The Men & Mice Blog

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.

petur_petursson_msignite_2018-1

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.

Men & Mice Suite free trial

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

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

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

DNS_DHCP_IPAM_vmworld2018

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

DNS, DHCP & IPAM Software Trial

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

Men & Mice at VMworld 2018, Las Vegas Part 1: DATA CENTER AND CLOUD

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 7/30/18 6:30 AM

men_mice_dns_vmworld2018

We’re returning to VMworld in Las Vegas, August 26-30 (Booth #2124, come say hi!) — and excited to not only see how our industry is evolving to virtualization and automation, but to also contribute our two cents to the dialog (Or 9.1 cents, as it were).

Since the newly released Men & Mice Suite v9.1 offers highly scalable and efficient APIs that act as an abstraction layer to manage an organization’s whole DNS, DHCP and IP address infrastructure, across multiple vendors and cloud platforms, we’re focusing on two main tracks from the VMWorld agenda: Data Center and Cloud and Networking and Security, the first of which we’ll discuss in this post (the latter will appear in the next post).

DATA CENTER AND CLOUD

VMworld’s focus on integrated IT strategy plays nicely with the Men & Mice Suite v9.1 release (and our larger objectives as well).

Men & Mice has been providing compatibility with VMware’s vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Automation for years now. As the industry turns toward virtualization and cloud technology to build its next-generation, hyper-converged infrastructure in hybrid cloud environments, running cloud-native applications to cut costs and increase efficiency, so to have we adapted our Men & Mice Suite of DNS, DHCP and IPAM solutions to help organizations manage networks effectively and at scale.

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.  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.

The Men & Mice Suite v9.1 supports thousands of concurrent users and API connections, with millions of managed IPs and DNS records, for automation and provisioning.

Virtualized Infrastructure and Applicationsmen & mice_secure_visible_dns

We favor virtualization over physical appliances and platform-specific, custom hardware allocation. Turns out, our customers do too.  We want our customers to be able to make the right choices for their network infrastructure (DDI) needs. Then, we offer our environment- and platform-agnostic Men & Mice Suite to help them manage it.

Virtualized infrastructure is both cost and performance efficient. Men & Mice Suite gives organizations the flexibility and adaptability they need as every area of business operations goes digital, providing the managaibility and visibility needed for high-availability networks to be, well, highly available.

Our new Men & Mice Suite v9.1, an overlay network management solution, offers many advantages for virtualizing and automating, as well as increasing visibility and ease-of-management of an enterprise organization’s network infrastructure, including its new web-based management application, which takes the “daunt” out of day-to-day operations and reporting.

Another way we’re making virtualization easier is through the Men & Mice virtual appliances, the DNS software for which we’ve upgraded to BIND 9.11, supporting various new features as well as DNSTAP. For example, details on DNS queries received and DNS replies sent by the Men & Mice virtual appliances can now be logged for further processing by enabling and utilizing the powerful DNSTAP feature with minimal performance impact on the appliances. They can also function as NTP (Network Time Protocol) servers and be served by the same network infrastructure as DNS and DHCP.

men_mice_hybrid network managementPrivate, Hybrid, and Public Clouds

Every cloud vendor is different. Different platforms and configurations offer different advantages (and drawbacks) for customers. They also offer very different, and often incompatible APIs. Men & Mice Suite v9.1 services complex enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud networks by providing single-pane-of-glass visibility and cross-platform functionality for DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI) operations, whose networks use either multiple cloud (cloud native) vendors or a combination of on-prem and cloud (hybrid).

The ability to bulk migrate DNS zones and DHCP scopes, ability to implement role-based authorizations, as well as providing 3 management interfaces (Windows-based management console, web-based management application and REST, SOAP and JSON-RPC APIs), the Men & Mice Suite v9.1 overlay software solution eliminates many of the complexities of today's large-scale networks while mitigating DNS failures such as configuration errors and DDoS attacks.

Further, 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).

