How many times have travelers been annoyed to hear the sanctimonious words of flight attendants reminding us how to use a seat belt? Rather than a simple “please fasten your seat belt,” the FAA and airlines insist on giving a detailed example of how to insert the tip into the seatbelt latch and pull the excess fabric to tighten the belt.
Apparently there are still people in the world who have never fastened a seat belt in their lives, and need instruction on how to operate the belt. In California we are bombarded daily with “Click it or Ticket” billboards and radio campaigns reminding us the “police are on the lookout” for those who are not wearing seatbelts, talking on cell phones while driving, texting while driving, and driving after consuming massive amounts of drugs or alcohol.
Everybody knows right from wrong, and what is a violation. However the message is still thrown in the face of every person hitting the roads or commercial airlines as if it is a revelation.
“IPv4 is Facing Exhaustion – Move to IPv6,” repeat message
OK, the same message has been pushed forth into the Internet community for more than 10 years. Everybody who has been through a basic indoctrination of the internet knows that this IPv6-thingy is important, will impact our lives, and is not going to fade away any time soon.
And just like the message on wearing seatbelts and not texting while driving, most of the Internet community still has not accepted the fact if they violate the law (or ignore the message of IPv4 exhaustion), they will either get a professional ticket, or at a worst case go sailing through their Internet windshield (“windscreen” for any Englanders in the audience) and end up in a bloody connectivity pulp.
NANOG 49 is getting ready to kick off their summer meeting in San Francisco, has a whopping 3 named sessions out of around 40 dedicated to the IPv6 topic. One is the obligatory Google presentation reminding everybody how smart they are, and the other two are fairly important topics giving an IPv6 adoption update from Renesys, and a discussion from Comcast on driving IPv6 into the home through the cable TV network.
Of course Hurricane Electric and the patron saint of IPv6 evangelism, Martin Levy, will be hanging around the halls providing thought leadership. Of note, Hurricane Electric is one of the few companies actually engaged in bringing the IPv6 message to the public, with one kind of cool tool called their IPv6 Certification process. This is a semi-serious, semi-fun Pre-IPv6 101 course intended to stimulate users to think more about IPv6 and accept the undeniable fact it is an important part of our future.
But the NANOG Crowd is Not the Audience
NANOG (the North American Network Operators Group) meets three times a year. In the early days, much like Internet Society meetings, it was a place for engineers and thought leaders to indulge in a fellowship of mindshare and development. There is still a glimmer of cooperation and desire for many of the old timers to lead masses through complicated development of the Internet and Internet deployments, however much like the “Inet” conferences of the past, it is now spoken more in terms of parties and sales opportunities than creating the next generation of Internet.
Sure, somebody will probably pull the plug on IPv4 wireless access at some point during the conference to show not only how clever they are, but also that Microsoft XP still does not eloquently handle IPv6 on demand – however the message is not necessarily getting to the people who need to know how to fasten their IPv6 seatbelt.
Those networks, and people at NANOG representing those networks, who have not already adopted IPv6 will soon succumb to natural selection. American companies such as Verizon have quietly rebuilt their networks to accommodate IPv6, and in fact are wiring everything in their network to further accommodate providing an IPv6 address to everything they touch. Power companies are implementing IPv6 in the smart grid architectures being deployed – and eventually everything down to your refrigerator will be IPv6-enabled. Some smart people are out there.
The IPv6 thought leadership audience has to be the remaining IT managers in every enterprise in the United States (and of course around the rest of the world…), application developers, all the internet access network providers – basically everybody in the Internet “food chain” up to the end user.
No, I do not want my 80 year old mother being responsible for understanding IPv6 address allocation and management. I want the Internet and Internet applications to be just as transparent to her in the future as it is today. She wants to see my Yorkie over Skype without understanding the network infrastructure bringing her the image – and most of the user world deserves the same insulation from the ones and zeros of network technology.
The 500 people attending a NANOG are a very small audience, and an audience that is just as callous to the topic as I am to an airline safety demonstration, and will not be the audience getting the best use of IPv6 presentations and thought leadership.
IPv4 Depletion is Just as Devastating as the Gulf Oil Spill
ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, and the group responsible for managing IPv4 address space in North America, continues to remind us:
“With less than 10% of IPv4 address space remaining, organizations must adopt IPv6 to support applications that require ongoing availability of contiguous IP addresses. Internet Protocol defines how computers communicate over a network. IP version 4 (IPv4), the currently prevalent version, contains just over four billion unique IP addresses. IPv6 is a newer numbering system that provides a much larger address pool than IPv4, among other features.”
