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IPv6 Momentum Takes Huge Swing

A new Infoblox-sponsored IPv6 Census conducted by the Measurement Factory reports a 1,900% increase in the percentage of zones under .com, .net and .org that support IPv6. Only 1.27% of the zones surveyed in 2010 supported the successor to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), compared to today's 25.4%.

"That was beyond any of our expectations,” says Cricket Liu, GM of the Infoblox IPv6 Center of Excellence (Infoblox IPv6 Center of Excellence). While .com, .net and .org may be the best-known domains, there are hundreds of others, from top-level domains like GOV, EDU and MIL to more than 250 country-specific domains. "To get to 25% was completely unexpected to us."

The huge increase is mainly attributed to Go Daddy, the world's largest domain registrar. "We didn't recognize that any one registrar could have that much impact," says Liu. Without Go Daddy, the percentage of zones that support IPv6 more than doubled to just over 3%. The top three countries in IPv6 adoption are France, the United States and the Czech Republic, with three registrars driving the growth in France and the Czech Republic.

Each IPv4 or IPv6 address represents an IP resource such as a PC, tablet or smartphone used to access the Internet, a server hosting a website or the Web site itself. Demand for Internet addresses has been averaging 250 million per year, but the ongoing growth of mobile connections is expected to surge 11%, to 5.6 billion, this year, while the nascent machine-to-machine connectivity market is expected to add 25 billion connections by 2015. Demand has been outstripping the supply of 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses. Under its successor, IPv6 (128-bit), there are more than 340 undecillion addresses (340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

In addition to a virtually unlimited number of addresses, IPv6 can also increase Web application performance an average of 80%. It also provides directed data flows, simplified network configuration, support for new services and much tighter security. However, the imminent end of IPv4 addresses hasn't been attracting much interest, according to a recent survey from Nemertes Research that found it's not even on the radar for almost 80% of respondents to the company's 2011-2012 benchmark. The research also showed that 78% of companies have no transition plan yet.

Liu attributes the massive growth to Go Daddy seeking a competitive advantage over other registrars, and expects many of them will now have to respond, which could drive next year's survey to more than 50% IPv6 support. He also says organizations don't have to adopt IPv6 in one great, costly leap. He recommends that organizations focus first on providing IPv6 to the outside world and then work inward in stages. "Do this, and deploying IPv6 will be relatively painless and prove to be a valuable long-term investment."

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