacles in the forms of migration costs, loss of control and security, and lack of compatibility between services.

A simple, enterprise-grade product like the Men & Mice Suite offers a solution to both set of problems. It enables customers to scale with and into Azure while leveraging existing network investments.

Core benefits of Men & Mice

  • Backend-agnostic design and software-based architecture.
  • Simplifies workflows and consistency across different network operations.
  • Automates through powerful API-first design.

Intuitive integration for Microsoft environments

men_mice_DNS_IPAM_timeline

Men & Mice has been supporting Microsoft products and services since the very beginning. Working closely with Microsoft's development teams, the Men & Mice Suite was the first IP Address Management solution to fully integrate with Active Directory.

Deployed on top of Microsoft or hybrid network environments the Men & Mice Suite provides unified access and control through a single-pane-of-glass interface. Azure's built-in features for resilience, scaling, and security are integrated into an unobtrusive overlay, while gaining full Active Directory integration, network visibility, and functionality.

For more information on the benefits of using the Men & Mice Suite with Microsoft environment, download our fact sheet and watch a short introductory video:

Topics: azure, Azure DNS, network security, IP address management, DNS redundancy

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Takeaways: the four pillars of Network Management for DNS, DHCP, IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 10/3/18 5:30 AM

Microsoft's push for a global Azure cloud has not gone unnoticed. We have integrated with Azure and Azure DNS, which is why we exhibited at MS Ignite and why meeting our customers and talking to attendees was validating. Our solutions and development roadmap addresses their pain points in network management.

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As Yousef Khalidi on the Azure blog writes: "Customers continue to ask for better ways to connect to the cloud, better protection of their cloud workloads, optimal application performance delivery, and more comprehensive monitoring services.

That's a great summary of the world of network management today, and a telling prediction of where it's heading. These core issues affect enterprise businesses who have to:

  • Balance between the needs for efficiency, scalability, and security;
  • Manage the increasingly scarce resource of IP addresses that connect the explosive growth of digital devices;
  • Strategize network restructuring to address overlaps in private namespaces that result from segmented projects, mergers or acquisitions,

We work with our enterprise customers on solutions that address these requirements, as well as providing centralized visibility and control for all their networks. Four pillars of effective network management while integrating with cloud services

1. Connect

Attendees at Ignite came with questions about migration to cloud environments. Enterprise businesses have invested significantly into on-premise networking and IT over the last two decades. Those investments are still precious. Migrating to a cloud platform can indeed seem a daunting - and expensive! - task.

We offer a solution that bridges the visibility gap (and increases operational efficiencies) between on-prem and cloud. Customers looking to migrate select workloads onto the cloud can still manage and scale their network as if it was one.

2. Protect

Security has always been a top priority in network management. And it is even more so, when heterogeneous environments share workloads with external cloud services. Cloud platforms like Azure have natively built-in redundancies and security guarantees, and the Men & Mice Suite takes advantage of those cloud-native features to deliver a holistic view across network environments.

Our xDNS Redundancy™ streamlines the migration and management of large DNS zones to monitor and synchronize changes, for example.

The Men & Mice Suite’s exceptional synergy with Active Directory (AD) was also well received. Customers can keep their on-prem configurations and access control intact and secure, save their previous investments in AD, synchronize and modernize their network management operations at the same time. It also enables access controls at the group and individual levels for greater security.

3. Deliver

We met a lot of network administrators and architects at Ignite who understood the value of non-disruptive deployment, and who were seeking solutions that can be integrated into their workflow unobtrusively.

Our goal is to provide a layer of abstraction through which you can better understand your networks. The Men & Mice Suite's architecture is software-based and API-driven. Deployment poses no interruption to existing services, and the performance impact is nominal.

The Men & Mice Suite gathers data from existing sources, and can control them, without overhead and performance impediments.

4. Monitor

Visibility in DDI provides a significant edge to businesses looking to optimize their resource use. We’ve always put that visibility front and center.

With a single-pane-of-glass interface we've made network management simpler and more efficient. Customers can save time and money by viewing and managing network resources regardless of where they are or what platform they're using.

Both the Men & Mice Suite and its recently improved web-based management application share the same affinity for simplicity and visibility. From customizable filters to automated reporting and alerts, your network is constantly under supervision.

'Ignite' means ‘start’ - where do we go from here?

