Tell Your Purchasing People: IPv6, VMware

In the world of system administration there aren’t too many things that are black & white. Everything is a shade of gray where admins solve their own problems however they need to, bending to the local desires & needs of their users or management. Everybody is right, nobody is wrong. I’ve come to realize that, and it’s no big deal.

I am convinced, however, that if your organization does not have “fully implemented IPv6 support” and “full support under VMware virtual infrastructure” as requirements for purchasing any new hardware, software, or services, you’re doing it wrong[1][2].

Let’s assume that anything you’re buying now will last 5+ years. In 5+ years we will be out of IPv4 address space[3]. And it goes without saying that you’ll want to run things in your virtual environments, right?  So don’t let your organization buy products that are just going to make life tougher two years from now — let your management know now that things need to change. Even if IPv6 isn’t currently on your organization’s to-do list, it will be soon, whether you like it or not. Get on top of it.


[1] Not desirables, not plusses or bonuses, but a full functional requirement for support that knocks a candidate out of the running in an evaluation if they don’t meet the criteria. You might also be tempted to say “well, if it’s on the vendor’s roadmap…” — don’t. IPv6 has been around for years, and if your vendor doesn’t have it implemented right now it isn’t a good sign. Besides, during purchasing exercises I always suggest that folks treat roadmaps as vaporware and assume that none of the features listed on them will ever ship.

[2] Yes, my organization is doing it wrong, too. On both counts. It’s getting fixed, slowly, but we should have started fixing it three years ago. Which is why I’m writing this post. 🙂

[3] ARIN/LACNIC/APNIC have issued statements that we’ll be out of IPv4 space in 2010, and Tony Hain has a report on the current state of the space. Geoff Huston has a daily report and prediction on his web site, too. Hurricane Electric also has a big page of exhaustion stats. None of them are showing anything good.

5 thoughts on “Tell Your Purchasing People: IPv6, VMware”

  1. ++1 WRT IPv6 support being mandated in all acquisitions.

    * And with full “feature parity” (atleast!) to the products’ IPv4 offerings.
    * And accounting for the mixture of the two protocols (tunneling, etc.).

    ( Virtualization too, but I care more about IPv6 :). )

    /TJ <– Yes, I am biased!

  2. Bob —

    I agree with you on running out of IP addressing space, however — A good majority of devices run now-a-days with public IP’s that don’t really need public IP addresses. Should ISP’s start to run low, they make it more of an intensive process to acquire addressing. I still think we have longer than 5+ years. Had it not been for NAT, we would have run out long time ago…

  3. Nick — I’ve found that if a vendor is going to support a virtual environment it’s usually going to be VMware. But you’re absolutely right, push for what you have implemented. If it’s Xen demand Xen support (or at least that they’re open to virtual environments in general).

    Brad — while I agree, there also seems to be sort of a land-grab for IPv4 address space. I’m thinking that in five years getting a real IPv4 IP is going to be incredibly difficult. And if I prepare for that then I’ll be okay, even if it isn’t true.

  4. I am not convinced that moving your INTERNAL infrastructure to IPv6 is all that valid at the moment. I agree that all products purchased should be fully IPv6 ready. But there is no compelling reason to begin using IPv6 in place of IPv4.

    That said, I DO think that all services which have a direct connection to the internet and external infrastructure SHOULD be looking at becoming full IPv6 implementations. This includes Gateways and web services.

    The only real reason to move to IPv6 internally would be because of compelling advances that improve the capability and ease of use of network infrastructure.

    Otherwise,why complicate your internal network with IPv6 when IPv4 will last a very long time yet? KISS!

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