This is the first installment of “IPv6+Automation” – a series of blogs about IPv6 and the opportunity it presents to technology teams, written by Nicole Wajer (Technical Solutions Architect), Juulia Santala (Technical Solutions Architect), and Annie Hardy (Senior Visioneer). 

There has been a shift in the marketplace that we’ve been tracking – but which hasn’t gotten as much attention as it should have. Until now.

Recently, we’ve been hearing from customers who are beginning to get concerned about the ticking clock on IPv6 compliance. It’s been an obscure standard since its inception, but it’s about to get way more important, with a potential impact ranging from SLAs to revenue.

Why IPv6 matters

The American Registry for Internet Numbers, ARIN, gives out IP addresses in the US region – but many may be unaware that they have run out of Legacy Protocol addresses (IPv4). The impact of this merits more conversation than we’re hearing today. Soon, IT teams will feel the pinch, as those addresses are used to connect customers to their services. Our customers are concerned about how they can keep up with their competition when even the simplest setups on IPv6 – like a voicemail setup with required networking configurations – can take 4 weeks to complete.

Beyond the technical implications of the switch, another big concern has garnered attention. As it becomes the industry standard, the OMB mandate that forces the US Government to speed deployment for IPv6 has been also top of mind.

We believe that what is truly a big deal has until now only been a small consideration. In fact, the deployment rate of IPv6 in the USA is only 50% in 2023. But with the new urgencies around the scarcity of the methods we’ve used in the past – and the necessity to evolve with the demands of government entities – every executive needs to be aware that they may soon lose contracts because of it. Barriers to adoption We’ve seen reticence to make the shift and have done some research on what is getting in the way. If this is so important, why isn’t everyone already doing it?

From what we’ve heard from customers, the main reason teams haven’t made the switch is over concerns that implementing IPv6 will disrupt the business. It requires us to change the way we think of our networks, as well as transform our processes – which requires that we re-train our employees to adapt to the changes in the protocol. Sometimes, it’s complicated enough that teams push it off until it is absolutely, unquestionably, immediately necessary. But with the change lays the opportunity. The moment of transforming your network with IPv6 can also be a moment of transforming your overall processes and flows with network automation. From using Python to automate manual configuration tasks to automating testing, companies are seeing tremendous benefits from adopting modern processes. Faster enablement of business requirements, fewer issues in deployment, better end-user service excellence – and ultimately, a closer alignment to your company’s digital transformation goals.

Taking the first step

It sounds great, right? Well, we’re excited about it, and we’ve joined forces to help your team start strong and get the most benefit from the transition. For deeper technical details on IPv6 and how to automate with Python moving forward, we’ll be publishing a technical blog series on Cisco’s Analytics and Intelligent Automation blog.

Stay tuned for more details about how the technical requirements, ideal process, and tips we have for your transition. And for those heading to Cisco Live in Las Vegas in June 2023– we’d love to see you and your team at Nicole and Juulia’s technical seminar:

6+3=100! Use IPv6 and Python 3 to transform how you do networking
Sunday, June 4th at 2 p.m. (extra registration is required).

We’re speaking several times about IPv6 at Cisco Live US, so join us at any of the sessions – we would love to hear about what’s happening with IPv6 at your company.

We hope we’ve been able to share a bit more about how IPv6, together with automation, can offer real opportunities for your company. Ultimately, the transition to IPv6 opens doors for you to build a more efficient, scalable, modern network.  Digital Transformation #FTW!

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Nicole Wajer

Technical Solutions Architect & Chief Stroopwafel Officer

Enterprise Networking