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Survey: Many companies prioritizing IPv6 migration

By Max Burkhalter
July 28, 2011
For most businesses, IPv6 was previously not perceived as a priority, but instead as a large expense that may eventually be necessary to support online services when IPv4 addresses run dry. However, the growing importance of IPv6 in light of dwindling IPv4 addresses is showing many companies that IPv6 does matter. According to a recent Network World survey, enterprise IT leaders are pushing hard for IPv6 and recognizing that the protocol is critical to support the internet's growth and ensure their company does not fall behind the competition.

Network World went into the survey expecting to find out that most businesses have begun to develop their infrastructure to support IPv6 in externally-facing applications. However, the survey found that many have moved on to adjusting their internal network systems to match the new address protocol.

The survey found IT professionals are at fairly varied stages of IPv6 development in terms of how they have helped their companies establish the protocol. Overall, the majority of respondents have been involved in actually installing IPv6 infrastructure in some form. However, 32 percent said they have performed research and become educated on IPv6, but have not yet implemented the protocol. Conversely, 30 percent of respondents have gone as far as to help install a dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 setup. Another 15 percent have installed IPv6 in their homes, but not had the opportunity to do so at work, while 12 percent have used the protocol in a lab environment.

One of the most challenging parts of making IPv6 work is finding the best way to replace hardware. The survey found that 46 percent of respondents work for companies where most of the hardware is already IPv6-ready, while 19 percent said some of their hardware is IPv6-ready and 16 percent said all of their hardware can handle the new protocol. While this is a good sign that IPv6 uptake will be somewhat simpler in some IT environments, it also shows that a significant amount of hardware will eventually need to be replaced.

The survey shows that businesses may be farther along in IPv6 adoption than many anticipated. For companies that may be lagging behind, it may be good to know that Microsoft users may have an easier path to IPv6 adoption. A recent Network World report explained Microsoft has been building IPv6 capabilities into its operating systems, server software and other programs for a couple of years.


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