Scheduling the IPocalypse

Ivan Pepelnjak has made a presentation available at [Slideshare – Content over IPv6 – No Excuses]. One slide particularly caught my attention:


It’s timely reminder that the IPocalypse is going happen quite slowly. Each step is inevitable but none of the them are the final step.

For example, once the IANA runs out of addresses, the RIR’s will still have IPv4 to allocate. But they will run out and then your ISP will still have addresses. It’s probably certain that ISP’s / Service Provider / Carriers will be hoarding addresses so there will still be some IP addresses.

And then, your own company probably doesn’t need new addresses every year. Some will, most won’t. All this adds up to a slow, gradual, running down extinction. It’s not a big bang event. It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And it’s human nature to ignore the slow things until it’s too late.

By the time we REALLY run out of addresses, it’s going to be “cry wolf once too often”, that is, we are all tired of hearing about IPv4 exhaustion already, and there is still two more years before the final impact. If you are lucky, your company probably doesn’t need a new Internet connection in 2012 so it might not be until 2013 or even 2014 that you will have the problem.

There are no answers to this of course, just that the IPocalypse has a planned date in 2012. You should be planning for it, of course, but stop listening to people crying wolf. If you are in Enterprise then 2012 is the year that IPv6 should be on your agenda.

I’m betting that your CIO still won’t care until the reality comes in so it’s lot of crying wolf for the next two years.

Other Posts in A Series On The Same Topic

  1. Why Allocating a /64 is Not Wasteful and Necessary (23rd January 2011)
  2. IPv6 - /48 allocation in /64 chunks - that's a lot of addresses (21st January 2011)
  3. IPocalypse: What's next for the 'End of the Internet' ? (20th January 2011)
  4. The IPocalyse is Nigh - Forced Allocation of IPv4 to RIRs next week ? (19th January 2011)
  5. IETF IPv6 address allocation policy being updated. (12th January 2011)
  6. Scheduling the IPocalypse (25th November 2010)
  • Ivan Pepelnjak

    Disagree – 2012+ is the time when you’ll have to face the reality and start implementing production-grade IPv6. The time for pilots and “getting-your-hands-wet” experience is now.

    A lot depends also on your application load. If your (web facing) applications run in the PHP/Apache/MySQL environment or even ASP.NET/IIS/SQL Server environment, you’re mostly ready. If you have a home brew based on C/Cobol/whatever, who knows …

    • Greg Ferro

      My view is that in reality, 2012 is when Enterprises will _start_ to look at it. Until it is absolutely essential, no one is going to do anything.

      Claiming that the sky is falling isn’t helping the industry. We look stupid by crying wolf at every chance we get.

  • Kal

    There is another side to the creeping doom of IPv6 inevitability. At some point there will be (has to be?) a tipping point of IPv6 enabled content over IPv4. When will more of your services be available on IPv6 than IPv4? Will some content providers simply abandon IPv4 before world+dog has changed over? It seems ridiculous now, but for some closed ecosystems it could occur well before D-Day (whenever/whatever that is). So there may well be strong pressure from suppliers or customers, to move to IPv6 far earlier than “the last day of IPv4”.It depends on your relative strength in your market of course.

    If you are a small enterprise and your biggest customers force IPv6 on you, will you retain your IPv4 platform for your smaller customers? Probably, but for how long? And will you maintain it as a legacy system like the old mainframes and mini computers sitting in the corner of the office for those last few customers that still haven’t shifted.

    You may not wish to be the first, but you certainly don’t want to be the last. Plan now, learn from early adopters and train your staff. Answer the questions now, so that every project from now on assumes IPv6. You’ll end up IPv6 ready without the panic.

    • Greg Ferro

      So how is that going for you ? Have you convinced you management to commit money, resources and time to planning and implementing ?

      Yeah, thought so. No one cares, and we are tired of hearing about it.

      • Ivan Pepelnjak

        Yes, we have. And so has every single mobile operator in my country. And the wireline incumbent. And at least three other commercial ISPs. And a hosting provider that’s running IPv6 without their customers even knowing they’re doing it.

        Last but not least, so has our national TV 😉 Not just committed money+resources, they’re offering IPv6 content in production.

        BTW, if you have an F5 load balancer in your network, your job is 95% done, you just have to configure the box (as did Facebook).

        Just because you think it doesn’t matter doesn’t make it true.

        • brad

          Care to explain how having a F5 load balancer makes deployment of IPv6 95% done?

          • Greg Ferro

            Configure TCP OneConnect feature on your F5 for the real servers (otherwise known as TCP Session termination). May require SSL termination.

            Create a VIP that uses IPv6 addressing.


      • Kal

        Yes I have, but then I’m sneaky and really annoying. As with any new technology, yelling and arm waving never works, whether it be creeping or instant doom. So long as it forms part of new plans now, you’ll be IPv6 ready almost accidentally. There is no need for THE BIG IPV6 project. But there is a need to add IPv6 to each new project.
        -Upgrading your network management software: does is handle IPv6?
        -Tracking customer regions from your traffic? Those databases need refreshing regularly anyway, so next time add the IPv6 region info and modify your operational plans to include it.
        -If you have OSs that don’t support IPv6 that are internet facing, by now, then you have other issues anyway.

        IPv6 should not be the goal. Because that results in questions like “how much money can I have for IPv6?”. You don’t ask that question of IPv4 when you deploy that new load balancer. Staff training is in most enterprise budgets, just ensure that whatever the next year’s training is, it includes IPv6.
        Most of the reticence is fear of change rather than money. So if people understand it (our role) and get used to having it in the background (its in the QA tests, there’s an IPv6 section in all project docs), you’ll encounter less resistance.

        Finally, don’t talk about it unless you’ve got something to say. People do get fatigued when hearing about something they can’t do anything about or they just get vague warnings of DIRE CONSEQUENCES. Unfortunately the role of the network architect/senior engineer does include layer 8 troubleshooting more than other hands on roles.

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