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Successful transition to IPv6 requires eight steps

By Donna Donowitz
February 21, 2011
According to a recent Ars Technica article written by Chris Ecker, the switch to IPv6 doesn’t need to be terribly complicated. To begin, only eight steps are required.

Before anything else, a company, university or government agency making the switch needs to figure out their objective for moving to the new generation of internet protocol.

Currently, companies are without financial imperatives to make the switch; however, customers in Asia might soon receive addresses with the new protocol, meaning financial gain would then be available. Making the switch will require costs for research and implementation, as well as hardware, support, software licenses and downtime expenses, so companies need to weigh these costs against the activity of IPv6 users before anything else.

Once a company has its goals set, Ecker suggests, it will start its transition “at the bottom and work [its] way up.” Doing so will allow companies to work their way through - and switch where necessary - their eight main areas of needs, the “eight circles of IPv6 transition agony,” as Ecker describes them. These eight areas are a company’s hosting provider, network provider, networking equipment, operating system, web servers, applications and database and logging systems where their IP addresses are stored.

"The key to any IPv6 transition will be determining where and how your applications deal with IP addresses at all," Ecker writes. "Most of the hard work is below this layer in networking equipment and web servers. Most of our systems have no idea about IP addresses and will never have to deal with one."

Completing these eight steps will go a long way for a company making the internet protocol switch.

While many internet service providers, data centers and network providers have already made this switch long ago, preparing for the end of IPv4, a large number of other companies are not IPv6-compatible yet. However, many steps, as Ecker’s article suggests, are being taken to prepare for the inevitable switch.

World IPv6 Day is taking place in June, when several major companies will roll out their IPv6-only site to users and providers will test their compatibility. Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, Comcast, Time Warner and many others have already committed to taking part in this test.


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