The Future Is Now

IPv6 is shaping the future of communication and enabling the latest datacenter trends, including data consolidation and virtualization, which make it possible for data to live anywhere and be continually accessible.

Once all of your data resources and applications are consolidated, they can be centrally managed, monitored and better utilized across your entire organization.

The path to data consolidation is through virtualization, which allows multiple applications to share a platform and resources without interfering with each other on the network. How do you enable and support these cutting-edge approaches to data and application management? You guessed it: IPv6.

Those Crazy Kids

Watch out Baby Boomers: The next generation is on its way into the federal workforce. And if you don’t think it’s vital to transition to IPv6, check out how teenagers are communicating today. They have multiple mobile devices, love lifestyle and Web 2.0 technologies, and rely on presence-based technologies like Instant Messaging to get through the day. As these individuals move into the workforce and federal marketplace, IT planners, enterprise designers and architects must prepare to support an always-online mentality and lifestyle. To attract and retain future employees, we’ll have to match the functionality “those crazy kids” are used to at home. The surefire way to deliver that rich user experience is via IPv6.

The World is Flat!

Maybe the folks that said Christopher Columbus was headed for trouble when he set out for the New World weren’t so crazy after all!

Today, the world is FLAT, thanks to Internet technologies that give us the ability to communicate to anyone, anywhere at any time. There is a growing need for broad communications across the Globe, and IPv6 is paving the way to technology enhancements that enable Internet expansion, new capabilities, and new aspects of mobility communication and collaboration we’ve never seen before.

Who knew there were so many forward-thinkers way back in 1492? They were simply anticipating the benefits of IPv6.

Horizontal Integration Poster Child

In many cases, IPv6 transition may be as simple as turning it on in networks and enabling it in application code. IPv6 is the horizontal integration poster child. It impacts, at some point, every user, every network element, and every application (existing or new) across the global communications domain.

It is important for all network managers to act now to access their IPv6 readiness and take the necessary steps to migrate their networks to enable new services and capabilities like Web 2.0 content mash-ups, ubiquitous access, predictive healthcare, advanced warfighter capabilities and anywhere/anytime nomadic mobility leading to presence-based, self forming networks.

IPv6 in Solaris 10

Solaris has had IPv6 capabilities since Solaris 8. In Solaris 10, Sun has what it calls a complete IPv6 implementation. Much of the thrust of the new parts of the implementation is to provide a migration path from IPv4 and to use the IPv4 infrastructure. One cool thing in this space is 6to4 automatic tunnels. 6to4 tunnels use a system’s IPv4 address to create a 6to4 IPv6 prefix, made up of 2002:a.b.c.d. Well, here’s an example:

  • IPv4 address: 10.1.2.3
  • IPv6 prefix: 2002:a01:0203::/64

If you set up a Solaris host on your network or networks as a 6to4 gateway, the other IPv6 hosts on those networks can communicate using IPv6 traveling over IPv4. Sun has a pilot of this and it works quite well. More information can be found at http://docs.oracle.com/en/.

340 Undecillion Soccer Balls!

One of the most significant features of IPv6 is the vast number of available address it has to offer. The 128-bit addressing approach the designers of IPv6 created offers over

340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses.

A Google search reveals a number of entries that attempt to describe the enormity of this address space. An often quoted factoid is that IPv6 could provide each and every square micrometer of the earth’s surface with 5,000 unique addresses. What’s a micrometer? About one tenth the diameter of a droplet of fog!

For those of you who are soccer enthusiasts and avid fans of Brian Greene’s, “The Elegant Universe,” think about lining up 340 undecillion (or 340 sextillion as the British say) soccer balls end-to-end to see where in the Universe that would take us.

Would those soccer balls (or footballs as the rest of the world say) encircle the earth? Extend from here to the Moon? To the Sun? To Alpha Centauri, Earth’s 2nd closest star 4 light years away?

Would all of those black and white dodecahedrons stretch across the Milky Way? Would they extend to the center of the Universe itself?

In fact, 340 undecillion soccer balls would stretch across the circumference of the entire known universe! And, get this, the string of soccer balls would actually wrap around our universe nearly 200 billion times!

The IPv6 Address space is indeed a vast number. Most importantly, it frees network designers and application developers from the burden of managing a scarce supply of addresses. It opens up the possibility of extending the internet’s reach to all types of new devices, appliances, sensors, you name it…if it has electronics, it can have its own unique address.

Feel free to check our math and let us know if it all adds up. If you have other interesting factoids on IPv6 drop us an email.