IPv6 - Rackspace Roadmap Update

There have been some exciting developments in the Internet industry since our previous IPv6 blog post, and this post will highlight some of those developments as well as provide you with an update on where Rackspace is at with preparation.

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Pool Exhaustion

The most significant industry announcement recently was the official exhaustion of IANA’s IPv4 Free Addresses Pool. This was announced by the Number Resource Organisation (NRO) on February 3rd, and represents a major milestone in the Internet industry that cannot be ignored.

You can find the press release on NRO’s website as well as view the recorded transfer ceremony of the final IPv4 blocks.

Why does this mark such an important milestone for the Internet industry?

First off, the turning point of being depleted spurs a sense of urgency for companies to take IPv6 deployment seriously. It becomes much more ‘real’ now that there are zero free allocations from IANA.

In addition to the urgency factor, the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) now have their final allocations. This triggers policy adjustments for downstream allocations to organisations, such as Rackspace and your Internet access provider. As an example, the ARIN (the registry for North America/US) policy triggers can be found on their IPv4 IANA Free Pool Depletion FAQ page. These policy updates are the final efforts to slow down the deployment of IPv4, as we near the end of this finite resource that has served us well. The solution has been with us for quite some time – IPv6 (of course!).

We at Rackspace will also be modifying some of our IPv4 allocation policies as everyone is starting to batten down the hatches on IPv4. More information about this will be communicated shortly.

Industry Reactions

The industry will now begin to experience the introduction of complicated and disruptive technology adjustments in an attempt to squeeze out even more life from IPv4; while IPv6 transition plans are in progress. Although these technologies have noble and powerful sounding names like Carrier-Grade NAT (CGN) or Large Scale NAT (LSN), they can potentially be highly disruptive to IPv4 Internet operations.

It is important to note that while these technologies are potentially disruptive, the industry does not have much of a choice and needs to use them to help with the transition.

Rackspace will be deploying some of these technologies in order to assist our customer base with ubiquitous access to the IPv4 and IPv6 Internets (they function independently from each other unless you use a transition technology). These technologies will be around for transition only and will have some caveats.

Jeff Doyle, author of several ‘standard reading’ books for us network engineering folks, wrote a great article on CGN/LSNs.

World IPv6 Day

When people ask, “What is the ‘killer app’ for IPv6?” I usually answer either ‘business continuity’ or ‘survival’.

Long-term sustainable Internet growth requires IPv6. With this goal the industry is preparing for a massive jolt of IPv6 deployment testing and confidence. World IPv6 Day is being put together by the Internet Society (ISOC) and includes several industry powerhouses.

To learn more about the World IPv6 Day, you can visit the ISOC World IPv6 Day portal.

Rackspace is pleased to be participating in this event as both content and an infrastructure provider. We will be supplying more information on what specific Rackspace products will be IPv6-enabled shortly.

Rackspace IPv6 Roadmap Progress

At Rackspace, we continue to work on our IPv6 roadmap, which includes everything from hardware and software upgrades, staff training, and customer interaction events. Everyone here at Rackspace is very excited about IPv6 and the opportunity to help our customers during this time. For additional guidance concerning IPv6, watch our video:

How Rackspace is Preparing for IPv6 from Rackspace on Vimeo.

As our deployments gain ground, in addition to the video, we will also be revealing a dedicated site that you can visit to find out more information about IPv6 specifically and our readiness progress.

Contact Information

Rackspace is here to help you navigate through this transition. Please continue to check back here for IPv6 information and progress. You will also receive information from the Rackspace customer portal on upcoming maintenance windows for your environments.

If you have further questions, you can always drop a note to the Rackspace IPv6 Task Force at mailto:ipv6@rackspace.com, or submit a support ticket via your normal Rackspace channels. Remember that you are not alone and we will be happy to help separate some of the fears from the facts that are making the rounds in some press circles.

Our next IPv6 blog post will start to take a deeper dive into what you as the customer should be concerned about and preparing for. Please continue to check back!