IPv6 System Management Successes

Fork in the road?
    Photo by heyjoewhere…

Back in July when I wrote about 5 Things This Procrastinating System Administrator has Learned I was pretty skeptical about the dire need to move to IPv6. I still am, but in the mean time I’ve been seeing stories about how some companies have been moving in pieces over to IPv6 and seeing how the move is going to eventuate. Everything Sysadmin has a good post on Successful IPv6 Projects which I think does a good job of outlining some strategies.

As I said before, I think that IPv6 was designed to avoid backward compatibility in a misguided strategy to get people to move over wholesale from IPv4. Whether this is true, or if there really are insurmountable technical limitations to backward compatibility, it doesn’t change the fact that transitioning is difficult. Very difficult. Because of this, you don’t see anyone drinking the whole jug of Kool-Aid and ditching v4 altogether. Instead, what you see are projects that transition to v6 with new devices or networks or with pieces that won’t impact existing v4 users.

This is a good strategy because in doing so existing networks need to be upgraded to support the new standard in order to access the upgraded pieces. With a business case made, and a well scoped project defined, then an upgrade of a small piece of the network touches everything and gets the whole network ready to move. Since the real issue with v6 comes in interconnectivity outside of your network (read: Internet) being ready to flip the switch to v6 while still running v4 is really all you can, and need, to do for now.

At some point there are going to be two Internets, one that is v6 only and one that is still v4. There will be a lot of the Internet that can handle both but it can safely be considered the v4 ‘net. Once there is a critical mass on the v6 only side then any network which can’t access it will be left in the dark ages. I still think we’re very far away from that point, but now’s a good time to start working on getting that little piece upgraded. Look for success stories out there, such as those on the Everything Sysadmin blog, to get some ideas of what pieces you can work on.