DUBAI, UAE: IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol version designated as the successor to IPv4, is here to stay, spurred by an estimated 22 billion networked devices in use by 2020, government mandates and rapid cloud adoption driving Internet transformation. It is important for IT managers and CIOs in the Middle East to embrace IPv6 and the associated technologies and gain a better understanding of how this can revolutionize and transform enterprise networks and help them embrace the cloud.
While it is widely known that IPv6 expands the pool of addresses available to satisfy an exponentially growing number of Internet connected devices, IPv6 offers other inherent benefits that enable organizations to simplify network management, increase innovation through enhanced collaboration, improve interoperability and mobility, and strengthen security capabilities. These improvements, along with trillions of new IP addresses now available, will help organizations evolve their network infrastructures to more agile models including cloud computing.
IPv6 offers more customer benefits than addresses alone
Ali Ahmar, regional sales manager at Brocade Communications explains that IPv6 offers organizations more than an expanded pool of IP addresses. Future applications and services within the cloud will require broader use and support of Internet-enabled resources. Whether it is automatically spooling additional servers or improved network security and simplified mobility – IPv6 is designed to meet that demand. Ultimately, IPv6 will help organizations improve current business operations as well as allow organizations to venture into new business practices to help create the foundation for the cloud, including:
Improved Security for the Cloud: Security is cited as one of the critical concerns organizations have for fully embracing cloud computing. With IPv4, security was optional to the user and not mandated. However, support for IPsec security framework is an IPv6 mandatory requirement. This requirement provides a standards-based solution for network security needs and promotes interoperability between different IPv6 implementations. The end result is a more threat resilient network that is relieved of inherent security holes in IPv4.
Integrated Interoperability and Mobility: IMS Research1 estimated that 5 billion devices were already connected to the Internet. By 2020 they believe this figure will be 22 billion. This massive increase in Internet enabled devices is primarily due to mobility devices, such as Smartphones, mobile tablets and laptops. Knowing that mobility will be not a nice-to-have but a requirement going forward, IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility capabilities which are already widely embedded in network devices.
Platform for Innovation and Collaboration – Often times, innovation is stifled by the constraints people are subject to, whether it is technology, political or financial. With IPv6, given its number of addresses, scalability and flexibility, potential for triggering innovation and assisting collaboration is unrestrained. In this new arena, creativity will be the larger limitation rather than IPv4 technology hurdles.
Federal government mandates loom
Strict federal mandates in the United States are driving the adoption of IPv6-ready networking technologies. Such mandates will also be adopted in the near future across other parts of the world including the Middle East. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) and other worldwide governmental agencies have made public statements not only endorsing IPv6, but mandating that equipment be IPv6 ready.
More recently, the White House directive requiring all US government agencies to upgrade their public-facing websites and services to support IPv6 by September 2012 has forced IPv6 to be top of mind for organizations inside and outside the Federal Government.
In conclusion, IPv6 should be the single most important thing on network operators' minds today if they are relying on the global Internet. It is mandatory for organizations in this region to future-proof their networking technology as IPv6, which co-exists with IPv4 today in a dual protocol world, eventually becomes the sole standard tomorrow.