Attendees of Microsoft Ignite came from companies whose IT is largely or entirely based on Microsoft products. They’re naturally looking at Azure as a complementary service to their existing resources. (Or as a competitive alternative by itself.) Our long-standing integration with Microsoft’s networking products is carried over to extend to Azure’s cloud services as well.

The aptly named event has been a great experience for us. In addition to meeting those who use technology and those who make technology happen in the business space, we’ve gathered feedback that both reinforced and expanded our development focus.

We may have been in the DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management business for decades, but as cloud services like Azure rise and network architects have to keep reinventing themselves, so do we.

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Topics: windows 2016, Azure DNS, azure, network security, hybrid cloud, hybrid network, Redundant DNS, Microsoft Ignite

Men & Mice Suite IPAM and DNS with xDNS Redundancy™: security without complexity

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 8/22/18 7:12 AM

As we increased focus on cloud optimization, DNS redundancy, and compatibility across hybrid and multi-cloud networks in our latest Men & Mice Suite v9.1 release, we also went to great lengths to ensure visibility and ease-of-use across IP address management as a means of increasing network security.

Dynamic IP infrastructure challenges require dynamic DNS management

IP address management in general, and creating DNS redundancy in particular, are complex and often expensive challenges for network administrators. The possibility for human error leading to configuration errors and DNS failures, establishing where, and with which vendor in a distributed network an error has occurred, and the sheer disruptive power of DDoS attacks compound these challenges. Furthermore, increased redundancy across various environments within a network ecosystem often brings with it hindered visibility.

Without redundancies however, Networks are more susceptible to failure. Thus an important feature in the Men & Mice Suite 9.1 release is the improved xDNS Redundancy™.

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xDNS Redundancy in Men & Mice Suite v9.1

Men & Mice Suite's xDNS Redundancy™ provides a level of abstraction that builds automation, provides centralized views, eliminates human error and removes conflicting DNS service provider platform complexities (e.g. incompatible APIs). It increases visibility and control of networks with hybrid or multiple cloud dns providers by unifying management, supporting Active Directory-hosted zones, offering the ability to create read-only zones (see below), and improving native support for Azure DNS and Amazon Route 53, all of which benefits the functionality and core health of IP infrastructure. 

We think of it as “taking the ‘daunt’ out of DNS redundancy." It streamlines the migration and management of a large number of DNS zones, such as with Azure DNS and Amazon Route 53, by utilizing cloud-native features to monitor changes to DNS made outside of the Men & Mice Suite, greatly improving synchronization of DNS data from cloud providers. It also enables the assignment of read-only zones across the network to boost resilience against DDoS attacks and other DNS failures.

xDNS Redundancy for creating read-only DNS zones

It is now possible to mark a DNS zone in an xDNS replication group as read-only. While internal changes are synced, external modifications to read-only xDNS instances will not be replicated to other zones.  

Once an xDNS zone redundancy group has been created, xDNS assists the administrator in creating identically replicated zone content, resulting in multiple equal master zones. Additional zones can be added or removed from the xDNS group as required.

If an xDNS zone is not available for updating (for instance - pun intended 😁 - if one DNS service provider experiences an outage) it will be marked as ‘out-of-sync’. Once it becomes available again, current data will be re-synchronized and updated from other zones.

All changes can be initiated by the authorized user through the Men & Mice Suite’s web-based or Windows-based management consoles or APIs, and will be applied to all zone instances in the group. All changes to xDNS grouped zones made externally, or outside of the Men & Mice Suite, will not be synchronized.

DNS management built for the cloudvisibility

A common pain point for CISOs and network managers is the lack of centralized views and the workflow automation difficulties of coordinating on multiple platforms. Whether you’re using a single-platform deployment or a combination of Cloud DNS providers (from Akamai Fast DNS to Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53 Dyn, NS1, or OpenStack), Men & Mice Suite’s xDNS gives you a convenient means to monitor and manage all your DNS resources within the Men & Mice Suite.

Simplifying the management of high-availability network resources across multiple environments is crucial for making network management intuitive and effective. To further address this, we added a web-based application in our 9.1 release, which rounds out the visibility trifecta that also includes a Windows-based management console as well as reliable and compatible REST, SOAP and JSON-RPC APIs. CISOs and network managers are able to look into their domains (again: pun absolutely intended 😉) from anywhere at any time, the way it works best for them.

