[arin-ppml] The non-deployment of IPv6 - The Economic Factor

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at ipinc.net
Fri Dec 11 14:18:17 EST 2009

> John,
> I must agree with your assertion that we have risks not yet considered in
> the systems space.  
> I wear dual hats and so besides running a regional ISP/Data Center, I spun
> off a software company a few years back to focus on a task management and
> workflow application that we had originally built for in-house use.  
> We have a particularly savvy and very high-end customer on that task
> management software (http://www.JobTraQ.com if anyone cares).  They seem NOT
> to be feeling the pinch lately at all.  And thus, because unlike much of the
> world they have extensive free capital and human resources to play with
> right now, they are already running IPV6 dual stack in their test and
> staging environments, in some of their training labs, and on a careful few
> of the developer and business analyst's stations from where same access
> their test and staging system.  They can turn IPv6 off if they find anything
> wrong and need to press on, but it has effectively helped them alert their
> vendors (like us) ahead of some non-desirable moment of crisis.  We only had
> two minor issues, but we were completely blindsided by them both.  One issue
> was that we couldn't handle the longer string in a place where we audited
> and then stored successful (and unsuccessful) logins along with remote users
> IP address.  The other issue was in a security report for displaying the
> same data back to the system administrator.  The things is, it is pretty
> hard to log in if you are trying to save a big old IPv6 address into a field
> with space for only 15 characters as part of that process (since that is
> where the web server goes cross-eyed and begins looking for the corner in a
> round room).  
> Anyway, as a result of this, we have decided to deploy IPv6 on a limited
> scale in the same dual stack modus so that we don't have to experience that
> red faced feeling again.
> With that said, I would like to briefly pontificate on a related topic and
> set it up by first quoting myself:  "... And thus, because unlike much of
> the world they have extensive free capital and human resources to play with
> right now,,..."
> This (*The Economic Factor*) should not be underestimated as one of the more
> significant root causes of IPv6's purported "non-deployment" as discussed
> recently on this list.  Were this 1999, with dot com crazed investors
> drooling out large blobs of cash on demand, then Cisco (and I guess Juniper
> too) would have already had six record quarters as every network tech
> unpacked his new toys and enabled IPv6 just so he could say that he had on
> his resume, etc.  Same applies at the "of course we do" well funded backbone
> providers.  
> See here it is:  One thing that will almost always vault the lowly
> ROI-calculating-tactician into the irrefutable and overarching command
> position above the normally elevated strategist is this... a limited budget.
> "Sounds good, but not today.  We don't have the money."  Conversation over.
> I am so NOT a big government person, that this is almost astounding for me
> to say, but this may be one of those situations where government's aid is
> actually needed.  Unless some entity is able to push down the cost of
> deployment by mandating it upon themselves (fear shudders through me
> britches as I ponder the risks of saying this, and then finding they mandate
> it for me - must be a hypocrite).  In this economy, and without a large
> scale reference case complete with interoperability studies, etc. there is a
> daunting chasm that the capitalists and entrepreneurs are just not ready to
> cross yet in order to get to IPv6.  Their capes are still tattered from the
> current and hopefully waning battles against the dark forces of
> commoditization, economic slumber, and comfort in the current state of "so
> who is out of gas [IPv4}?  My car [ISP] is still moving".
> Make sense?

It does to me.  But to add to the pontificating, don't forget that 20 
years ago the computer industry was a young, hobby market in combination
with a glass tower market - the glass tower types had DoD, Visa and MC,
and the hobby types had everything else.

Today the computer biz is a commodity market and we are watching the
last rattling dying gasps of most of the ivory tower types.  The end of
Sun Microsystems should have proved that to anyone.

The Internet biz is going through much the same thing.

My observation is that the days of the elevated strategist being in the
command position in the computer and Internet biz are over.  This is
what happened to the automotive business a half century ago and we
have been hearing the screams of the elevated strategist types bitching
that the "bean counters" have wrecked and are wrecking 
GM/Chrysler/Olds/Toyota/Ford/etc. ever since.

Of course, the venture capitalists and their elevated strategist cronies
are still out there - and much like the planet of Magrathea faded from
memory after the Galactic Empire collapsed, with it's accountants in
cryogenic state, ready to come out when the economy improved, those
VC's and their puppets will rise again - but it isn't going to ever be
in the computer or Internet business.  It might be somewhere
in the health business, but that market is commodity too.

