Commentary - Another year has come, another World IPv6 Day has passed and, again, another yawn. Every year I have to ask, who out there really cares? It’s not that I do not see the obvious merits of IPv6, nor is my head in the sand regarding the fact that IPv4 addresses are simply running out. It’s just that I haven’t yet seen the mass movement by those of you who have to actually implement the change.
I recently saw the results of a survey commissioned by the Number Resource Organization (www.nro.net), which is made up of the five Regional Internet Registries, stating that a growing number of service providers intend to deploy IPv6 on their networks in 2012. When you start to peel back the layers of the onion, however, you see a different story. Ninety three percent of global ISPs responding to the survey state that less than two percent of their customer base uses IPv6 connectivity. You can download the survey’s key results (PDF) from the NRO web site.
An additional study by Arbor Networks in 2011 found that IPv6 accounts for less than one percent of IP addresses and a whopping 0.3 percent of all Internet traffic (read more here).
So, what is driving all of the hype and when are we going to see some real movement and demand? Yes, ISPs are beginning to transition and so, too, is the federal government. And yes, we see a higher adoption rate in certain global regions but we’re still talking less than one percent.
In one of my business classes somewhere along the way, I learned that this is referred to as demand creation as opposed to demand pull. In other words, the parties with the vested interest in creating demand for, or migrating to, IPv6 are trying to create (or force) demand while you, as the user do not seem to be asking (or pulling) for it.
So I ask, what is keeping you from wanting or demanding IPv6? Is it cost? Business justification? Device or vendor support? Or is it simply that you do not have the bandwidth to do it and you don’t see it being a pressing need?
For those of you, however, that do see the merits of an IPv6 transition and are looking to start your planning, be aware that deploying IPv6 on a new or existing network requires a major planning effort. One way to ensure a smooth transition is to seek out an IP address management solution that provides the ability to plan your IPv6 migration through address and subnet planning and testing of multiple scenarios before implementation.
For existing networks, IPv6 deployment should be phased in gradually. Below is a list of recommended steps for planning and beginning your migration to an IPv6 network.
Would you add any steps to the above migration plan? How is your organization tackling IPv6? Are you jumping on the bandwagon or waiting until the hype dies down to reassess?
Sanjay Castelino is a VP and Market Leader at SolarWinds, an IT management software provider based in Austin, Texas. Sanjay leads the company’s initiatives around its end-to-end IT solutions for network, SIEM, storage and virtualization management.