Infoblox introduced 6Map, a free interactive tool to help network administrators and network architects get started with planning the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
The existing IPv4 standard allows for only 4.3 billion Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, which are used to individually identify Internet-connected devices such as computers, servers, smart phones and tablets using numeric codes.
There are an almost infinite number of IPv6 addresses, and the smallest allocation for individual businesses is 281 trillion times greater than the total number of IPv4 addresses.
"The exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses is a global issue on a planet with 7.2 billion people, many of whom are seeking more and more connectivity. While a solution is in place with the vast ocean of IPv6 addresses, they are difficult to understand or compare," Tom Coffeen, chief IPv6 evangelist at Infoblox, told eWEEK. The guiding principles behind 6Map reflect the shift in moving from IPv4 to IPv6. This includes planning for the number of subnets, not the number of host addresses.
With IPv6, there is no need for conservation to ensure sufficient host addresses. The smallest unit for IPv6 planning, therefore, is a subnet.
The tool also helps developers assign subnets in a way that leaves many in reserve for future use, such as leaving at least one-fourth of subnet address blocks unassigned and in reserve for future use, and helps define as many subnets as needed. With IPv6, there is no need to limit the number of subnets.
Instead, the tool suggests defining subnets for every dimension of the network— geography, such as headquarters, regional offices, local sites, and so on, function, like a data center, remote site or lab, and hierarchy, such as user groups, virtual local area networks (VLANs) and security needs.
"One of the first tasks for a network engineer or network architect adopting IPv6 is putting together an IPv6 address plan," Coffeen said. "This can immediately become an exercise in confusion and indecision for engineers only familiar with IPv4. Infoblox 6Map applies the basic principles of IPv6 address planning in an intuitive wizard. By entering a relatively small [amount of]information about the structure of the network, the enterprise architect can generate and download a printable graphic that shows best-practice subnet assignments for network elements, including locations, functions, and interfaces."