IPv6 - The Forgotten "Next Big Thing"

I’ve recently been in conversation with a number of network product vendors – from Cisco to Infoblox – users and test equipment vendors, with respect to what must be the ultimate in “let’s sweep it under the carpet and forget about it for a while” IT topics and that is IPv6.

With the last of the public IPv4 address allocation now long gone and the Far East already deploying IPv6 big time, the reality is that we do all need to start thinking about moving from the “4” to the “6”, albeit gradually in most cases. And with LTE around the corner in the mobile world, that being pure IP-based, how many new IP addresses will suddenly be demanded? And where are they going to get allocated from?

In the States recently and having a casual natter with Infoblox’ Steve Garrison, Steve was saying how many companies still carry out IP Address Management (IPAM) using Excel spreadsheets (got to be in the “Top 10 misuses of a spreadsheet”). So how will they cope with the complexities of deploying IPv6?

Another worry, from a conversation with F5 Networks and others that dabble in L4-7 data “mucking about” is the potential performance hit when moving from IPv4 to IPv6. This is something that (quelle suprise!) vendors don’t openly talk about, but F5 has seen up to 50% performance hit on some rival products (tested internally) when moving from IPv4 to IPv6 and generally reckons its own see up to 10% performance loss in the same circumstances. This claim was substantiated in talks with other vendors large and small, such as with a newly acquired load-balancing client of ours, Kemp Technology.

So, on the basis that someone has to do something about it, we are launching an IPv6 performance test program, with a view to developing what is effectively an ongoing buyers guide/approved list for companies to short-list their potential IPv6 related procurements with. 

Over the next few days we’ll be looking at some of the key elements of IPv6 deployment – think in terms of something akin to the Top 10 Considerations when moving to IPv6. Because, sooner or later, we’re all going to have to do it…

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