[arin-ppml] How hard is it to transition to IPv6?

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Tue Mar 31 04:26:31 EDT 2009

> Almost always, issuing a simple ultimatim is 
> counterproductive. 

Agreed. If you are going to give a supplier an ultimatum
about IPv6 it has to be realistic. For instance you might
refuse to sign a multiyear contract and only sign a one
year renewal with the caveat that if IPv6 support is not
clearly on the cards by the following year, there will 
not be another renewal.

You have to be realistic about the effort that a vendor
has to make and about the timelines for v4 runout which
are still about two years away. Today, if you want to
be tough, demand that they have IPv6 on their roadmap 
with full availability targeted two years from now, and
put it in your contract that they provide quarterly reports
on progress towards IPv6 availability. This would work with
vendors of DSL gateway devices, with firewall vendors who
you pay for support contracts, or with upstream ISPs.

> When pushed, large companies look at everything from a 
> cost/benefit ratio.

Some companies will go down the road of tactical thinking
where all decisions are made based on immediate profitability.
Those companies are likely to back themselves into a corner
when IPv6 bursts onto the scene. Even if there is a profitable
business to be made mopping up all the IPv4 diehard customers
from other ISPs, it will be difficult to get the supply of IPv4
addresses needed to do this.

> Even the US Government, which you wouild think is the 600 
> pound gorilla on this, discovered that.  They mandated IPv6 
> for last year - and still a lot of their vendors weren't in 
> compliance by the deadline.  Some likely still aren't.  I'm 
> sure all are working on it, though.

The USG didn't make a realistic demand. They just drew a line
in the sand without any relation to IPv6 transition plans of
their agencies.

> But, for most other people, I think just being persistent and 
> continuing to bother your vendors, asking for it, would 
> eventually work.  After all, vendors know they have to switch 
> over to it eventually and I think all the large ones are 
> working on it.

It could eventually work but it depends on how you communicate 
it to the vendor. You want to make it clear that there is a 
timeline, that you yourself are deploying according to a timeline
and that you want the vendor to commit to also develop to that
timeline. In the past, people just put it as an RFP requirement
without any dialog to back it up, and vendors got used to
ignoring it.

--Michael Dillon

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