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IPv6 And DNS On The Interopnet

The early planning work on Interop is moving along. Glenn Evans, who is managing the Interopnet and characterizes the position (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) as "benevolent dictator," and the rest of the NOC team have the daunting task of building and maintaining a production network for attendees and exhibitors, as well as providing the infrastructure to demo new technologies. At this early stage, work is being done to figure out what to offer to the show attendees and exhibitors. "If Interopnet builds it, users will come" is not a given. Here is where they are now.

There has been a lot of discussion on how to support IPv6 and to what extent it will be available at the show. The engineering team decided early on to run dual IPv4 and IPv6 networks, which will allow exhibitors and attendees to use either IPv4, IPv6 or dual-stack configurations. On the exhibitor side, running IPv4, IPv6, or dual stack is somewhat simpler, since vendors ought to have had their booths and demos provisioned prior to heading to the show (though Evans did say most support calls from exhibitors involved IP address assignments). I'd really like to see exhibitors use IPv6 if they can, either alone or part of a dual stack configuration. Face it: Migrating to IPv6 is going to be top of mind, and Interop is a great place to demonstrate IPv6 capabilities. (By the way, John Curran, CEO of ARIN, will be presenting "How do we finally get to IPv6" May 10 at 11:30.)

Supporting end users will be a more difficult task for the engineering team. Unlike exhibitors who have time to configure their gear, attendees show up with whatever they use and expect (rightly so) to get network access quickly and easily. That is a key concern for Evans and the Interopnet team. While they are sorting out the exact details, you can expect some IPv6 support over wireless for you to play with while at the show, probably denoted by a specific SSID. Of course, there will be plenty of IPv4 coverage as well.

DNSLayout.pngThe other interesting aspect is that Interopnet is going to be using DNS services from DYN DNS, which is a first for Interop. The basic goal is to split DNS services between hidden masters on the show floor and Dyn's DNS Service. Cisco's Network Registrar will be integrated in updating DNS for host registrations. We'll dig into DNS later when plans firm up more, but what I found interesting is the decision to use hidden masters on the show floor rather than secondary systems. The purpose is two fold: first, to provide local presence for DNS resolution rather than sending all that traffic over the WAN and, second, to ensure that local DNS resolution will always be available. It makes sense from an engineering standpoint. Note as well that they are providing DNSSEC signing, which is something I will also be digging into furtherl.

There are a lot of moving parts going on. I'll be covering DNS, as mentioned. The network designs from HP and Cisco are both on the Interopnet and in the co-location facilities. I'll also be getting deeper into the wireless layout and management. If there are any topics you'd like to see covered, post your ideas in the comments section or shoot me an e-mail.