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AWS targets IPv6 migration for serverless, container workloads

News Analysis
Nov 30, 20213 mins
Amazon Web ServicesInternet

AWS says workloads constrained by the limited size of the IPv4 address space can now migrate to an IPv6-only environment within its Virtual Private Clouds.

ipv6 new IP
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Amazon Web Services has launched new support for IPv6-only subnets that can meet the needs of workloads that require more IP addresses than IPv4 can readily provide.

The service is available through Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and suitable for workloads such as serverless and container applications, according to a blog by Rohit Aswani, a senior specialist solutions architect and Aditya Santhanam, a senior product manager, both with AWS. “Workloads that are constrained by the limited size of the IPv4 address space can now migrate to an IPv6-only environment on AWS to scale up,” they wrote.

IPv6 deployment guide

“Additionally, with this launch, customers will be able to meet the requirements for adoption of IPv6-only network environments set by US federal government agencies and minimize the need for translation software or systems, thereby creating a simplified IPv6-only architecture.”

The all-IPv6 subnets are created within Amazon VPCs that support both IPv4 and IPv6, and they can be used as a place to launch Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances built on the AWS Nitro System. Nitro is AWS-built hardware and software that boost performance, availability, and security.

Because the pool of IPv6 addresses that can be drawn on is approximately 18 quintillion, the service allows deployments to scale without requiring any IPv4 addressing in the subnet, Aswani and Santhanam wrote.

AWS also made it easier to support mixed IPv4 and IPv6 workloads. The company said users can set their AWS load balancers to dual-stack mode, letting it accept both IPv4 or IPv6 client connections.

“While dual stack mode on internet-facing load balancers has been available, this launch extends support for internal load balancers by adding protections to help prevent unintended internet access via IPv6 through an internet gateway,” AWS stated. Additionally, application and network load balancers now support load balancing to targets with IPv6 addresses.

IPv6-only subnets, IPv6-only EC2 instances as well as the load balancer dual-stack support are available in all public AWS Regions.

The service helps address the main problem that IPv6 was created solve: IPv4 addresses were running out. “An increasing number of organizations are adopting IPv6 in their environments, driven by the public IPv4 space exhaustion, private IPv4 scarcity, especially within large-scale networks, and the need to provide service availability to IPv6-only clients,” Alexandra Huides, an AWS senior networking specialist solutions architect wrote in an earlier blog about IPv6 options. 

IPv6 launched in 2012, but as of November 2021, and despite its efficiency and security advantages, adoption is somewhere between 32% and 37%, according to Google.