ARIN has announced their free IPv4 pool is depleted. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying even mild attention to IPv6. But a large number of enterprises, federal, state and local agencies along with small business have not been paying attention to IPv6 at all, so let’s catch you up to speed.
If you are in the “this is news to me!” camp, you might be wondering what impact this will have on the future of the Internet and your business. The good news is that there have been many people working very hard over the last decade (even longer technically) pushing IPv6 forward. The bad news is the adoption rate has not been what the IPv6 community would have liked to have seen at this point. This leaves us in an awkward position. The Internet is moving from IPv4 to IPv6 (at least in terms of networking protocols – there are other things happening like DNSSEC too) and it is time to talk about how to manage this transition for the good of all of us.
So what do you have to do? Likely there are three primary things you MUST do and a few others that are optional. The three are:
- Learn IPv6
- Design and Plan for IPv6
- Deploy IPv6
Optionally items really just break these 3 things down into more granular topics but these cover the big ticket tasks. One that rarely gets discussed is that you also need to plan for a day when we are doing IPv6 only, but I think you can defer that for a little bit of time to get going on IPv6 first.
The logical first set of questions everyone asks is, “How long do I have before I have to start moving on IPv6?” and “With ARIN running out, what REAL impact does that have on me and my business?”
If you are a service provider and you have not learned, designed, and planned IPv6 and are not in the deployment stage you are very behind the curve and likely have put your business in jeopardy. If you are doing business with one of these service providers, it is time to start looking for alternate providers. Do not let their lack of planning negatively impact your business!
If you are an enterprise that does business with ARIN for IPv4 address space you are too late to get more from ARIN directly. There is policy outlining the transfer market allowing companies to purchase (at market rate) IPv4 addresses. Scott Hogg has written a great article covering that in detail so I recommend reading that to get a good idea what your options are around obtaining IPv4 address space.
If you are a small or medium sized business then you are likely already getting your public IPv4 address space from your service provider. Most service providers have a reserved pool of IPv4 they can allocate out but you will need to complete justification forms. The projections vary widely on how long each service provider’s address pool will last, basically because no one really knows all the information to make an informed estimate. So, in summary, your mileage will vary depending on your service provider. My short recommendation is to ask early if you anticipate needing more IPv4 address space, you might not get the chance later.
If you are in the federal, state or local market then you are likely supported by an agency that runs and controls your public IPv4 address space for you in some way. You need to reach out to that agency and ask what your options are for IPv4 address space and what criteria they are using to allocate out the public IPv4 address space they do have left in inventory.
Finally, if you are a born in the cloud company or one that leverages cloud services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure then you are dependent on the planning and resources of those cloud providers. You should be asking tough questions of both companies around how long their inventory IPv4 pool will last and their planned IPv6 deployment schedules. I’m not aware of either company sharing publicly their IPv4 inventory and burn rate of addresses nor their current status on IPv6 adoption. I think a lot of IPv6 industry folks would be very interested to learn both pieces of data.
I have written a series of posts starting with “The first steps in IPv6 adoption – having a plan” and then a post for each of the steps in that plan. I think it is a good place to start understanding what you will need to do to tackle getting IPv6 done. Tom Coffeen with Infoblox just lauched the 6map tool to help you with IPv6 address planning, that is also a great resource.
The ARIN IPv4 depletion event is the opportunity to talk to your management and technical teams about IPv6. It sets the tone and helps provide some of the motivation to get an IPv6 adopt plan moving forward. Remember, you can only advance if you adopt and use newer technology. This event is a reminder, everything eventually becomes a constraint or some sort of technical debt. IPv4 has now moved into the category of a constraint and the lack of IPv6 support is technical debt. Adopt IPv6 and you address both!
IPv6 is the future and the future is now!