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IPv6 Q&A with Rackspace

Contributed by Product Managers Rob Jackson and Ed Conzel.

We want to keep our entire customer base as informed as possible about IPv6, so we will be posting Q&As and announcements both here and on the Rackspace IPv6 Deployment & Readiness Headquarters site. From the time we initially started talking about IPv6, to our last roadmap update, we’ve already heard from many of you directly, and your questions are very helpful, so please keep them coming.

Question: How long will Rackspace run IPv4, before transitioning completely to IPv6?

Answer: Offering IPv4 is essential for our customers to connect to IPv4 end-users. Given the worldwide depletion of IPv4, Rackspace is working to sustain our own IPv4 space so that we can continue to provide IPv4 addresses to customers who have technical justification.

In terms of the IPv6 transition, our deployment strategy is to offer dual stack (both IPv4 and IPv6) globally across our data centers starting in mid-June. With this, you’ll need to consider when you would like to be dual-stack, not just IPv6 only. For dual stack, we’re taking care of the data center network and implementing IPv6/dual-stack compliant products and services. However, being dual stack means you’ll probably have to make some changes to your configuration before the IPv6-only date. Though many OS, network and server products introduced in recent years have IPv6 support, many technology segments have lagged behind in terms of IPv6 development. If you haven’t upgraded your firewall, load balancer, operating system or database in several years, you may need to do so for IPv6 compatibility. If you are a Rackspace customer and have questions about your configuration, please contact your account team for more information.

While we are working hard to make sure that our customers have IPv6-compliant options throughout the IT stack, we also encourage everyone to examine your applications for IPv6 compliance. Most common issues with application readiness are related to hard-coded IPv4 addresses.

As an industry, many companies, including Rackspace, are working on and testing translation technologies to make sure that end users can access content regardless of whether they are IPv4 or IPv6. While these technologies come with caveats and have potential for improving, providing translation, like IPv6 to IPv4, will help smooth the transition and allow you to test for IPv6 compatibility and make whatever production changes you need to make, more at your own pace.

Question: Can I host my current site on both IPv4 and IPv6 in tandem in the cloud?

Answer: Cloud Servers will support dual stack later this month. Existing Cloud Server customers wanting dual stack capabilities on current slices will need a migration. As we have more details, we’ll post them on our blog and on the Rackspace IPv6 Deployment & Readiness Headquarters site. In the meantime, you could use a tunnel broker to do some initial IPv6 activities.

Question: Does Rackspace support full IPv6 site hosting?

Answer: There can be many different interpretations of what “full IPv6 hosting” means. The issue at hand is whether existing IPv4 end users and IPv6 end users can get to your web sites. If you run an IPv6-only site, you are cutting off all IPv4 traffic (a vast majority of all end users). To make sure all end users can get to your content or store front, you must be dual stack (both IPv4 and IPv6).

Others may use “full IPv6” to mean “native” IPv6 or IPv6 connectivity, in addition to IPv4 connectivity, without tunneling or translation. Answering in this context, Rackspace will offer the ability to have native dual stack connectivity to customers who request it and are running IPv6-compatible configurations.

For more information, news, and resources on the IPv6 transition, visit the Rackspace IPv6 Deployment & Readiness Headquarters. If you have specific questions, contact your support team or account rep. You can also send an email to ipv6@rackspace.com.

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About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Angela Bartels.


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