As World IPv6 Day approaches, recent research reports show that a majority of organizations are still treating the IPv6 migration as something for the future and not an immediate priority.
Despite the increased
interest and awareness in IPv6, companies are still just talking about making
the switch, according to recent research studies.
Since IANA (the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority) distributed the last remaining blocks of IPv4
addresses to the individual regional Internet registries in February, signaling
the depletion of available IP addresses, the clock has been ticking on the
transition to IPv6.
Asia Pacific Network Information Center), which oversees the Asia-Pacific
region, has already announced that it has gone through most of its allocation
and has placed the remaining IPv4 addresses under limited distribution,
available only to organizations that need them to bridge IPv4 and IPv6
ongoing demand for IP addresses, this date effectively represents IPv4
exhaustion for many of the current operators in the Asia-Pacific region,"
said APNIC director general Paul Wilson.
Organizations are aware that
they need to migrate their network infrastructure to support the IPv6
networking protocol, but there doesn't appear to be a sense of urgency
associated with the switch. Even after the European registry Reseaux IP
Europeens and the American Registry for Internet Numbers run out of IPv4
addresses, the Internet will keep functioning. Newer customers with
IPv6-enabled devices will be unable to access Web services that have not
modified their sites to "talk" IPv6, but for the most part, existing online
Internet users will be unaffected, according to James Lyne, director of
technology strategy at Sophos.
This may be why only 35
percent of respondents in a recent British Telecom Diamond IP survey considered
IPv6 a "huge concern" for their organizations, while 46 percent expressed
"moderate concern." The remaining 19 percent felt "low concern," because they
expected to use existing technologies to optimize how they were using IPv4
addresses, according to the May 18 report.
As expected, service
providers were more focused on the upcoming transition, with 56 percent calling
IPv6 a "huge concern" and only 8 percent expressing "low concern."
Just a little over half the
587 IT and operations professionals surveyed said they had deployed, were in
the process of deploying or planned to deploy IPv6 within their organizations.
About 31 percent of the respondents said they had already or were in the
process of deploying IPv6, while 22 percent expected to begin deployment within
the next two years, according to BT. About 24 percent of respondents told BT
there were no deployment plans because IPv6 was either unnecessary for their
business or that end-user demand would drive implementation.
The findings are similar to
a recent study from network management company Ipswitch, which found that 88
percent of businesses were not "fully ready" for the IPv6 migration. In an
online survey of more than 600 network professionals, approximately 66 percent
reported "0 to 20 percent" of their business networks were ready for IPv6,
according to Ipswitch.
To accelerate IPv6
deployment, the Internet Society is calling for a "World IPv6 Day" on June 8
where major Websites, Internet service providers and content-delivery networks
would enable IPv6 services for 24 hours.
Organizations that have not
already started the migration will not be ready for June 8, Qing Li, chief
scientist at Blue Coat Systems, told eWEEK. Businesses that plan on
participating in the World IPv6 Day should at least be in the testing phase at
this point, making sure they have deployed the infrastructure correctly.
Organizations should be
testing the firewall rules, and ensuring that all packets are being routed
correctly, that they can track users based on IPv6 addresses and that logs are
correctly handling IPv6 data, Li said.
The goal of World IPv6 day
is to make them "not afraid of IPv6," and become enthusiastic about the
next-generation infrastructure protocol, according to Li. IT managers are
understandably concerned about what's going to happen to their existing
security policies, whether the changes will open up network holes for attackers
to come in, or whether the network will be able to handle the packets
Nearly a quarter of
respondents in the BT survey identified the perceived complexity of the upgrade
as an obstacle to migrating the infrastructure to the new protocol. Other
obstacles included the cost of the upgrade and the difficulty of converting
legacy applications. About 15 percent noted their impression that the only
benefit of having IPv6 was to gain a larger address space was an obstacle to