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Business Case for IPv6 - Part 2

Juha Holkkola

In my previous blog on the topic, I stated that the business case supporting the IPv4 roll-out in the late 90s was the Internet. Although IP depletion will slowly become a reality, the chances are that due to mitigating technologies such as NAT and DNS64, it may take quite a while before organizations in the developed economies will get serious about IPv6.

So where should we look to find a business case for IPv6?

Over the last year or two, the shift towards cloud computing paradigm has started to make some pretty impressive waves. Although still at a relatively early stage, we are seeing both service providers and enterprises coming out with brand new strategies for public and private clouds. Based on the recent developments, we estimate that by 2015, the way in which applications and network services are consumed will be very different from what it is today. The discontinuity here will be just as big as the Internet was some 15 years ago.

As far as the IPv6 business case is concerned, not many people have realized how critical IP addresses and DNS is for the cloud orchestration process. To commission or decommission a virtual machine, one needs to reserve or to free an IP address, preferably within a window of 300 milliseconds. Further, in order for that newly commissioned virtual machine to be easily accessed, a DNS entry is also needed. With Infrastructure 1.0 utilizing IPv4 spaces managed with Excel spreadsheets, the cloud doesn't scale.

To address this issue, anyone serious about cloud computing will have to come to accept that Infrastructure 2.0 is required in order for the cloud computing paradigm to work as intended. If someone is to make a considerable investment in cloud environment, protecting the investment for at least the next 10 years becomes essential. And the way I see it, this is where IPv6 comes in.

In this light, IPv6 can be viewed as a similar enabler to the cloud as IPv4 was for the Internet. From the business perspective, IPv6 enables the cloud to scale into the foreseeable future. Furthermore, by making IPv6 a standard feature in clouds, organizations investing in them can make sure that their basic architecture will stand the test of time, thereby optimizing the cloud ROI.

By Juha Holkkola, Managing Director of Nixu Software. More blog posts from Juha Holkkola can also be read here.

Related topics: Cloud Computing, Internet Protocol, IP Addressing, IPv6

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