The Men & Mice Suite is already known to be a robust DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI) solution that's easy to implement and able to leverage existing infrastructure investments to provide the visibility and ease-of-use for hybrid and multi-cloud environments that’s missing from competitive products.

Fast and efficient in heterogeneous DNS and DHCP environments, the Men & Mice Suite supports thousands of concurrent users and API connections, with millions of managed IPs and DNS records, for automation and provisioning, whether Unix/Linux, Windows, and Cisco IOS or across cloud services like Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, NS1 and Akamai Fast DNS, as well as IPAM in AWS, Azure and OpenStack.

We’ll be at VMWorld, at booth #2124let us show you how Men & Mice Suite’s xDNS functionality can ease network management and prevent against errors, DDoS and other attacks.Book appointment

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Topics: Akamai Fast DNS, NS1, Dyn, Amazon Route 53, Azure DNS, Cisco IOS, network security, vmworld, DNS events, hybrid network, hybrid cloud, IP address management, network outages

Men & Mice at VMworld 2018 Las Vegas Part 2: Network and Security

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 8/14/18 12:47 PM

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As we mentioned in Part 1 of our 2-part VMWorld series, we’re returning to VMWorld in Las Vegas, August 26-30, (Booth #2124) and focusing on two main tracks from the agenda: Data Center and Cloud and Networking and Security. Our first post, discussed the advantages of our newly released Men & Mice Suite v9.1. Here we’ll discuss its networking & security advantages.

We already discussed how The Men & Mice Suite v9.1 supports Unix/Linux, Windows, and Cisco IOS and stretches into the cloud with functionality across Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, NS1 and Akamai Fast DNS, as well as IPAM in AWS, Azure and OpenStack.  Further, it can be dropped on top of an organization’s existing infrastructure to manage, sync and automate network changes, authorizations and provide comprehensive insight into large-scale networks through one unified dashboard.

NETWORKING AND SECURITYmen-mice-visibility-network

Organizations with well-considered DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI) strategy in place, are less vulnerable. Access to systems is binary; either you have access or you don't. Proper DDI management can help prevent vulnerabilities because critical resources are better protected through fine-grained access control, for both authorizing individuals and authorizing systems, which DDI offers. But DDI services vary in their offerings.

Deployed in a high-availability configuration as a management and automation layer on top of some of the world’s largest networks, the Men & Mice Suite supports thousands of concurrent users and API connections, with millions of managed IPs and DNS records, for automation and provisioning.  DNS updates and IP address allocation through workflow from provisioning systems is accomplished in milliseconds.

men-mice-network-securityThe Men & Mice Suite’s fine-grained access controls, ability to filter and record through its audit trails the network changes made across various on-prem and cloud services in a network, and reliable, compatible APIs, give organizations a strategic advantage to mitigate network vulnerabilities, limiting the impact of human error and attack probes, who otherwise would be more likely to go unnoticed.

xDNS redundancy is a focal point for our newest, 9.1 release. It’s designed to mitigate exposure to DDoS, ransomware, and other attacks; while keeping the transparency that plays a great role in security itself. We’ve also added a ‘read-only’ option within xDNS redundancy groups in Men & Mice Suite v9.1. With it, network managers can protect their configurations from spreading an otherwise isolated problem to the entire network. Together with the support of Active Directory zones in xDNS groups, organizations can easily bring their on-prem DNS configurations to a cloud environment and vice versa, proactively minimizing common network availability issues.

Enterprise organizations require exemplary network functionality and security. Much of that security comes from fine-grained control and visibility, especially when the sprawl of IT resources scale up. Recently, John P. Mello Jr. reported on the inherent, large-scale threats faced by critical infrastructure and enterprise organizations. The TechNewsWorld article, interviewed several security and network management companies, including Men & Mice, to learn various ways to protect against such threats. 

Can’t make it? No worries!

You can book an appointment to meet our team onsite at VMWorld (Booth #2124).

Or, if you’re missing the event, book a walk-thru any time by clicking the button below.

We’re always happy showcase the benefits of deploying our best-in-class overlay management solution on top of your network.

Book appointment

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Topics: vmworld, hybrid cloud, hybrid network, networking best practices, High availability, Redundant DNS, Men & Mice, DDI, network security, "cloud dns", Cisco IOS, Azure DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, NS1, Akamai Fast DNS, azure, aws

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