The Men & Mice Suite v9.1 also allows organizations to add Active Directory zones to xDNS groups. This, tied with the read-only members of xDNS groups, makes it easy for organizations to bring their internal, on-premises DNS into their virtual private clouds, and vice versa.

Cloud operations monitoring, a topic to which we’re looking greatly forward discussing at VMworld, is transparent and easy in the Men & Mice Suite v9.1. Not only have we integrated true cloud DNS into the Men & Mice Suite, but we also paid attention to the cloud-unique challenges it brings with it.

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

DNS, DHCP & IPAM Software Trial

Topics: "cloud dns", hybrid cloud, networking best practices, IP address management, DDoS, VMware, API, Redundant DNS, DNS redundancy, hybrid network, DHCP, DNS, Men & Mice, DDI

Men & Mice Suite 9.1: cloud-ready network management for DNS, DHCP and IPAM

Posted by Men & Mice on 7/11/18 7:47 AM

Changing the way the world sees LI

Our commitment to efficient network management has a new number! The Men & Mice Suite 9.1 is a feature release with a host of cloud-ready enhancements plus the usual suspects (bug fixes and improvements).  

Network Management just got easier

Transparency, responsiveness, and ease-of-use are all core principles of Men & Mice for keeping networks healthy and safe from DDoS attacks and other DNS network failures.

The 9.1 release continues our mission to simplify network management without sacrificing features. Included in Men & Mice Suite v9.1:

  • A new web-based Men & Mice Suite management application
  • Optimized and enhanced cloud support
  • Improved xDNS Redundancy read-only zones for hybrid and multi-cloud networks
  • DNS software on appliances upgraded to BIND 9.11 with DNSTAP support
  • NTP functionality for virtual appliances
  • Various improvements and bug fixes

5 Things You’ll Love About Men & Mice Suite v9.1

Men & Mice Suite v9.1 focuses on features and refinements gleaned from customer feedback and engagement as well as refinements of previously introduced functionality. Here's what you will find in the new release: 

Web-based management application

The new web-based management application serves as an alternative to the Men & Mice Suite Windows-based management console. It’s designed to make performing day-to-day tasks, management functions and generating reports related to DNS and DHCP operations easier. The application features three sections: DNS, Networks and Reporting.

  • The DNS section makes all your DNS zones accessible from a single place.
  • The Networks section gives you instant access and overview of your networks.
  • Reporting lets you quickly find and run existing reports.

men_and_mice_quick_command-1

Its Quick Command functionality cuts down time on common tasks such as finding and working with DNS zones or records, IP address ranges, DHCP scopes and IP addresses.

Read-only zones in xDNS Redundancy groups

xDNS Redundancy, which can be used to synchronize DNS zones hosted with multiple cloud providers, now includes support for Active Directory-hosted zones. Zones in a redundancy group can be assigned to read-only mode, so that changes made to a DNS zone outside of the Men & Mice Suite will not be replicated to all other zone instances.

Optimized and enhanced Cloud support


Version 9.1 streamlines the migration and management of a large number of DNS zones 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 the cloud providers.

Men & Mice virtual appliances upgraded to BIND 9.11 with 

DNSTAP support

DNS software on Men & Mice virtual appliances has been upgraded to BIND 9.11, which supports various new features as well as DNSTAP. Details on DNS queries received and DNS replies sent by the Men & Mice virtual appliances can now be logged for further processing by enabling and utilizing the powerful DNSTAP feature with minimal performance impact on the appliances.

NTP functionality for virtual appliances

The virtual appliances can also now function as NTP (Network Time Protocol) servers and be served by the same network infrastructure as DNS and DHCP.  Currently this functionality is manual and can be implemented per request with our support team. 

Nearly 30 years of DNS experience in one solution

The Men & Mice Suite v9.1 represents our commitment to enabling customers to adapt their infrastructure to be more software-enabled, cloud-ready and redundant, with increased visibility, control, security and automation.” --Magnús Björnsson, CEO of Men & Mice.

