The End is Near!!!!!!

Photo by .reid.

The impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses just got a step closer as APNIC (the Asia/Pacific organization in charge of IP address allocation) has
issued their last addresses.  Technically, they still have some addresses in reserve but these are for use only for organizations that need them within their IPv6 infrastructure and will only be doled out in very small chunks (/22 size chunks, or 1024 addresses). 

I mentioned this back in February, how the top level manager of all things IP (ARIN) allocated their last blocks to APNIC. It was expected that APNIC would last until at least summer but they got used up much quicker than expected. It doesn’t look good for the other regional registries, they will probably all be exhausted by the end of 2011.

So, what’s a sys admin to do?  Well, you can read through the excellent tutorial from Michael Pietroforte at 4sysops. It’s pretty short and to the point and should put you at ease about the complexity of IPv6 (as it did for me).

The other thing you can do is wait. Not necessarily the most prudent thing to do in the world, but not the worst either. The programmer’s procrastination mantra is “Why do today what you may not have to do tomorrow?” The truth of the matter, and the reason that IPv6 uptake has been slow, is very simple. It’s an economic reality that people aren’t going to move until the cost of not switching is higher than the cost of switching. An IPv6 migration costs time and money and that comes at the expense of other things that need to be done within a network. Future costs are still a bit nebulous at this time and so are hard to factor into ones decision making process.  

It’s not like Y2K where there was a set-in-stone drop-dead date and the non-tech world was fully aware of it and putting on pressure. Also, as has been shown in the past, there are technical solutions that will probably keep IPv4 alive (on life support) for a considerable time. As the costs of those solutions continue to climb, they will eventually meet the slowly dropping cost if IPv6.  When they meet there may be a tipping point and some will be left scrambling. Even then, it may still be cheaper to wait and scramble. That’s just one of the risks in living in a dynamic tech world.

So, from the trenches, where do you stand?  What have you already done and what are you planning to do about IPv6?