IPv6: 5 tips for CIOs


It’s World IPv6 Day today, where some major web companies such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo will be testing their services over IPv6 and help promote it. At Colt we’re enabling IPv6 access to our website and we’ve also created some top tips for CIOs on IPv6.1. Be prepared: the sky isn’t falling, but if you have not yet started to plan for IPv6 you had better start soon. 2011 is the year when most businesses will need to do at least some research, planning and budgeting for IPv6. How quickly you need to execute will mostly depend on the nature of your business and which region of the world you serve. Those doing business on the Internet or running their own public infrastructure will have to act sooner than those who mostly only consume Internet services.2. It’s not like Y2K, there is no D-day: there won’t be a switchover day nor a specific deadline to meet to support IPv6 which makes planning (and the business case) more difficult. But a number of things are already clear: there are only a limited amount of IPv4 addresses available – this varies between a matter of months and a matter of years, dependant on in which part of the world you are based; and IPv4 and IPv6 will coexist for many years.3. Train your staff: IPv6 isn’t just a simple address format change, it’s a new protocol suite that has wider implications than just the network. Make sure people on your payroll who deal with networks, systems, applications development and security are fully trained. And prepare your support staff as well, as your users will encounter IPv6 related issues at some point sooner or later. Even if you don’t deploy IPv6 now, others on the Internet are.4. Is it time for an infrastructure review? IPv6 will introduce a new numbering scheme to your network, and may be a good opportunity to finally get rid of some of the older legacy equipment or refresh part of your IT infrastructure. Why not use this chance to start again afresh, even if only in some segments of the network such as the external facing environment?5. IPv6 will be driven by consumer demand: Most CIOs and subsequently CISOs have learned the hard way that users drive IT and not the other way around anymore. Most recent mobile devices come equipped with some sort of IPv6 support and as such, IPv6 traffic is likely to grow by itself on your LAN even if you don’t “officially” deploy and support IPv6 yet. It is important to make sure you have the right tools in place to visualize and enforce traffic on your network or you risk ending up with an unmanaged internal overlay network that puts your data at risk.

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