Complex enterprise network infrastructure can — and should — have the same elegant simplicity and responsiveness as IT professionals expect from customer-grade solutions. In the new release, Men & Mice has combined its nearly 30 years of expertise in developing DNS, DHCP and IPAM solutions with modern UX best practices to deliver a compelling, enjoyable management interface on top of a best-in-class, robust software-based DDI product.  

 If you want to try Men & Mice Suite v9.1 for free just click the button below. 

DNS, DHCP & IPAM Software Trial

Not ready? Read more about the Men & Mice Suite, or get an online demo.

DNS, DHCP and IPAM Demo

Topics: hybrid cloud, hybrid network, IP address management, DDoS, Redundant DNS, DHCP, IPAM, DNS, "cloud dns"

The Future of DNS Management. The DNS Management of the Future.

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 5/25/18 9:50 AM

 

Unifying_decentralized_DNS

Streamlining network management (bringing together on-premise DNS, DHCP, and IPAM with multi-vendor cloud DNS and IPAM, compatibly) is more important than ever. Cloud-based systems and the rapid expansion of digitally connected IoT are driving infrastructure growth. It’s especially important for companies to have full visibility, authority and control across public, private, and hybrid networks.

The foundational technologies of DNS operations have stayed largely the same. DNS management, however, has changed and adapted - and keeps changing and adapting--  to meet the new challenges of business services and growth.

Centralizing the decentralization of DNS

As enterprise IT moves to the cloud, it creates the necessity to have effective DNS and IPAM in the cloud as well. Importantly, it’s also necessary to have cohesive communication and oversight between both on and offsite environments to maintain uptime, smooth network functionality and prevent vulnerabilities.

But making the switch to hybrid and migrating to the cloud can have its challenges, especially for those who already made significant investments in on-prem hardware and software, have numerous established DNS zones or who have large networks that they would need to bulk migrate. Further, navigating legal compliances across multiple geographic zones and ensuring data security at every connection point adds to the hurdles that companies face in maintaining, scaling, and updating their networks.

Men & Mice knows a thing or two about these changing infrastructure needs and has been focused on creating solutions that simplify complex environments for nearly 30 years. Our software not only helps companies effectively manage existing DNS and IPAM needs, but adapts to meet future needs as networks scale. Our overlay network management solution, the Men & Mice Suite, provides customers with unprecedented stability, performance and scalability.

Future of DNS and IPAM in the Cloud: A modular overlay solution

Flexibility and scalability require a multi-platform solution where the same automation can drive DNS deployment no matter if it’s with AWS, Azure, NS1, Dyn, Akamai or something else. It also needs to effectively managing complex networks by eliminating visibility gaps between traditionally different deployments in public cloud and on-premise private configurations.

Our xDNS Redundancy streamlines DNS management across multiple service provider platforms, helping to mitigate DDoS attacks and other forms of DNS failure by providing centralized management of critical DNS services.

Men & Mice Suite offers consolidated views in a unified console, secure monitoring and integrated management of all network spaces across platforms and on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid or multi-cloud environments. Additionally, authorized administrators are allowed to make changes directly through the Men & Mice Suite, with its robust access control, ensuring they can only change entries that belong to them.

Men & Mice has been at the forefront of network management for almost as long as there were networks to manage. We’ve been creating DNS, DHCP, and IPAM solutions for decades for on-premise networks and have evolved our software solutions to cater to the growing needs of network administrators tasked with managing cloud-based DNS and IPAM.

See you at Cisco Live!

menandmice_dns_CLUS_ linkedin

We love the theme of this year’s Cisco Live: IT that informs, connects, predicts and enables.It embodies the principles of the Men & Mice Suite. We'll be in Orlando, Florida from 10-14 June, to showcase the next generation of DNS and IPAM solutions for those overseeing the staggering number of IPs that comprise today’s DNS infrastructures. Visit us at booth 1113 to learn more.

