This week I was fortunate enough to attend the Google IPv6 Implementors Conference. This event was a gathering of the top technical experts working on furthering IPv6 deployment around the world. Since this event was a small gathering I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what was covered and why this was a significant event.
There are many who still haven’t learned about IPv6 and what it can and can’t do. I am constantly amazed by the fact that many are still not convinced that IPv6 is necessary. For example, Network World published an article (No business case for IPv6, survey finds) on a recent Internet Society (ISOC) survey that found that many network operators didn’t see a concrete business driver for IPv6. Frankly these types of articles disappoint me because it shows that so many people in the IT industry are still in denial of IPv6. I am not angry with Network World or ISOC for reporting the news of this survey but at the lack of vision of these network operators. I encourage these network operators to expand their horizons and learn about IPv6. In particular, they should see how they can progress through the stages to IPv6 grief to IPv6 acceptance by looking at Tony Hain’s presentation on achieving IPv6 enlightenment.
Here is an IPv6 business case for you. IPv6 impacts the future of the Internet. The Internet can’t grow without more addresses and NAT is not the answer. Many of us, including these network operators, make a good living because the Internet exists. If you want your livelihood to continue then you should at least learn about IPv6. Then you will realize why IPv6 is an imminent eventuality and a foregone inevitability. The sooner you reach this level of IPv6 acceptance the sooner you will start to make plans to migrate.
That is really where the Google IPv6 Implementors conference begins; with IPv6 acceptance. The intent was to have technical discussions about how we can move IPv6 forward and help fosters its deployment on the Internet. The discussions were not going to cover the basics of IPv6 or cover IPv4 address depletion (although there were a few slides on this subject) or cover any of the first stages of IPv6 grief. The presentations were supposed center around successes with IPv6, how to further its deployment, how to handle the tricky issues with IPv4 to IPv6 migration and interoperability. That is exactly what was covered. The presentations were positive yet realistic and occasionally somber in their look at IPv6 implementation thus far. As a result of these talks I became energized around what I can do to help further IPv6 adoption.
If you are interested in seeing what was discussed at this meeting of IPv6 experts you will be able to download the presentations and the YouTube videos soon. There are also videos and presentations from last year’s 2008 conference. Just Google for them - search for IPv6.
Google had accepted a challenge over a year ago to enable their content be reachable over IPv6. Google accepted the challenge and many talented Googlers spent their 20% projects starting the planning. The project caught momentum and Google quickly mobilized to get their addresses, get dual-protocol peering, perform DNS testing, start to migrate their internal networks to dual-protocol, dual-stack web servers, and then publish IPv6 DNS entries. The entire process took less than a year and Google met the challenge. So many people say that IPv6 implementation is difficult but Google, NTT, Bechtel, and others have proven that IPv6 implementation doesn’t necessarily require a large outlay of capital or decades of labor.
Google had WiFi set up with their fully IPv6-capable web content. This is called Google over IPv6. Therefore all conference attendees were able to access Google’s full web content over native IPv6 connectivity. If you are at an organization that has a solid IPv6 network and solid IPv6 Internet connectivity and you want to provide Google content to your users over IPv6 then you can have Google “white-list” your dual-stack name server. Google will then have their authoritative name servers provide your resolver with a AAAA for www.google.com. Just follow the instructions on this web page to get the process started and your DNS resolver will start to receive AAAA records for all things Google. Alternatively, if you only want to access Google Search only over their IPv6-only site you can also browse to http://ipv6.google.com.
This being my first trip to the Googleplex I have to say that is an amazing place. Besides being a very tranquil location it has an energy that comes from all the young intelligent creative minds who work there. The hospitality of Google was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in addition to the surroundings, the food was amazing, and the discussions were inspiring.