North American IPv6 Summit: My Critical Takeaways for the Enterprise Customer
The 2012 North American IPv6 Summit was held in Denver, Colorado on April 9-12, 2012. As usual, it was an excellent conference with the largest attendance of any IPv6 event in North America this year. There were many excellent speakers who gave timely talks on the state of IPv6 deployment, gaps in the overall education within the end-user base as well as advances and limitations in vendor support.
I gave a keynote talk on “Enterprise Internet Edge Design for IPv6” and afterwards I was approached by several enterprise customers who stated that they had great success using the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) options defined in our Deploying IPv6 in the Internet Edge CVD. This is great to hear but our work is not done yet. We still need to help customers understand the significance of deploying IPv6 in not just the network but throughout the enterprise. This is most evident in the lack of documentation by commercial off the shelf (COTS) application vendors who need to do a better job of helping customers understand the support for IPv6.
There were many great sessions but the ones the hit home for me the most were:
- IPv6 Government Panel, moderated by Yurie Rich (Nephos6) and paneled by: Dale Geesey (Auspex), Steven Pirzchalski (Veterans Administration), Ron Broersma (DREN)
- World IPv6 Launch Panel, moderated by Chris Grundermann (CableLabs) and paneled by: Richard Jimmerson (ISOC), Lee Howard (Time Warner Cable), Tim Winters (UNH IOL), Tony Lam (Yahoo)
- Happy Eyeballs, Andrew Yourtchenko (Cisco)
- Lessons Learned From an Enterprise Deployment, Paul Zawacki (Oracle)
The one session that I thought really showed the most industry expertise and planning/deployment experience was the session “How to Evaluate the IPv6 Readiness of the IT Environment” by Dr. Chip Popoviciu (President/CEO of Nephos6). What resonated so well with me is Chip’s profile-based assessment which is very much how IT organizations look at the assessment and planning of private & public cloud deployment. I think this approach is crucial and provides a more well rounded view of the whole IT readiness status than just a pure product-by-product based approach (which is a part of the greater profile-based approach).
Many industry leading vendors showcased not only their products and services, but also the Interoperability Lab and conference network. It was good to see products from so many vendors being used together for a quality IPv6 deployment.
The critical takeaways for me as I left this event were:
- Business continuity is the #1 driver for enterprises to deploy IPv6. I have said this for nearly four years and it is never more true than now. Limit your exposure to the likelihood that one day soon a potential or existing customer will land on a connection where they are on IPv6 and your business is only on IPv4. For years I have talked about enterprise customer engagements and the stories I have heard regarding the CFO/Controller realizing that there could be lost revenue due to a potential customer not being able to reach the company’s products and services sales portal due to the customer being on an IPv6 connection. This is about due diligence, folks, and dealing with risk. Others in the industry are starting to realize this as well. This became a theme at the conference and you can read a PC World article on it: Business Continuity Emerges as Latest IPv6 Killer App .
- Start early and properly assess and plan BEFORE you turn the key on the deployment. Waiting to do IPv6 until ‘later’ will cause you to rush into something that will end up with a bad user experience and negatively impact your business.
- Avoid over-dependency on Stateful NAT64 or translation in an appliance. The vast majority of enterprises begin their deployments in the Internet Edge and do it quickly, without proper planning and testing AND over-dependency on Stateful NAT64 or translation in an appliance. This will hurt IPv6 deployment in the end.
I am proud to have been on the steering committee to help plan this event and very proud of the quality of the content for many of the sessions. Some of the content was repetitious but that can be a good thing as this generally means that most industry experts are seeing the same things everywhere and not odd or alarming trends here or there. To me, this shows maturity of IPv6 deployment and stabilization of support across vendors. Events like this will help our customers and partners execute a well thought out IPv6 deployment.