The transition to IPv6 presents a complex technical challenge, and the business risks for not doing it right are potentially significant, in terms of impact on customer retention and growth, new business models, and competitive edge.
In this third installation of the series, Kelly Ahuja of Cisco and Ray Mota of ACG focus on Service Provider strategies for the transition to IPv6. As Kelly mentions, the Cisco Carrier-Grade IPv6 Solution (CGv6) is designed to help address both technical and business challenges associated with the transition. The Cisco CGv6 portfolio of IPv6 solutions enables service providers to:
Preserve investments in IPv4 infrastructure, assets, and delivery models
Prepare for the smooth, incremental transition to IPv6 services that are interoperable with IPv4
Prosper through accelerated subscriber, device, and service growth that are enabled by the efficiencies that IPv6 can deliver
It’s important to emphasize the word solution. CGv6 solution is not just a line card, or a network appliance, or a software feature. Unlike other companies Cisco has the experience and expertise to help network operators realize the promise of IPv6 by offering full Life Cycle Services Support. This is especially important as not all operators have experience in IPv6 or access to this expertise. Cisco can provide the people, processes and tools to ensure a seamless transition. Some of the capabilities our advanced services team provides include:
Contributed by David Flesh, Sr Manager, Product Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group
If you’re a network administrator, at times it may seem like the IP network traffic and volume of IP addresses and devices you oversee are increasing at an unmanageable pace. On top of that, the complexity and size of IP networks continue to expand, and network operators are beginning to transition to IPv6 and introduce new technologies and services into their networks (VoIP, video, cloud computing, virtualization, etc.). Network operators need to accelerate provisioning and simplify service activation.
Given the mission-critical importance of DNS and DHCP services in today’s service provider and enterprise networks, you now face huge challenges with IP address management that must be addressed. Without a fast, reliable, and secure DNS service, subscribers’ broadband Internet access will be compromised. If DNS fails, the Internet will fail. Likewise, DHCP is a core network access technology -- every device must be assigned a unique address when connected to the network, a virtually impossible task to undertake manually.
To effectively address these challenges, network administrators need an integrated solution for DNS, DHCP, IPAM (DDI) to effectively manage IP address growth and help automate the adoption of IPv6.
And that’s just what Cisco is now providing.
As part of its service provider network management portfolio, Cisco is introducing Cisco Network Registrar 7.2 which provides an integrated, scalable, reliable solution for DDI across multiple technologies to simplify management of IP addresses and the transition to IPv6. Cisco Network Registrar is the industry’s fastest and most scalable DHCP server - able to assign more than 47,000 leases per second on a Cisco B-Series UCS platform (and 14,000 leases per second on a non-Cisco hardware platform) and support more than 50 million devices in a single customer deployment.
You can make your named network services available via IPv6 with a few simple steps. First, your DNS server or DNS service provider should first hand out AAAA DNS records (pronounced quad-A record) which map hostnames to IPv6 addresses. Second, you should provide PTR records to allow IPv6 Reverse DNS (rDNS) lookups. Finally, you should take steps to make the DNS server itself reachable via IPv6.
Setup your DNS Server to start serving AAAA records
To allow resolution of hostnames to IPv6 addresses, your DNS Server must respond to requests for AAAA records. Adding AAAA records to your forward zones will enable clients with IPv6 connectivity to learn the IPv6 addresses of your resources. Be aware there is a small risk that if a requesting client is among the minority with broken IPv6 connectivity, it can appear to the client that your website is down. Some companies use DNS whitelisting to mitigate such issues, but there are concerns around that approach.