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Ensuring IT Performance in the IPV4 to IPv6 Migration
You may not have celebrated, but back in February of 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned the last top level block of free IPv4 addresses. The world has literally run out of IP addresses at a time when we are facing a tsunami of devices (smartphones, tablets and M2M devices of all shapes and sizes) in need of addresses.
The good news is that this is not a surprise, and a solution is agreed upon and ready to roll in the form of IPV6. The issue for organizations everywhere is what to do about the daunting task of migrating from IPv4 to IPv6.
While some organizations can wait, the reality is that the global transition from IPV4 to IPV6 is accelerating at unprecedented rates. It is not just because of the explosion of devices needing addresses; it is also being ushered along by government mandates. For organizations of all sizes, the transition to IPv6 has exasperated the challenge of continuity of operations that must be met before, during and after the transition.
This may not rise to the level of concern created by the last major sea change associated with Y2K problems, but it is not far behind in terms of companies being prepared and having a plan of action when the time comes to migrate.In a recent webinar, “How to Ensure IT Performance While Migrating to IPv6,” Pete Cruz,Sr. Director of Product Management and Marketing at SevOne, examined a variety of issues relating to IPV4 to IPV6 migration surrounding the risks and potential management blind spots IPv6 migration presents. He covered:
- How to avoid blind spots during the migration
- How to support IPv6 gear in your network
- How to support legacy gear that presents a data collection and monitoring challenge
- Ensuring visibility and monitoring before, during, and after the transition period
Getting your arms around the challenges
A little background is in order. The need for new addresses is well-documented. What you may not know are all the benefits IPV6 has to offer. These include: easier management of network addresses in your network based on auto configuration capabilities via a stateless architecture; end-to-end connectivity effectuated by direct addressing due to the fact that the number of IPV6 addresses is IPv6 3.4 x 1038 = 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses versus IPv4 - 4.29 x 109 = 4.2 billion addresses.
Plus, IPv6 will be a terrific platform for innovation and collaboration because of its scalability and flexibility for accommodating a limitless number of devices. And the better news is that integrated interoperability is already embedded in network and new mobile devices, and security has been enhanced because IPSEC is built in.
Case pointed out that the challenges come from:
- Ensuring visibility and monitoring during the transition period from IPv4 to IPv6.
- Not all products and OS versions support IPv6
- Legacy Management tools may have support for IPv6 in regards to polling, but lack unified visualization for IPv4 and IPv6.
- Visualizing total application or bandwidth consumption regardless of IP address type.
What you need to know in the face of all these challenges is that are two classes of IPV6 applications: IPv4 applications migrating to IPv6 with predictable traffic patterns; and new classes of applications, i.e peer-to-peer apps and Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6) ones where traffic patterns are expected to be less predictable.
You also need to know that IPv6 traffic requires NetFlow v9. What this translates into in terms of managing in this dymanic environment is that you must be prepared to collect performance data at scale while delivering your critical information in a timely manner. You require a next generation of performance management to assure a smooth migration.
SevOne sees this as a six step process if you are to have the performance management you require. In order these are the abilities to collect, baseline, threshold, alert, report and analyze. The goal is to have a platform in place such as SevOne’s that can proactively monitor what is going on in your network to meet current service level agreements and address future demands, and isolate, determine and alert on performance issues ahead of service impact.
Without going into the details of their solution, it is important to emphasize that to be properly prepared you need a real-time view in order to be proactive as well as reactive when the time comes for your organization to migrate to IPV6. The truth is that the old axiom that “you can manage what you can’t measure” is what this is all about. And for you to obtain optimal performance, more is better and having a real-time view is critical.
For each of the six steps outlined, SevOne presents users with actionable information. To the right is a screen shot for measuring baseline performance, as an example of the kinds of useful information SevOne provides.
Deep dives can be performed so that risk mitigation as well as being able to plan for the future, are easy tasks.
At the end of the day, having the right tools and doing the proper preparation for the migration from IPV4 to IPV6 can be something to embrace rather than fear. In the new world of IPV6 one does not have to be brave, you just have to be ready, willing and able.
Edited by Braden Becker