The Men & Mice Blog

DNS forecast: cloudy (in a datacenter near you)

Posted by Men & Mice on 8/29/19 10:13 AM

Men & Mice @ VMworld 2019

The VMworld contingent of the Men & Mice team has arrived in San Francisco. We’ve met “Karl”, and taken the Moscone Center by storm, where, together with tens of thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from over 5,000 companies (and 86 countries!), our team is ready to see, show, and tell what’s in store for the future of networks. 

So what’s in store you might ask? From our vantage point in San Fran, it’s abundantly clear:  clouds. Loads of them.

Clouds. Clouds everywhere.

We expected the City of Fog (that has a name; it’s Karl) to be all about clouds, and it didn’t disappoint.

Everybody’s doing cloud. Or, rather, everybody’s doing hybrid and multicloud. We’ve expected as much, and our experience here at VMworld has confirmed it.

The interesting part is talking to people who haven’t yet started using cloud, or those that have already started entertaining the possibility of a multicloud strategy. As exhibitors strut their clouds and visitors contemplate the best options for their businesses, we’ve offered a gentle reminder: cloud adoption is not an either-or proposition - every future-ready network strategy should be having a serious look at it.  

And, not to blow our own horn too loudly, but it’s more apparent than ever - and more important than ever - to consider how an API-first network solution can help your network bridge the gaps between  different platforms, in a variety of clouds that offer a diverse selection of functionality and benefits.

On this note, we are pretty pleased to announce that Men & Mice was chosen as a finalist in TechTarget's 'Best of VMworld' networking category! More on that in our next post.

Stay tuned

paul_terrillOur post-VMworld report is coming in a few days - full of  details on what’s been happening at the event, what and how we think the future will be shaped from the things we’ve learned while meeting people at our booth, or attending and presenting talks (or being chosen as finalists for awards!).
As an additional treat, we’ll be posting a video from the talk our North American Director of Sales Operations, Paul Terrill, held on Monday, where he went into detail on what
’s the what in implementing best practices for future-ready network management.

In the meantime, spend a moment to be wonderstruck by our handsome booth babes. :-)



Topics: VMware, hybrid cloud, vmworld, multicloud, vrealize

Men & Mice @ VMWorld US 2019

Posted by Men & Mice on 8/23/19 9:31 AM

San Francisco: the Men & Mice contingent will be at booth 2033

Come meet us for all your DNS, DHCP, and IPAM needs. (Also the swag. We have good ones.) We'll be happy to chat, and also conducting lightning interviews for our DNS and networking podcast. (Speaking of which: check out the latest episode below.)

While at VMWorld, our North American Director of Sales Operations, Paul Terril, will also be giving a talk on network best practices. Paul has over a decade of experience in assisting enterprises to transition from local to global network operations, and scale accordingly, as well as developing the resilience necessary for secure and efficient  network management on a global scale.   

Changing the way you see your networks

The challenges organizations face are multi-faceted. It's a (multi)cloud-native world, and businesses need solutions that transform their networks into a future-ready state - and quickly.

In his talk, Paul will highlight pain points faced by managers who are getting their networks ready for tomorrow, today. These include:

  • the potential loss of access control assignments,
  • vendor compatibility hurdles
  • lost time and efficiencies 
  • low visibility across platforms
  • boosting security and control
  • optimising service-native features (both on-prem and cloud)
  • automating and workflows
  • unifying management with overlays

(v)Realize the power of your networks

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 importance of VMWare in enterprise networks. (Why else would we go to VMWorld? Other than the weather in San Francisco, that is ;-) .)

With Men & Mice, users aren't tied to a single DNS and DHCP platform. The Men & Mice Suite comes with built-in vRealize integration, and the ability to, amongst other things, rapidly allocate IPs and manage DNS entries via either the management console, the web interface, or a best-in-class API.

Questions?

Paul will describe in detail the advantage of overlay solutions over other methodologies, as well as where most hybrid and multicloud migration strategies go off the rails. For instance,  IT decision-makers need not fear APIs, but embrace them, especially for network-specific customisation and automation. Homegrown solutions are no longer acceptable.

Come and listen to Paul’s talk, ask the questions you need to know and visit us at booth 2033 throughout the event for an on-the-spot demo (and some super swag!). 

