Jun 7, 2011

Why IPv6 matters for the cloud

Ansley Kilgore

Why IPv6 matters for the cloudAs a hosting and cloud services provider, we’ve been tooling our systems, network and provisioning and management platforms for IPv6 support years.  Adam Rothschild, our VP of Network Architecture, has been at the forefront of the ISP and network operators communities sharing configurations, developing practical multi-tenant strategies and gathering real-world data. Voxel now proudly supports full “dual-stack” (both IPv4 and IPv6) deployments on all of its hosting services, including our virtual compute service, VoxCLOUD , and our bare metal VoxSERVER platform.

However, what’s really missing in the land of IPv6 right now is real-world deployment practice at service-provider scale.  Hosting companies, backbone providers, CDN’s and content owners/websites all need to work together to make current IPv4 networks and related services actually perform in an IPv6 environment. To that end, Voxel has been an active participant in World IPv6 Day, which is tomorrow, June 8th, 2011. The goal of this “Test Flight Day” is to motivate organizations across the spectrum to prepare their services for IPv6 and help move along the transition from IPv4 as the address space runs out.

To find out more about World IPv6 Day, please visit the Internet Society website at https://www.worldipv6day.org/.

So What’s With IPv6 on The Cloud?

The explosion in applications, data, traditional IT services and more has only accelerated the exhaustion of IPv4 address space. However, moving an application or service to the cloud is also a great time to plan for IPv6 support. Most end users or application developers adjust or even replace their application when moving from a traditional IT environment to a cloud, where they can take advantage of things like instant provisioning, horizontal scalability, or mulitple geographic locations. Ensuring that your application and underlying cloud provider is ready for IPv6, is critical to any deployment. A few points to check with your provider on are:

  • Is their cloud dual stack capable? Can it route both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses?
  • Are there any specific limitations when using IPv6 address space, such as tunnels, which can slow down throughput or make your hosts harder to configure?
  • Is there a lack of feature parity on such add-ons as load balancing, IP portability, or logging?
  • What does the provider’s IPv6 network connectivity look like? Transit and peering will be completely different from an IPv4 network, so it’s key to remember that.
  • Are any solutions offered that make transitioning to IPv6 easier?

What Does the IPv6 Internet Look Like Today?

With tomorrow’s World IPv6 Day, we’re looking forward to getting a significant amount of real-world data from our backbone, peering relationships and end-user content websites. We’ll make sure to keep you posted on what worked, what didn’t and how things are looking for an IPv6 only future.

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Ansley Kilgore

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