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Organizations need to determine where they are with IPv6

By Donna Donnowitz
August 10, 2011
According to a Computerworld report, IPv6 has been one of the hottest topics of this year. The subject became more intense when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced that they had depleted their IPv4 addresses.

Since that announcement, organizations around the world have come to the realization that they will have to face the fact that they are going to have to deal with IPv6.

In a recent Network World survey, most companies said that they'll be on IPv6 in less than 18 months. Many companies may be wondering if they are ahead of the curve, behind the curve, or entirely off the map with their IPv6 plans.

The Computerworld report said that companies need to understand that IPv6 isn't only a networking problem. Network engineers, system administrators, application owners and developers, DBAs and everyone else in IT needs to start thinking about IPv6.

Regardless of their roles, by now all IT professionals should have performed an IPv6 readiness audit of all company systems and identified any issues, contends the report. For network administrators this means auditing firewalls, routers, switches, load balancers, network management systems and other key components. For system administrators, an audit will include checking server operating systems and key infrastructure applications like DNS and e-mail. Application engineers will probably need to audit each of their applications, transport layers and any user interfaces where IP addresses are entered. DBAs should check any place where an IP address is referenced.

Companies that have performed all of their audits and have started to prepare for IPv6 compatibility by 2013 are on track with most organizations today, or maybe even a little bit ahead, says the report. A number of companies already have parts of their networks and some of their applications running on IPv6.

The report adds that companies that have not yet started putting security measures in place for IPv6 on their networks are definitely behind the curve. Many of the server and desktop operating systems that are being deployed today have IPv6 enabled by default and companies that are not taking precautions are leaving potential security holes open.

The report concludes that every company has IT work to do and that IPv6 is on every companies list of things to do. However, companies should strike a balance between viewing IPv6 as an emergency and viewing it as irrelevant.


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