If you can’t make it to San Fran, worry not: we’ll be bringing you daily coverage here and on our social channels.



Topics: VMware, vmworld, resolv.pod, Paul Terrill, vrealize

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

Network virtualization with visibility and automation of DNS, DHCP and IPAM

Posted by Greg Fazekas on 7/16/18 8:45 AM

The Men & Mice Suite version 9.1, released last week, introduced several new features and improved functionality for hybrid and multi-cloud networks. One of the additions we developed in our mission to change the way the world sees networks is a cross-platform, easy-to-use web-based management application.

Seamless integration

We intend the web-based management application for the Men & Mice Suite to be the go-to interface for the most common tasks. In the future, it will also serve as the central platform for our innovations across DNS, DHCP and IPAM (DDI). We're highly focused on developing an increasing number of partnerships to make integration across services and vendors even more seamless.

Day-to-day DDI operations made simple


With three major sections — DNS, Networks, and Reporting — the Men & Mice web-based management application is organized around operational efficiency.

Where the existing Windows-based management console of the Men & Mice Suite gives you the full range of configuration and management options for your networks, the web-based management application focuses on day-to-day tasks, such as finding and working with DNS zones or records, IP address ranges, DHCP scopes and IP addresses. You may want to use the full Men & Mice Suite application for the yearly inspection or the large restructuring of your networks, but can quickly get things done from anywhere, on any device, with the web application.

Quick Commands: lightning-fast, best-in-class user experience

men_and_mice_quick_command

Another way the web-based management application helps to efficiently manage networks is through its Quick Commands feature.

If you ever used the Spotlight functionality in MacOS or the universal search bar in other platforms or services, you know how a deceptively simple function can save incredible amounts of time. The Quick Command feature interacts with a single click or key combination (ctrl+space) and uses auto-complete to arrive at the needed information or function in just a few keystrokes. 

We’ll continue to focus on and add functionality to Quick Commands in future releases. As it gets smarter, so to will your network management get easier.

Visit the Men & Mice Suite web-based management console guide for more information on its capabilities and full functionality.

Virtualization and automation 

In addition to our virtual DNS/DHCP appliances and Virtual DNS Caching appliances, in a larger context of network management, the v9.1 release of the Men & Mice Suite continues to forge its path towards greater network virtualization and automation. The Men & Mice Suite restores and significantly improves the unified network visibility usually forfeited in the process of virtualization, intuitively pulling data from critical network components and consolidating it in an easy-to-use UI with extensive centralized control and functionality.

The Men & Mice Suite offers unrivalled integration with Microsoft Active Directory Sites and Subnets, combined with real-time synchronization across diverse server environments and distributed virtual and physical locations.

The comprehensive built-in tracking and logging tools ensure the systematic keeping of records. It's important to know who made what change, when, where, and why. Transparency takes the sting out of the fast and dynamic change procedures that are the hallmarks of virtualized environments.

Access management is granular and fully integrated with Active Directory. Role-based access provides strong, centralized control and delegation. Different IT teams experience painless cooperation and efficiency, respecting the often hazy task boundaries created by the transformation from physical machines to virtual instances.

The Men & Mice roadshow continues!

men&mice_vmworld_Booth #2124

What we do at Men & Mice is help companies with large, complex network infrastructure automate and virtualize their networks. We also believe in the value of other forms of networking-- meeting customers and future customers in person.

We’ll be exhibiting at VMworld in Las Vegas August 26-30, to showcase the Men & Mice Suite at booth# 2124.  We'll report in on our social media and on this blog — hope to see you either there!

Topics: DDI, Men & Mice, DNS, DHCP, VMware, External DNS, IP address management, hybrid cloud, hybrid network, vmworld

Men & Mice Suite Version 7.3 – Plugging into VMware while having a REST

Posted by Men & Mice on 11/10/16 9:12 AM

Men & Mice Suite Version 7.3 has arrived - and not a minute too soon! Yet considering that it’s jam-packed with goodies such as a brand-new REST API, VMware vRealize Orchestrator plug-in and further support for Windows Server 2016, it was definitely worth the wait.

Let’s take a quick peek at what Version 7.3 has in store for our customers.

