Thursday, April 25, 2013
After spending the last few days in Denver, CO participating in the largest IPv6 event in North America (and freezing due to a cold front moving through and dumping snow - in April no less!) I have come up with some take aways.
First, there are several dilemmas in the industry affecting adoption of IPv6. Specifically, the lack of content providers having their content available via IPv6. The disparate performance differences on the public Internet for IPv6 vs. IPv4 and the fact that it is not being accurately measured or even being paid attention to by the majority of service providers. And finally the challenge that enterprises are having in deciding between DHCPv6 stateful vs. DHCPv6 stateless vs. wanting to use SLAAC w/ RFC 6106 (no thanks to Android for making that problem worse.)
Second, the lack of interest, press coverage and buzz around IPv6 is upsetting, even the home page of Network World did not have a single mention of the word IPv6 after the last day of the Summit (actually any day of the summit.) I was surprised this year by how many colleagues and friends felt it more important to attend OpenStack in Portland and ONS in San Jose rather than attend the IPv6 Summit. What is even more alarming is the fact that both those events are around technologies that MUST have robust IPv6 support or they will fail long term, in other words they will have no market if they don't have an IPv6 solution. Perhaps it was just unfortunate timing that all three events were the same week but there were some noticeable gaps in attendance and in some key luminaries who chose to attend some of the other events. Granted, the weather, American Airlines having issues which grounded its fleet and the horrible news from Boston and it's subsequent lock down likely had an impact on attendance. Even with that I still feel the messaging on how important IPv6 will be to those in the IT community can't be over emphasized and I find it alarming more people are not participating and learning about IPv6. This event is a rare opportunity to learn arguably one of the most important basic skills you will need in your career as an IT Professional regardless of role. As a side note, both OpenStack and ONS sold out but the NA IPv6 Summit still had room for more attendees. I am not sure why that is and would love to hear what others think about that.
Third, the slow realization that IPv6 is not accelerating but is actually slowing down in adoption. The application rate for Provider Independent (PI) space is slowing, the role outs of IPv6 to service provider customers is not happening at an impactful rate and because of the lack of content its use will languish until more Enterprises feel it is important to have as a transport option. There is serious case to wonder if IPv6 will make it or if everyone will decide to make horrible IPv4 NAT on NAT on NAT (NAT444) solutions and just deal with brokenness and performance problems indefinitely. Perhaps they are hoping that eventually it will be somebody else's problem to deal with.
So, in summary, while I am a huge IPv6 advocate I am getting tired of being ridiculed by manufactures, peers, industry pundits and customers whenever I bring up the topic of IPv6 and adoption and everyone's response is "isn't that dead" or "no one actually uses IPv6" or "I hope to retire before I have to learn that" as quips back to my inquiry. Honestly, I am to the point now where my response is going to be "be part of the solution or get the heck out of the way" with perhaps some expletives in the mix depending on the audience. As an anecdotal side note, I have had several long time IPv6 colleagues and industry leaders tell me they are not focusing as much on IPv6 due to the incredible frustration of it being ignored and the frightening thought that IPv6 might not actually make it as a legitimate technology solution due to the lack of interest and adoption. Apparently growth for the Internet just really isn't that important.
Co-chair, CA IPv6 Task Force