> I think we have an economic problem here.  How many software vendors are
> going to get blindsided because they don't have a customer like we did to
> test ahead of us?  How many ISP's will slide under the edge of the universe
> when the IPv4 run out crushes them for resources they don't have?  Will they
> turn to the banks to help them capitalize the switchover costs?  Where is
> the ROI?  Are we doing this so that we can access new revenues, (which is
> bankable) or isn't this really just a tad more like the Y2K thing?  Spend,
> spend, spend, stop, do we survive?  Whew, then now we can go back to work
> right?
> I don't have an easy answer to all of this, but thought it should be raised.
> We may as a group need to start asking for some help, or figuring out how to
> at least get a working group up and running that leads vendors rushing in
> hoping to be the first to get the stamp of approval (and thus the ROI of
> being first to announce "ready for IPv6 Interop", or "certified by X", etc).
> Without a powerful economic incentive (sponsor, reference case, marketing
> advantage, etc.) being provided in advance we are assuring the likelihood of
> a painful transition - not at the time of our own choosing.

All that stuff has been tried already, and shot down by the 
ROI-calculating-tacticians.  There is an IPv6 certification already,
vendor outreach has been done.  The problem is the task is just too
big for anyone - which is exactly what happens in a commodity market.

Look at the switchover of the automobile from gas to electric.  We
finally have the battery technology today (LiIon) to build a car that
has the same range as a gas burner.  But it's taking a lot of
work to switch over and there's been some false starts.

> I don't mean to suggest that vendors can't do IPv6 today.  I am suggesting
> that they can't do it well yet, and that as a result nobody wants to be
> first if there is nobody really waiting to reward them for success. 
> I also kind of agree with the "why didn't we just add some octets to IPv4"
> statement, because the greatest capital spend is not on gear, it is on the
> daunting task of becoming organizationally competent at something so very
> different than the last rev.  At the end, we are all bright and capable,
> it's really a resource question.  Can we afford to do this? Critical mass
> has to be generated and all of the incentives will arrive, but the core
> question is how can we create these incentives BEFORE the run-out, and in
> this economy?

The US television industry struggled with that same question on the 
switchover from regular def analog transmission to hi-def digital.  They 
finally threw in the towel and had the government force the issue.

The global automobile industry is struggling with those same questions 
with the gas to electric switchover - and the assumption of control over
GM and Chrysler by the US federal government is going to end up forcing
that issue in the US, and other governments in other countries are
going to force it with their automakers, too.

The ROI-calculating-tacticians, AKA beancounters, aren't going to go
to IPv6 unless forced to.  The best thought I can come up with is that
if enough of us early IPv6 adopters switch, then when crunch comes and
businesses start going under because the beancounters have put off
conversion for too long, then the government won't feel compelled to
start propping them up with tax money.  But I suspect that the opposite
will happen and the governments will end up involved.


> </pontification>
> Best,
> ~Vaughn
> -----Original Message-----
> From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net [mailto:arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net] On
> Behalf Of John Curran
> Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 6:43 PM
> To: Chris Engel
> Cc: arin-ppml at arin.net
> Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] The non-deployment of IPv6
> On Dec 9, 2009, at 4:48 PM, Chris Engel wrote:
>> Well,
>> If the time estimates I've seen put forward here are accurate....and I see
> no reason to assume they wouldn't be.... then it'll be 2-3 years minimum
> before we see anyone out there that can ONLY do IPv6.
> I agree that looks like a lot of time, but there's quite a few assumptions
> in such an estimate and it could move up very quickly.  Additionally, there
> will be an increasing number of clients which will attempt to connect via
> IPv6 *first*, so you actually are impacting your performance if you don't do
> IPv6 soon.
>> In that time frame I'd be looking for the same sort of solution for public
> facing servers in the DMZ as I would for the rest of my network....namely
> some sort of v4 to v6 gateway service that would act as a proxy for my 4
> machines and allow them to communicate with IPv6 hosts.
> Does your present firewall device support IPv6 NAT today?   In discussion
> this situation with other organizations, I'm generally finding that routers,
> firewalls, and load-balancers aren't what are not what breaks, but instead
> their tools such as help-desk system and configuration generators which
> simply don't know IPv6.  Finding these issues is a great reason to
> experiment with at least one public facing IPv6 server sooner rather than
> later.
> /John
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