Micetro 10.0: up your DHCP game with Kea in high availability

Data replication and safekeeping through Micetro's database further strengthens Kea's high availability capabilities.

Jul 1st, 2021

Kea is a modern, open-source, and extendable DHCP server from the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC). It supports both the DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 protocols and is intended to succeed ISC DHCP through its design and capabilities matching those required in today's always-connected world.

DHCP is a vital component of the network: every device (from printer to toaster, from mobile phone to workstation) needs an IP address to access the network, and DHCP is the service that is responsible for allocating it. For more details on DHCP, see this blog post.

Kea brings a lot of value into the network environment, and an increasing number of enterprise organizations are adopting it into their infrastructure. Starting with Micetro 10.0, the latest stable versions of Kea are supported for DHCP, including high availability for building network resilience.

We’ve talked about this many times, but at the risk of parroting (<snicker>) ourselves: ISC Kea 1.6 and 1.8 are both now a fully supported DHCP server. Enjoy modern, high availability DHCP!

Failover vs. High Availability

A major argument for adapting Kea instead of ISC DHCP (besides support for modern protocols such as DHCPv6) is the former's high availability capabilities. Whereas ISC DHCP implements the since-expired 'internet draft' DHCPv4 Failover, Kea is designed according to the 'proposed standard' DHCPv6 Failover document from IETF.

The difference provides several advantages for Kea, including:

  • DHCPv6 failover support
  • unlimited backup servers
  • sending lease updates to external entities (such as IPAM)
  • a modern RESTful API

You can learn more about the high availability features of Kea from ISC's Knowledge Base. In addition, using Kea with Micetro provides further advantages for DHCP high availability and reliability.

These tears don't wash away when it rains

Unlike Blade Runner's replicants, treated as expendable, data replication and safekeeping are vital components in Micetro. The database backend, which itself can be configured for high availability to enhance the fault tolerance of the network, further strengthens Kea's high availability capabilities.

In both load balancing and hot standby configuration, Micetro orchestrates data replication and synchronization between Kea servers.

Micetro 10.0 supports load balancing and hot standby configuration for Kea DHCP.

In load balancing configuration, the Kea servers split the DHCP pool 50-50, answer queries equally, and the secondary server(s) take over responses if the primary goes down. In hot standby mode, the primary Kea server serves all queries, with lease information continually replicated on the secondaries. If the primary server goes offline in hot standby mode, the secondary takes over until it comes back and syncs any changes from the secondaries.

This automated process for replication and synchronization, and the constant visibility for the status of the configured Kea servers, eliminates most human error and accidental oversight, keeping your DHCP safe and operational.

Once the Kea servers are configured and added to Micetro, managing their configurations becomes as easy as everything else through the streamlined and intuitive web application:

Editing Kea server configuration in Micetro 10.0

And of course, any changes made will be effortlessly synchronized to the other connected Kea servers in the configured relationship and kept safe in Micetro's database.

Elevate your Kea DHCP with Micetro 10.0

These blog posts offer but a glimpse into the (ever compounding) value that Micetro by Men&Mice offers for your network infrastructure. Whether you're already using Kea or only planning to modernize your DHCP operations, Micetro can ease the growing pains.

We invite you to try Micetro 10.0 free for 30 days, no questions asked. Alternatively, request a personalized walkthrough by our experts to learn more about the value Micetro can bring to your business.