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IPv6 migration begins with assessment

By Max Burkhalter
July 19, 2011
More businesses are beginning to consider a move to the IPv6 address protocol. Such strategies are rapidly becoming more urgent, and businesses need to quickly determine the best ways to develop and deploy IPv6 infrastructure to ensure they can maintain their network systems that supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

While many companies are recognizing the importance of IPv6, it is difficult to understand the full scope of IPv6 migration because it involves a systematic replacement of network infrastructure. According to a recent Network World report, the process should begin by taking stock of a business' hardware and software.

Evaluating hardware and software for IPv6-readiness is critical because many routers, switches and other network equipment items are already designed for IPv6, and simply need to be put in this mode. Knowing this can simplify migration and help companies maximize their resources. Similarly, some products that do not support IPv6 will do so if the software is updated. Companies need to evaluate what they already have so they can properly plan their move to IPv6, the report said.

Once the assessment process is completed, businesses need to seriously consider their IPv6 migration goals and develop a clear strategy, according to the report. Once a defined IPv6 strategy is set forth, it can be easier to develop infrastructure to support the standard without wasting any resources.

Setting up the project's budget is the next major step. The report said most businesses will require a few hundred thousand dollars to successfully complete IPv6 migration, but internet service carriers and content providers will need to dedicate a larger portion of their budget to handle the transition.

Once a budget has been ratified to match the strategic direction of IPv6 deployment, companies need to focus on considering different approaches to IPv6 migration. The report recommended businesses contemplate the value of an appliance-based approach that uses network address translation to handle the bulk of IPv6 needs.

IPv6 migration is a complex and expensive process, but businesses need to carefully plan the process and begin putting those strategies into action soon. Another Network World report said organizations will need to move to IPv6 sometime during 2012 because more international registries will run out of IPv4 addresses. As a result, companies failing to prepare for IPv6 could be at a competitive disadvantage.


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