Here at the CoE we’re always keeping an eye out for any good information or viewpoints on the best ways to accomplish IPv6 adoption, especially for enterprises. That’s why I was excited — well, perhaps excited is too strong a word. Let’s say I was encouraged to see the IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force) weigh in again on enterprise IPv6 adoption.
For those that don’t know, the IETF is “a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.” The IETF has been responsible for a great deal of the hardest part of any engineering work: agreeing on the problems to be solved and finding a path forward that works for a variety of constituencies that have unique as well as common requirements. It’s not hyperbole to observe that the incredible growth of the Internet could not have happened without the tireless effort of the IETF. Along the way, their motto has been “rough consensus and running code” and the standards and RFCs that are a direct product of the IETF shape the world that we professional network folk live in.
The IETF however is not without its critics. Typical complaints revolve around the rate at which rough consensus and running code can be accomplished. Beyond the decentralized cat-herding required, layer 8 of the OSI model tends to intervene as well. Politics may not be beanbag, as the saying goes, but the arguments on the path to the standards we all rely on, while spirited (and sometimes seemingly endless), have resolved into a staggering body of work, much of which is continuously relied on to facilitate the growth of the Internet. Who says you can’t build an elephant by committee?
Over the years a common complaint directed against the IETF is not enough deference to the operational concerns of network administrators. Having spent much of my professional life in the trenches of keeping production networks, well, in production, I can certainly sympathize with this view. Another criticism is that service providers can be over-represented at the IETF (either in terms of numbers or influence).
That’s why when the IETF produces content aimed specifically at enterprise network administrators it should be both celebrated and scrutinized. Finalized in February of this year, the draft Enterprise IPv6 Deployment Guidelines appeared on the radar for us (thanks to the tireless participation of my colleague Paul Ebersman) at the last IETF meeting in Orlando, Florida in March. There’s much that’s worthwhile in the document and it’s gratifying to see many of the same IPv6 adoption arguments and tasks that the Infoblox CoE has made the case for over the last two years given the imprimatur of the IETF.
I’ll be selecting some topics from the document to highlight and discuss in future blog posts but for now, if you’re blessed with an enterprise network to manage as well as adopt IPv6 on, give the draft the once-over and check back here soon.