Now that you've read part 1 and gotten a grasp on the areas you need to consider before a move to IPv6, let's take a look at some of the reasons you might want to consider supporting IPv6 in the first place. You'll need to quantify the value of each of these capabilities to your enterprise in order to develop your own business case.
Mobility and collaboration: The explosion of IP enabled mobile devices over the past few years is often cited when discussing the need for more addresses. But for most enterprises these mobile devices can use private IPv4 addresses and leverage network address translation (NAT) or tunneling to gain access to services. However, a growing number of applications like peer-to-peer videoconferencing assume and can benefit from a globally unique, directly reachable IP address, which is made possible by IPv6.
M2M communications: Like mobile devices, non-traditional IP devices are consuming an increasing number of IP addresses. Forty-four percent of enterprises expect these devices to continue to grow within them. In some cases these devices need to communicate peer-to-peer with other devices or systems (e.g., smart grids or sensor networks).
Network simplicity: While many can and will get away with using NAT for their IPv4 networks for many years to come, the growth of mobile and non-traditional IP devices, along with growth in peer-to-peer applications, will make these NATd networks increasingly complex and less secure and will result in increased operational costs and decreased business agility.
Building the business case
So, now that you have an idea of both the cost considerations and the potential benefits, you should be on your way to making your business case. But what if the numbers just don't add up, or maybe the benefits are too "soft" compared to the actual "hard" costs of making the IPv6 transition? Many organizations will face this dilemma. Here are some additional tips to get you closer to IPv6 regardless. Look at your hardware and software refresh cycle and make sure your new purchases are not only IPv6 ready but IPv6 optimized. All new projects and application purchases should make support for IPv6 a requirement.
For more information:
- Learn about the benefits of IPv6 in SDN and virtual environments.
- Take a look at this IPv6 timeline to get a brief history of the protocol.
- What IPv6-capable network appliances should you look for?
- Understand why it's important to prepare for IPv6 now in this Q&A with IPv6 expert Scott Hogg.
This was first published in July 2013