If any part of your business relies on the Internet, you need to prepare for the IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) transition. An Internet protocol address is what networks, computers, and other connected devices use to communicate over the Internet. For example, when you type in a web address, the network is actually talking to other networks using a unique, numerical IP address; turning rackspace.com into the unique IP address, 184.108.40.206.
Today, IPv4 is the dominant protocol in use, responsible for over 4 billion unique addresses since the 80s. December 2010 marked the official depletion of IPv4’s pool of free addresses, leaving only pockets of pre-allocated blocks. Its replacement, IPv6, represents a new addressing system capable of creating a pool of around 340 undecillion addresses. With so many addresses, it’s not likely we’ll run out anytime soon. However, transition represents an industry-wide challenge to upgrade systems to run on the IPv6 protocol. Rackspace is already preparing for the transition and wants to make sure you have the information you need to develop an IPv6 action plan.
Why Should You Care About the IPv6 Transition?
The challenge is that IPv6 addresses aren’t compatible with IPv4 addresses. That means if you don’t take the necessary to steps to upgrade, you may eventually experience:
• Inability to deliver your IPv4 content or application to IPv6 users
• Inability to access Internet-based applications, like chat and SaaS apps
• Inability to launch new websites
What is Rackspace Doing to Prepare?
Because our customers rely on our Internet connectivity, Rackspace has been putting measures in place to provide guidance and ease the transition for our customers. Activities include:
• Upgrading our product offerings, website, and customer portals to IPv6 standards
• Helping customers upgrade their Rackspace environments to IPv6, so that both IPv4 and IPv6 will work alongside each other
• Implementing transition mechanisms to allow communication between IPv6 and IPv4 systems, to enable IPv6 end users to reach IPv4 host that are not ready to upgrade yet.
Are You Ready for IPv6?
Begin evaluating your Internet-dependent assets and formulating your own IPv6-readiness plan. Here are three areas to start with:
• Construct a list of vendor dependencies for your computing environments and confirm that they are IPv6 ready
• Review the software applications on your websites for IPv6 compatibility and adjust as needed
• Assess your configuration for any hard-coded IPv4 addresses and formulate a plan to replace
From these activities, you can start building a list of required actions and blocking out timeframes for the tasks you’ll need to perform to get IPv6 ready.
If you have specific IPv6-related questions, Rackspace customers can contact their Account Manager or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
General IPv6 Information: www.ipv6.com
IPv6 Day: isoc.org/wp/worldipv6day/
IPv4 IANA Free Pool Depletion FAQ: https://www.arin.net/knowledge/v4-v6.html
IPV4 Depletion Report: www.potaroo.net/tools/ipv4/
Rackspace IPv6 Deployment & Readiness Headquarters:
What is IPv6?
IPv6, or Internet Protocol version 6, is the next generation protocol for the internet. Its addresses are 128 bits in length and arranged in eight groups delimited with a colon. Each group represents 16-bits and is written in hexadecimal. Valid hexadecimal digits are 0-9 and A-F.
What does an IPv6 address look like?
There are three ways that an IPv6 address can be written: in complete text form, compressed form, and mixed form.
The complete text form of an IPv6 address reads as follows: 2001:0DB8:0905:0000:0000:0000:DFFC:5466
The compressed form, a text version that condenses the zeros and replaces them with a double colon, reads as follows (using the previous example above): 2001:DB8:905::DFFC:5466.
(Special conditions: The double-colon can only appear once per address.)
The mixed form, a text version of an IPv6 address that includes an IPv4 address in the last 32 bits, reads as follows: 2001:0DB8:0905::172.16.35.1
What is IANA?
IANA, or the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, is responsible for the global coordination of DNS Root, IP addressing and other Internet protocol resources. IANA distributes IP addresses to five regional internet registries worldwide.
When will IANA run out of IPv4 addresses?
A4: IANA ran out of IPv4 addresses on February 3rd 2011.
What will happen once IANA runs out of addresses?
After IANA runs out, the five regional registries will begin to run out, as companies like Rackspace and other Internet Service Providers request more IPv4 addresses. After the regional registries run out, it will be up to Rackspace to preserve our own previously assigned IPv4 space.
From whom does Rackspace get IP addresses?
Rackspace gets IP addresses from three regional registries: ARIN, the registry for North America; RIPE NCC, the registry for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Central Asia); and APNIC, the registry for Asia/Pacific.
When is Rackspace going to run out of IPv4 addresses?
It is important that Rackspace never runs out of IPv4 addresses. Our goal is to maintain IPv4 space for customers who need IPv4 addresses, until internet users around the globe transition to IPv6. Eventually, IPv6 will become the dominant protocol globally. Until then, Rackspace will have to manage both IPv4 and IPv6 for customers.
What is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?
There are some major differences between IPv4 and IPv6. So, our allocation, management and network configurations will be different.
|Source and destination addresses are 32 bits (4 bytes) in length.||Source and destination addresses are 128 bits (16 bytes) in length.|
|IPSec support is optional.||IPSec support is required.|
|IPv4 header does not identify packet flow for QoS handling by routers.||IPv6 header contains Flow Label field, which identifies flow for QoS handling by router.|
|Both routers and sending host fragment packets.||Only the sending host fragments packets; routers do not.|
|Header includes checksum.||Header does not include checksum.|
|Header includes options.||
All optional data is moved to IPv6 extension headers.
|Address Resolution Protocal (ARP) uses broadcast ARP Request frames to resolve an IP addess to a link layer address.||Multicast Neighbour Solicitation messages resolve IP addresses lo link-layer addresses.|
|Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)manages membership subnet local groups||ICMPv6 Router Solicitation and Router Advertisement messages are used to determine the IP address of the best default gateway, and they are required.|
|ICMP Router Discovery is used to determine the IPv4 address of the best default gateway, and it is not optional||IPv6 uses a link-local scope all-nodes multicast address.|
|Broadcast addresses are used to send traffic to all nodes on a subnet.||IPv6 uses a link-local all-nodes multicast address.|
|Must be configured either manually or through DHCP.||Does not require manual configuration or DHCP.|
|Uses host address (A) resource records in Domian Name System (DNS) to map host namesto IPV4 addresses.||Uses host address (AAAA) resources records in DNS to map host names to IPv6 addresses.|
|Uses pointer (PTR) resource records in the IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv4 addresses to host names.||Uses pointer (PTR) resource records in the IP6.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv6 addresses to host names.|
|Must support a 576-byte packet size(possibly fragmented).||Must support 1280-byte packet size (without fragmentation).|