Happy New Year! Out with the old, in with the new! No really. I know that a sane IT manager or network admin is averse to change just because there is so much natural change in our particular industry, but this is one of those times where you can run, but you can’t hide.
The one thing nearly all of us will be doing in 2011? Taking some form of remedial action to address IPv6. Some smart cookies were proactive, others won’t have to change this year, but most of us will be figuring out what to do in order to get more address space. If you’ve read up on any of the hoopla over the last year, then you have a vague idea that the problem isn’t “there are no addresses”, but rather that the central issuing agencies will have no more to give out. This will create some oddities in the system, where one organization might be able to pick up a block of five addresses from their ISP while another can’t even get one. As time goes by, those pools being held by service providers will run out, and there won’t be replacements available. Of course internally this is not a problem at all. You can layer subnet upon subnet within your datacenter, it is only the public IPs that will be in short supply. But with the increase in web-based everything, that’s going to be a problem for you, whether you’re moving to the cloud or just setting up more web servers.
The vast majority of IT shops are not going to have the time and resources – or the desire in many cases – to switch their entire datacenter over to IPv6 in one massive weekend overhaul. If you are one of the shops who does, my hat is off to you, but I’m glad I don’t work for you on that weekend or the week or two that follows! There are going to be issues with old switches (ever notice how a switch that is working is rarely a candidate for refresh, while a server that is working gets put on a list…?), perhaps old hardware, but I suspect most of the hardware that would fall into this category has been virtualized, software (more on that below), and shoddy IPv6 implementations… It’ll be an eventful week or two for you anyway.