On June 8th, hundreds of enterprises and service providers participated in a 24-hour, large-scale “test flight” of IPv6 technology. The event was coined as World IPv6 Day, and was organized by the Internet Society. The purpose of the event was to energize, educate and motivate organizations across the IT and communications industry to prepare their services for IPv6 to enable a successful migration as IPv4 addresses begin running out.
Although much of the current focus on the migration to IPv6 is around the nuts and bolts of making external facing services such as DNS work cleanly in a hybrid world, as well as the use of IP addresses to interconnect distributed server, storage and network elements, organizations need to also be thinking about internal controls, management systems and frameworks as part of the transition.
A critical part of transitioning to IPv6 technology involves ensuring that the right network monitoring software systems are in place to assure the performance of complex networks, data centers and cloud infrastructures. For MSPs that deliver services that may be tied to customer-owned or remote IT infrastructure, the preparation to deal with a hybrid IPv4 and IPv6 world has to be done much more proactively. In some cases, MSP services may extend back into managing enterprise data center components and applications, which could be using different IP versions. If the MSP is on the hook to deliver against agreed to SLAs or performance levels, then it needs to have clear visibility into the health and performance of the entire IT infrastructure that is part of its scope of coverage.
Your Strategy and Opportunity
It is time to start taking steps to trial and implement network and IT monitoring software systems that can seamlessly monitor IPv6 and IPv4 servers and network devices in a hybrid environment. Given that hybrid environments will coexist for a while, these monitoring solutions will enable organizations to uniformly discover and provision IPv6 devices, and collect and analyze performance data, all within one integrated system that supports IPv4 devices as well.
Users can ignore the intricacies of managing different types of devices, and are able to benefit from a unified management and operational view of their entire IT infrastructure. Being able to capture performance metrics from the full IT and cloud infrastructure, and then correlating the data and linking this to supported business services is critical to ensure the effective delivery of services and assure business operations in the new dynamic environment. These systems address this need by providing a service-oriented, end-to-end, performance view, whether IPv6 based or otherwise.
I recently asked a service provider where they were in their overall strategy for migrating to IPv6. Although they are waiting for customer demand to pick to make firm operational commitments, they have started testing a variety of internal IPv6 configurations, including the monitoring and management aspects. Although you may be taking tentative steps towards embracing IPv6 infrastructure, being prepared in advance by having the management tools in place will ease the process as you make the transition from an all IPv4 to a hybrid to a fully converted environment.