Last week the 4th annual Rocky Mountain IPv6 Summit event took place in Denver Colorado. The attendance was larger than previous years and gave a strong indication that organizations are increasingly interested in IPv6. The conference showed that organizations and manufacturers and service providers are keenly focused on migrating to IPv6 in the coming years. This article shares some of the highlights of the conference.
I know what you are thinking; "IPv6 is coming any day now, yeah right, we have heard this before". I know many people who started to learn about IPv6 back in the 2000-to-2005 timeframe when there was a lot of interest in IPv6 transition. Federal organizations announced their mandate to move to IPv6 and vendors jumped at the chance to get their IPv6 wares publicized. However, many organizations didn't see a strong business case for IPv6 and they continued to ignore the warning signs about IPv4 address depletion. The worldwide economic downturn and reductions in IT spending didn't help organizations continue to innovate and plan for the future. Well, now that IPv4 address depletion is a reality there in a resurgence in interest in IPv6. Those people who forgot most of what they once knew about IPv6 now have renewed their commitment to learn about IPv6 and help their organizations start the transition in earnest.
The increase in interest in IPv6 can be attributed to the recent news about IPv4 address depletion. On February 3rd, 2011 the IPv4 global address pool was fully allocated. You can see the IANA IPv4 Address Space Registry document and see that it was last modified on February 3rd. More recently APNIC declared that they were now in Stage 3 of IPv4 exhaustion where they ration their remaining /8 address block. There are also estimates that ARIN and RIPE NCC will enter into this same stage of depletion rationing sometime in 2011.
One of the other factors that made the attendance at the IPv6 summit larger this year than in previous years is organization's increased interest in IPv6 training. There is a worldwide scarcity of IPv6 training and how organizations need more IPv6 training opportunities. Furthermore, IPv6 training needs to be available for not only router jockeys but for system administrators, application developers, NOC staff, security teams, and managers and project managers. The IPv6 Summit strives to offer low-cost IPv6 training to the broadest range of people in the networking and IT undustry.
There was an overwhelming response to the pre-conference tutorial and the IPv6 hands on lab sessions. Unfortunately, we had to limit the class sizes due to the available hotel room size. When we had the initial idea to offer these hands-on training sessions and tutorials, we didn't know how popular they were going to be. Disappointingly, we had to turn away many people who wanted to attend because we didn't have enough room and weren't set up to offer hands-on access to equipment for very large numbers of students. Due to the interest in these types of hands-on learning we will likely offer more of these types of IPv6 training sessions in the future.
The presentations given at the conference gave hints that IPv6 is starting to move out of the realm of early-adoption and into the world of full dual-stack deployment. This year's presentations covered how IPv6 is already being used in several environments such as the Internet core, Cable broadband, LTE, Google, defense research. There was also a lot of discussion about how server load balancing (SLB) appliances could be used to accelerate an organization getting an IPv6 Internet-facing web site up and running. These appliances could be particularly useful for U.S. federal organizations who are trying to hit their September 2012 mandate for IPv6-enabled Internet-facing web sites.
There was also a lot of discussion of the fast-approaching World IPv6 Day on June 8th, 2011. For a 24-hour period on June 8th many large content providers, equipment manufacturers, and organizations will publish both an IPv4 DNS A-record and an IPv6 DNS AAAA-record for their primary web site. The ISOC and many of the sponsors at the IPv6 Summit are participating in this day and hope to gain a lot of important data on that day. Hopefully this event will help to draw attention to the "IPv6-brokenness" problem and helps speed up resolution. All organizations would prefer to have a single web site function for both IPv4 and IPv6 clients.
The conference had both a dual-protocol and an IPv6-only wireless network that attendees could use for Internet access. This network ran smooth and virtually all the attendees who brought their laptops could use the dual-protocol network without any issues. Those who used the IPv6-only Internet connectivity saw what life would be like in the far distant future when IPv6 would be the dominant IP version.
If you want to find more information about the event you can browse (with IPv4 or IPv6) to the main IPv6 Summit event page. If you are interested in seeing the presentations that were given at the IPv6 Summit event, you can download them from the following link. http://www.rmv6tf.org/presentations2011.htm
Next year's event will be planned for Denver in April of 2012. The 2012 Rocky Mountain IPv6 Summit event will continue to build upon the success of the previous year's conference. I will likely be the largest IPv6 conference in North America and draw in attendees from across the U.S. and internationally. The conference will maintain its technical focus and work to broaden its appeal to all walks of IT technical staff that deals with IP. You can expect to see an increased interoperability network for IPv6-capable vendor's products and IPv6 Internet services. There will also be increased opportunity for hands-on training with IPv6 to meet the heightened demand for IPv6 training resources.
See you next year.