6connect, a venture-funded startup based in San Francisco, announced Monday its ProVision Suite, a cloud-based service designed to help network operators manage dual-stack networks supporting both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
6connect claims to ease network provisioning and asset management challenges for dual-stack network that use both 32-bit-long IPv4 addresses and 128-bit-long IPv6 addresses. Using the software-as-a-service model, 6connect offers IP address management, DNS and Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) functionality typically purchased in the past as a special-purpose appliance or server-hosted software package.
6connect executives claim ProVision Suite is superior to appliances because it was built from the ground up to ease IPv4-to-IPv6 migration, while competing products were designed for IPv4 and have bolted-on IPv6 capabilities. ProVision Suite is being targeted at both service provider and enterprise networks.
"One big advantage is that we provide auto subnetting with IPv6," said Pete Sclafani, CIO of 6connect. "We also offer a portal that allows IT departments to empower end users to view and manage their own IP space and DNS."
6connect's ProVision Suite comes with APIs that support the REST (Representational State Transfer) software architecture used by the Regional Internet Registries that dole out IPv4 and IPv6 address space. It also offers integration with Salesforce as well as DNS offerings from other vendors, including DynECT, ISC Bind, Secure64 and PowerDNS.
ProVision Suite starts at around $60,000 per year for a 15,000-node network, with prices increasing for larger networks.
IPv6 is an upgrade to the Internet's main protocol, which is called IPv4. IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices: 2 to the 128th power. The Internet needs IPv6 because it is running out of IPv4 addresses.