Men&Mice CEO on IPv6, DNSSEC & the outlook of the DDI industry

A few questions about the business and outlook of the DDI (DNS, DHCP, IPAM) industry.

Sep 13th, 2010

The Editor of TCP IP World got a chance to ask the CEO of Iceland`s Men&Mice, Jón R. Kristjánsson, a few questions about their business and outlook of the DDI (DNS, DHCP, IPAM) industry.

Brief Company Profile:

Men&Mice develops enterprise ready DNS, DHCP and IP address management solution (DDI) for Microsoft and UNIX environments, or a mixture thereof.   This type of solution has been defined as an Overlay management as it leverages current infrastructure and does not require a replacement of underlying DNS and DHCP services to gain full control over the IP space.  Strong integration with Microsoft Active Directory makes the solutions unique for enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure.

Men&Mice has a global recognition as a DNS authority and is one of the world’s leading providers of DNS training courses and consulting.  The company’s research background delivers a strong foundation in DNS and DHCP technologies while its long history in the market ensures practical solutions that cover every aspect of DNS, DHCP and IP address management.

In 1998, Men&Mice was noted as the founder and publisher of the International Domain Health Survey and its research and findings have been cited in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Computerworld, PC World and the FBI’s NIPC report on infrastructure security in the US, to name a few publications.

Men&Mice has been helping thousands of companies to more effectively manage their DNS and IP infrastructure for 15 years.  Our customers are some of the largest enterprises in the world and come from most business sectors.

1. How was your company formed and what problem were they trying to solve?

Founded by Petur Petursson and Jon Georg Adalsteinsson in 1990, Men&Mice has for a long time been heavily involved in research and software solution development in the field of DNS and IP address management.  The founders are still working for the company.

Men&Mice started by developing the first ever DNS server for the Mac platform in 1996.  For many years this was the “standard” DNS server for the Mac platform and since then the Men&Mice team has been considered some of the leading minds in the DNS industry.

A second product, DNS Expert, was added in 1997. This product is still today widely used as analyzing and troubleshooting tool for DNS.  Driven by the success of the first two products and its acquired expertise in the field of DNS, Men&Mice decided to go multiplatform and focus on the management of existing DNS servers (BIND and Microsoft’s DNS).  Support for Solaris and Linux was also added.   In 1999 DNS and Active Directory Analyzing and Monitoring module was added which started the company’s integration with Microsoft solutions.  Since then Men&Mice has continued its journey to become the first choice in simplified DNS, DHCP and IP address management.

Men&Mice has been dedicated to the DDI market for a long time and the focus on high level of expertise has always been strong in the company.   With some of the world’s best DDI experts the mantra has been; intuitive UI that help customers to simplify their daily tasks, increase efficiency through best practices and increased security.

The focus on Overlay solution, supporting Microsoft and Linux environment has developed through requests from customers.   Compared with an appliance model the Overlay approach is much easier to implement as it requires no heart surgery, more cost efficient, more flexible and allows customers to use investments in current infrastructure without compromising in functionality and security. Especially for those using Microsoft Active directory there is a clear benefit of using the Microsoft core service infrastructure.  We have seen that enterprises rather want to adapt new DDI solutions to their current work processes rather than having to adapt to appliance only model.

2. When were you founded and how many employees do you have?

Men&Mice was founded in 1990.  We currently have 30 employees solely focusing on DDI solutions.  Men&Mice is one of the few companies in this sector that has focused on business continuity, providing customers with innovative product development and high-quality service.  The company is privately held and financially strong.  The focus has been on organic growth and investments are in own development and come through profitability.

3. Will IPv6 affect your business? If so, in what ways?

Iv6 will affect the DDI market and has already affected the solutions and service we provide.   Despite the benefits of the new protocol the adoption has been rather slow.  The Men&Mice Suite has been supporting IPv6 addresses since 2008.  We have seen increased interest from our customers and we are working with enterprise customers planning their migration and using our tool to do so.

In April 2009 we started to offer both migration advice and use of our solution for free through our website to facilitate IPv6 adoption.  In our advice we outline stepwise approach to IPv6 migration planning.  The migration to dual-stack setup with IPv4 and IPv6 is a challenge and needs planning and preparation.  We have seen increased interest from the market in setting up test environments and planning migration.  The transition to IPv6 will take time and running in dual-stack mode will become the standard for most enterprises in the future.

To be able to migrate to IPv6 dual-stack setup efficiently requires a DDI tool and the same applies to managing IPv6 or dual-stack setup.  The 128bit format of the IPv6 address will limit what can be done through manual effort and scripting.

4.What do you think the next area of focus will be in the Network Infrastructure and Management industry?

The main focus in the DDI market will be on DNSSEC and IPv6.  IPv6 will be an important business driver as mentioned above.  Every administrator needs to plan and prepare their network for this change.  This will funnel further deployment of DDI tools.   As top level domains are signed the ISP´s will have to support DNSSEC and the enterprise market needs to follow.  DNSSEC adoption will therefore be a driver in this market in the near future.

Cloud computing is also an important trend that will affect the Network Infrastructure and Management Industry.  This is where the large vendors have been investing.  The Clouds will be in many forms like public, private, community based or hybrids.  Cloud computing will affect the service provided in DDI and developments in Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) should be watched.  This will definitely increase the use of virtualized service and that also applies to DDI solutions.  Security is important in this trend and should drive DNSSEC deployment.  That will also drive software diversity and open opportunities for single purpose, best of breed solutions like Unbound in the DDI market.  Men&Mice provides Unbound support in cooperation with NLnet Labs and we plan to do more in this space in the coming months.

5. More and more daily consumer and business products are getting their own IP. What vertical Industries and geographic markets do you feel will generate the most demand?

The short version here would be Asia and mobile operators markets.  In Asia with China and India we have seen the fastest growth in IP usage for the past few years and that will continue.  With double digit growth numbers the focus has to be on handling the growth.  It will however take some time until efficiency and security become as important as in more mature markets.    Mobile markets both in North America and Europe have experienced a huge growth through IP based mobiles.  This has and will continue to put significant strain on mobile service providers in the near future.   Increased emphasis on efficiency and security in those markets will also be a business driver in the near future.

DNSSEC deployment and IPv6 adoption will continue in the enterprise market and that alone will drive the need for solid DDI management solutions. Men&Mice will continue to focus on creating enterprise ready DDI management solutions enabling administrators to cope with increased demand from Cloud computing, DNSSEC deployment and IPv6 adoption.  Men&Mice has always been customer focused and will continue to focus on usability and the customers’ needs, rather than betting on technology or features.