Topics: Monitoring, Redundant DNS, External DNS, hybrid network

Topics: hybrid network, External DNS, DNS redundancy, Redundant DNS, hybrid cloud

Keep IT outages off your network with redundant DNS

Posted by Men & Mice on 5/31/17 11:43 AM

British Airways is still reeling after a weekend IT system outage that affected more than 1,000 flights and stranded approximately 75,000 passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Some sources speculate that the compensation costs could be similar, if not considerably more than the $100 million that last year’s crippling IT failure cost Delta Airways.

Statements from British Airways blamed the IT meltdown on a power supply issue at a data center, while ruling out any possibility of a cyber attack. Though it’s far too early to speculate on exactly how a power supply problem could knock a thousand flights off schedule, one thing is certain: British Airways’ Disaster Recovery Plan failed spectacularly - where system redundancy should’ve kicked in, there was none.

British Airways’ woes serve as an unpleasant, but urgent, reminder that the way we back up our systems is sometimes even more critical than how we run it day-to-day. As it goes with life insurance or a last will and testament, there’s no point in waiting until your plane goes down (or fails to go up) before you start getting your house in order.

The most effective way of providing ‘life insurance’ for your network, is to make sure that exactly mirrored copies of critical parts, such as DNS, are replicated to other locations away from your own data centers, thereby providing system redundancy. That way, if your data centers are knocked out, due to power failure, human error or malicious cyber activity, this critical service is still active, ensuring service continuity and retaining critical operational data – and keeping your passengers happy in the air, instead of sleeping on yoga mats in conference centers.

So how do you make your DNS redundant?

In a traditional DNS setup, a DNS master-slave deployment is used to maintain network availability, with one DNS server as the single writable source, or the master (see Diagram 1). Other DNS servers, or slaves, serve as back-ups, but rely on the availability of the master for new data. If the master becomes unavailable, critical DNS zones cannot be changed, and as ‘inferior’ entities, slaves can only serve zones temporarily in absence of their master.

Reduntant-dns-1.png

(Diagram 1)

Depending exclusively on a master-slave deployment poses a significant risk to a company in the event of any DNS outage. The risk is compounded when automation has been built on top of the DNS infrastructure, as the automation piece will halt until the master has been restored, or a slave has been manually promoted to the status of master. However, manual change, especially on networks serving hundreds of thousands internal and external customers, is not only very complicated, but carries a huge potential for error. When combined with the time factor and the complexities related to siloed teams and applications, reverting to manual change can too easily lead to disaster.

DNS redundancy is the process of expanding the choice of available DNS nameservers and distributing them between separate networks - basically keeping your DNS servers replicated in a lot of places, and pointing it at a lot of places.

To further limit risk, companies are increasingly turning to storing their critical external DNS zones on-premises, as well as with more than one specialized DNS or cloud provider that possesses the security, equipment and expertise to handle large amounts of DNS traffic from a variety of sources successfully. Ideally, the most effective redundant DNS architecture will have multiple masters, each possessing the advanced functionality to act as a primary server responding to DNS queries (see Diagram 2). Keeping the multiple master DNS records up to date and in sync can prove a challenge, but one that is totally outweighed by the ultimate benefits of continuous high availability.

Reduntant-DNS.png

(Diagram 2)

Why make your DNS redundant?

Sensible as it may seem, maintaining DNS redundancy is an IT expense that many enterprises try to avoid in order to keep operational costs down – a bit like putting off getting life insurance because it feels like such a waste to spend on the what ifs of tomorrow when all systems seem to be running just fine today. Yet these kinds of short-term savings can too easily turn into a “save a million, lose a billion” scenario, as (quite possibly) several airline bosses have recently discovered the hard way.

Keeping the running of your DNS diverse and distributed is an essential backup mechanism for any company wishing to stay connected, providing services and generating income 24/7/365.

For more information on how to manage redundant DNS complexity from one point of access, gain secure versatility and keep down unexpected expenses.

Topics: Redundant DNS, High availability

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