Cisco Advanced Services has been involved in quite a few Data Center Migration projects over last couple of years. One common theme in most of these migrations was that the projects were never limited to infrastructure migration to shiny new devices. Statements of work almost always included improvements and customization to routing, configuration of QoS across the Data Center Interconnect and the WAN circuits, and to provide some level of instrumentation to validate the traffic flow across multiple different paths. While these requirements seem like a logical extension of any Data Center migration project, fulfilling these requirements was never straightforward.
In most of the customer environments, by looking at the Network topology, we could easily determine safe upper limits of client to server traffic. The real challenge was to determine traffic between the web front-end servers and the application and/or database servers – the east/west traffic. Some wild assumptions were made in some cases since the data was either not available or was inadequate. This lack of network traffic profiling made QoS provisioning very difficult on WAN circuits and almost impossible on the Inter Data Center links.
Mark Townsley opened the inaugural V6 World Congress 2011, a 3-day conference on IPv6 Internetworking, with a keynote discussion on the business case for IPv6. One of his key messages was to do with the fact that there is strength in numbers, according to the Network Effect. Thus critical mass is required for the transition to begin in earnest and for the eventual switch to IPv6 to come to true fruition.
Theodore Vail of Bell Telephone discovered and learned how to harness the powers of a mathematical equation that describes “The Network Effect” more than 100 years ago as evidenced by the world wide telephony network. In simple terms, the Network Effect states that the more connections (or people) working together in a network, the more robust and more valuable it becomes. Extrapolating this information to the modern day Internet and further the IPv6 Internet we, indeed, believe the future of the Internet is in our hands and it is up to us to join together as a network of participants to keep it going. Such was the spirit of the participants at V6 World Congress, one of realization in how they are all working together to ensure the continued growth and success of the Internet.
The heart of the Internet is technological growth. With IPv4 on the way out, this growth is prone to being stunted. The basis of a study by Dimitri Zenghelis from Cisco IBSG, finds that “network technology has the potential to boost economic growth, sustainably enriching poorer societies.” If the Internet lacks the ability to expand and grow, a likely outcome will be that the innovation we have come to expect will become more and more difficult to achieve, potentially causing the world economy to lose the monetary sustenance it derives from the Network Effect.
Last week, we introduced the new IP SLA Video Operation tool to assess the readiness of a network by generating synthetic traffic to mimic real applications. When you use IP SLA VO to generate simulated RTP traffic between two sites, you can use the medianet Performance Monitor feature to measure the performance of this synthetic traffic across the network. You can also use Mediatrace to discover the network elements on the paths between the two sites. For each network element discovered in the network path, Performance Monitor can collect metrics to detect potential capacity bottlenecks and proactively identify quality issues.
In addition to the obvious use for pre-deployment assessment, many enterprises understand that the network and applications are constantly changing so it is necessary to do continuous assessments. For example, after a major scheduled network maintenance or upgrade during non-business hours, you can use IP SLA VO to simulate real application traffic and assess the impact of the network changes to minimize potential business disruption or even downtime. Another example is prior to an important event, you can use IP SLA VO to stress test the network and verify that it can handle the rich media traffic without impacting existing application performance.
Whether you are doing an initial assessment for a new deployment, an expansion to an existing deployment, or ongoing operations, IPSLA VO, Performance Monitor and Mediatrace are effective tools to identify and proactively resolve rich media problems across the network. Put this handy tool in your toolbox and you will like it.
When faced with a life changing situation such as the depletion of the IPv4 address space, the emotional reaction tends to track the Kübler-Ross model, better known as The Five Stages of Grief.
DENIAL: There is no crisis! There are lots of IPv4 addresses; we just need to reclaim the ones that are not used.
The increasing consumption rate of IP addresses combined with the natural inefficiencies inherent in IPv4 subnetting makes complete exhaustion of the IPv4 address space inevitable. In October 2010, a return of a “/8 block” (16 million addresses) added only one month to the depletion date. As of April 2011, the Asia-Pacific region alone consumes two /8 network blocks every month. No amount of conservation or reclamation can solve the problem.
ANGER: What a stupid design! How could we run out of addresses?
Vint Cerf sends his most sincere apologies. Nobody imagined the phenomenal growth of the Internet when Vint and his team defined the 32-bit IPv4 address space back in 1977. The good news is that the problem has been recognized since the 1980s and the IETF has had the successor IPv6 protocol defined since 1998. You can take advantage of more than a decade of experience in navigating this transition.