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F5 Launches IPv6 Professional Services

While Nemertes Research recommends that enterprises should already have started planning for an IPv6 transition, the reality is that it's not even on the radar for almost 80% of respondents to the company's 2011-2012 benchmark. IT professionals at 78% of companies said that their organization has no transition plan yet.

F5 Networks, which focuses on application delivery networking (ADN), is looking to lend a helping hand with a professional services offering intended to help organizations address their need to establish a presence on the IPv6 Internet. Its BIG-IP solutions are deployed in the network operations center (NOC) at this week's Interop New York, where IPv6 is a big part of the event.

The existing IPv4-powered Internet is running out of address space for the explosive demand in connected devices, says F5, but because IPv6, which has address space to spare, is incompatible with Ipv4, organizations must eventually transition to or provide support for IPv6 to ensure that their Web-based services and applications are available to the broadest range of Internet users. The company says it is seeing many enterprises struggle to transition their public-facing websites to IPv6 networks, deliver reliable services for new IPv6 client devices, comply with stringent new regulatory requirements and adjust to the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. Its new services provide the support and best practice guidance customers need to make these transitions as easy as possible, whatever their unique requirements are, it says.

F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) provides customers with a clear and seamless method for staging their migration to IPv6 without making wholesale network and application upgrades all at once. The IPv6 Solution Services support a range of IPv6 initiatives, whether customers want to transition internal infrastructure from IPv4 to IPv6, support dual stack implementations or provide continued support for legacy IPv4 applications. Each engagement includes an architecture review, base connectivity, BIG-IP IPv6 gateway configuration and knowledge transfer.

There is little interest now, and it's mostly an industry-led party to move to IPv6, but there is growing awareness by customers to make the move, says Mike Sapien, principal analyst, enterprise, Ovum. The IPv6 transition movement is getting warmer, but this announcement does do several things, he says. It adds to the increasing awareness of IPv6 migration, provides professional services to help the customers plan and make the move, and encourages the IT groups to at least plan for it.

"The F5 services does provide for the four phases just as the customers should think about making the move," says Sapien. "Ovum has suggested that customers plan for it now so they can implement when they are ready to make the move. It will be more than just F5 services as, similar to HDTV, it is the device, the service provider, the production and the content that has to all be HD to provide the total HD experience. This F5 offering allows customers to make the transition in the phases that they will go through. It is both phased for natural consumption by customers and allows them to take the leap when they are ready." Ovum sees this taking hold more in mid-2012 with the AP region moving a little faster.

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