On IPv6 Day, Survey Shows Lack Of Preparedness For IP Address Switch

A survey of IT professionals shows a lack of education and preparedness for the transition from the IPv4 system of IP addresses to the new IPv6 standard. The survey, by Infoblox, shows that 80% of about 2,400 respondents feel they are not educated enough on the subject to perform an IPv6 migration, half don’t know which of their network elements support IPv6 today, and 70% are concerned about whether they can successfully implement an IPv6 deployment.

June 8, 2011

3 Min Read
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A survey of IT professionals shows a lack of education and preparedness for the transition from the IPv4 system of IP addresses to the new IPv6 standard. The survey, by Infoblox, shows that 80% of about 2,400 respondents feel they are not educated enough on the subject to perform an IPv6 migration, half don’t know which of their network elements support IPv6 today, and 70% are concerned about whether they can successfully implement an IPv6 deployment.

To draw attention to the IPv6 transition, a non-profit group called the Internet Society has declared today, June 8, World IPv6 Day, during which top Internet companies plan to deliver their content over IPv6 networks in a “test flight” of the new IP protocol. Major participants will include Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Akamai and Limelight Networks. Also participating are You Tube, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Microsoft Bing.

The transition to IPv6 is necessary because the number of IPv4 addresses is running out. To increase Internet Protocol address space, IPv6 addresses will be 128-bit addresses, versus IPv4’s 32-bit, creating a virtually infinite number of IP addresses.

While the Infoblox survey shows a lack of preparation for IPv6, it’s actually showing an improvement because “at least people now realize that they have a problem,” says Cricket Liu, VP of network architecture at Infoblox, a provider of integrated IP address management and network change and configuration management products.

Also, the transition to IPv6 is going to happen over a number of years, so there’s time to prepare to take such steps as obtaining IPv6 connectivity from a carrier, configure IPv6-enabled web servers, mail servers, domain name servers and reconfigure existing servers, says Liu.

What companies have to do to transition from IPv4 to IPv6 depends on the Web application at issue, he says. A typical transmission control protocol (TCP)-based client-server application should be relatively easy to transition, but a Skype-based application would be more difficult because it uses more network bandwidth.Infoblox is one of a number of companies launching campaigns to educate network administrators and other IT professionals on the IPv6 transition. Liu hosted a webcast Tuesday on the subject. The company is also posting white papers and tutorial videos on its website and offering a free trial version of IPv6 address management software.

Similarly, Compuware, a provider of application performance management (APM) software, is offering a free IPv6 website Performance Comparison Test.

“For people who have an IPv6-ready version of their Web application, we can test side-by-side with their current IPv4 application,” says Colin Mason, Web load testing manager for the APM business at Compuware. “We show the performance difference from an end user’s perspective.”

While IPv6 is not billed as a way to improve application performance--it’s more about increasing the supply of IP addresses--Compuware tested about a dozen IPv6 Web applications and recorded increases in performance from 2% to 200%, averaging 80%, Mason says.

Compuware will be running the performance test on the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) network of GoGrid. The company provisions blocks of IP addresses on its IaaS platform for interoperability with IPv6, says Mark Worsey, CIO of GoGrid.

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Best Practices: IPv6 Transition (subscription required).

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