Taking a break with the REST API

API.png

API. In the world of the Internet, it means Application Programming Interface. In the world of the Icelandic language (where Men & Mice has its roots) it means … monkey. Literally. And maybe just as well – a good API, with or without hair, really does seem to make life so much better.

Monkey business or no monkey business, the Men & Mice REST API is sure to offer customers a very welcome extra set of hands - and feet, so to speak – with which to create workflows and write handy scripts for the import and export of data, amongst other things.

Used by browsers, REST (Representational State Transfer) is often considered to be the language of the internet. By using HTTP requests to GET, POST, PUT and DELETE data, REST paves the way for two computers to communicate over the internet by one acting as a web server and the other as a web browser. Making use of a stateless protocol, RESTful services exhibit particularly fast performance, reliability and scalability.

The Men & Mice REST API includes all the functionality of the existing Men & Mice SOAP API and JSON-RPC, but delivers the added advantages of ease of use, combined with a rich set of tools and support libraries. Additionally REST, as a resource-based instead of a standards-based API, means users gain considerably greater operational flexibility.

More information on how to get the most out of REST can be found in the Men & Mice REST API article.

Plugging in where it matters – VMware vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In

Men & Mice takes a further step towards simplifying virtualization by introducing the VMware vRealize Orchestrator plug-in. Designed to integrate seamlessly within the VMware Orchestrator framework, the Men & Mice Suite VMware plug-in allows for fast and efficient provisioning of virtual machines.

 

vmware_plugin.png

 

When a Men & Mice Suite user puts in a request for a new virtual machine (VM), the vRealize Orchestrator receives the next available IP address from the requested subnet, together with other essential configuration information. vCenter creates the VM and communicates the changes back to the Men & Mice Suite, which then updates DNS infrastructure accordingly. Additionally:

  • the Men & Mice Suite’s custom properties allow further customization of the VM’s visibility and status.
  • VM information retained in the Men & Mice Suite enables VM tracking, synchronization and updates, including the release of IP addresses after a virtual server is taken down.
  • the Men & Mice Suite talks to DNS servers and registers DNS entries and other changes, such as updates to DNS policies, thereby consolidating DNS data required by the vRealize Orchestrator.

By plugging into the vRealize Orchestrator, the Men & Mice Suite enables integrated functionality that not only saves time, but also strengthens security, eliminates errors of configuration and ensures improved and continuously synchronized network manageability.

Windows Server 2016 Support Released in Tandem with General Availability

Men & Mice Suite support for primary Windows Server 2016 DNS and DHCP features was already included in Version 7.2, released in May 2016. A stand-out feature was support for Response Rate Limiting, which significantly reduces the impact of a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on servers.

With Windows Server 2016 achieving General Availability in September 2016, Men & Mice expands its support for the following additional Windows Server 2016 features:

DNS policies

DNS policies grant a user control over how queries are handled based on specific criteria. These criteria can, for example, be used in the following scenarios:

  • High availability of DNS services
  • Traffic management
  • Split brain DNS 
  • Filtering
  • Forensics
  • Redirection based on date/time

Specific types of policies are:

  • Zone transfer policies
    Essentially used to define how zone transfers take place, zone transfer policies control zone transfer permission on the server level or the zone level. 
  • Recursion policies
    Control how the DNS server performs recursion for a query. 
  • DNS query resolution policies
    Used to specify how incoming DNS queries are handled by the DNS server. 

IPv6 root hints

The IPv6 root servers can now be used for performing name resolution. 

DANE TLSA records

DANE, or DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities, allows a domain owner to specify in a particular DNS record which certificates authorities are allowed to issue for the domain.

The Men & Mice Suite Release Notes provide more detail on other minor improvements and fixes that form part of the Version 7.3 Release.

That wraps it up for a quick round-up of all things new and shiny that the Men & Mice Suite Version 7.3 has to offer. If you’d like to jump right in and try out these new features, treat yourself to a Version 7.3 free trial. 

Men & Mice Suite trial

 

Coming up in December is the last in our 2016 series of webinars, this time focusing on DNS high availability tools. Don’t forget to sign up!

 

Topics: Men & Mice Suite, DDI, API, VMware

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