This text was originally meant to be read by the Swedish authorities and municipalities, but the problem is most probably similar all over the world.
Along with others, I have repeatedly written and spoken about the need for municipalities and agencies to start with the roll-out of IPv6. Most of what I have written has been focused on IT managers. It might seem natural that it is the IT manager's decision to get the IPv6-project started. But what if perhaps it isn't...?
A consultant in my company, Interlan, has a wonderful attitude about IPv6.
If he talks to customers that haven't yet implemented IPv6, he sometimes comments:
"Why don't you use the whole Internet?"
If he on the other hand is talking to ISPs, he often comments:
"Why don't you deliver the whole Internet?"
If we look at Sweden for example, there are 290 municipalities in Sweden. With a couple of local clusters that manage more than one municipality we can assume that we have about 250 IT-departments. With my experience we can also then assume that we have 250 different ways of running the IT needs of a municipality. It is with that in mind that I have started to re-think the way decisions are made. Is it solely the IT-manager's decision and responsibility to say:
"Now we implement IPv6!"
What is included in the duties for the person that is responsible for Internet communications in a municipality? Maybe it says "ensure that the Internet always works". What's really in the task? Is it only to maintain and ensure, or is it to maintain, ensure and develop? Is Internet then only the old reliable IPv4 or is it the "whole internet" with IPv6 as well? Or is it perhaps the IT-strategist or IT-architect who should see the needs for the municipality's Internet communications? And is it he or she who is supposed to say to the IT manager, who in turn tells the "Internet Man" to get started with IPv6? Or is it maybe the technician who will tell the strategist, who in turn needs to appoint a study that will show that this really is necessary and this will then be introduced to the manager who will run this by the team of executives and the economy department? Or ...?
There are also municipalities where the IT-department only implements upon the orders place by municipal management or administration. How should such a municipality get the IPv6 implementation going? Have you heard of any head of social welfare administration or municipal director saying:
-"Look here now, I think IPv6 solves the problem and we should start to migrate ASAP!"?
Perhaps the municipalities are waiting for someone "even higher above" to tell them how to do and when to start. Who (or what) that someone from above might be can be widely speculated on. A technician at a municipality I talked to, was waiting for directives from the SKL for an introduction! (SKL is the organization in Sweden that in some aspect co-ordinate the activities in the municipalities.) Yet another I talked to said that the Kammarkollegiet, who in Sweden is in charge of many of the larger IT contracts for the public sector, does not provide for IPv6 in their procurements, so why should we? To wait for directives from above, in my opinion is really to bury our heads in the sand!
On www.skl.se the magic word "IPv6" is mentioned once. If you look for the magic word on the website for "Kammarkollegiet", it's not mentioned at all.
In other words, it isn't likely to expect any miraculous help from above in this matter. Not from any of these two key players anyway.
Why I write this is that, as it tends to be pointed out in my presentations about IPv6:
-The most difficult part of adopting IPv6 is to make the decision to do so!
When the decision is made, the actual work isn't that complicated and is most often not at all as expensive as expected. All major operating systems and services for the Internet today support IPv6, and have done so for quite some time.
IANA's pool of IPv4-addresses is expected to end in April 2011, this is within less than eight months. And as the Internet-guru Patrik Fältström said on the Swedish Internet Days in 2008,
"There is no Plan B!"
By Torbjörn Eklöv, CTO, Senior Network Architect, DNSSEC/IPv6
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Minds + Machines