10% is a very small number.
As the IPv4 address space is further depleted, and if companies and organizations have never prepared their networks for IPv6, the result for American companies will not be pretty. Unable to collaborate on an application level with their peers around the world (yes, as you might expect, those pesky Europeans and Asians are doing everything possible to take a leadership role in front of the Americans with IPv6 – or maybe they are just more fearful of the potential impact of running short on IPv4 address space), American companies will suffer.
All manufacturing machinery will be network-enabled (yes, with IPv6 addresses), ERP, CRM, OSS, BSS – basically everything we build and sell stuff with, requires IPv6.
Good luck Martin Levy. Americans need you to continue spreading the word. Not only blasting it through a loudspeaker, but in the creative manner provided by Hurricane Electric’s IPv6 Academy and Certification process. Fun, but serious.
Us IT guys have a lot of work to do in the next couple years. IPv6, building the 4th Utility, developing cloud exchanges, developing greener data centers. Yes, it is a good time for Information and Communications Technology professionals.
This is the third part in an interview series with Martin Levy, Director of IPv6 Strategy at Hurricane Electric. In this segment Martin discusses the future of Hurricane Electric, IPv6, bandwidth, and global Internet development.
Pacific-Tier: Can you cite one defining moment that really makes Hurricane Electric stand out as a company within the Internet industry?
Martin Levy: There are a couple of different moments.
From an internal operations point of view the company was able to migrate to a new IP backbone about four years ago. That took us from the pre-IPv6 native mode, into pure IPv6. That fundamental point done well in advance of a lot of other companies.
It may well have gone unnoticed in the industry (at the time). But it is not unnoticed at this time.
We have taken that base, taken that moment and have been able to run this extremely stable, and extremely reliable IP backbone for v4 (IPv4) and v6 (IPv6) support.
So you go back to that point in time, and you (think) of having a ceremony and a toast at that point. As quiet as it was, and a very engineering moment as it was, it really redefined Hurricane Electric. That was an event really about four years ago.
The second one is a totally different measure. The second one which will be talked about at just an anonymous level for obvious reasons was when we brought in our first core v6 customer at a major wholesale level, and the details are (they were) a much larger company (than Hurricane Electric).
We were able to do that because the customer requirement was v6. The customer purchase was for v4, paying 99% of the bill, v6 maybe 1% of the bill. That’s the reality. We have no way of saying v6, from a bandwidth point of view is a massive issue at the moment.
But when that occurred, that was the moment that we knew it wasn’t at the bandwidth levels v6 was operating at, it wasn’t about the number of eyeballs that were enabled, or the number of servers, it was about the fact the enterprise and the wholesale market had realized why v6 was so important.
When that event occurred, which is now a couple of years ago, we knew that we had the right product at the right time for the marketplace. And the test of time has proven that since then.
Pacific-Tier: One final question. Anything you would like to share with us about Hurricane’s vision for the future, or where Hurricane may be going this year, next year, or after?
Martin Levy: We have a plate full!
We have expansion in Europe. We have additional bandwidth into Asia, because there is nothing slowing down in Asia whatsoever.
We have a new data center that we’ve opened in California, a new phase of a data center we’ve opened in California about two or three months ago. And it is quickly filling up.
So I would say it is growth in most measurable directions. The geography is an obvious one. We are looking as we did last year at additional cities in Europe – that’s an ongoing project. In Asia it’s more about more bandwidth into the same cities, and on the network we are just looking at more and more customers who take v6 seriously and are looking for a provider that has that solution at hand without it being a special.
Pacific-Tier: Any final points?
Martin Levy: This Internet thing – it may catch on!
Its not that we are going to see a new Internet. It’s that we are going to see with v6 an Internet that has truly matured, and we’re going to see even more accelerated growth. Whether it be within the mobile wireless world, or other worlds, we’re going to see enormous growth.
If we have this interview again in five years we are going to laugh at how little bandwidth was available in 2010. And we are just going to blow the roof off bandwidth-wise.
Pacific-Tier: Thank you for your great counsel!
Previous segments of Martin’s Interview:
A cloud spot market allows commercial cloud service providers the ability to announce surplus or idle processing and storage capacity to a cloud exchange. The exchange allows buyers to locate available cloud processing capacity, negotiate prices (within milliseconds), and deliver the commodity to customers on-demand.
Cloud processing and storage spot markets can be privately operated, controlled by industry organizations, or potentially government agencies. Spot markets frequently attract speculators, as cloud capacity prices are known to the public immediately as transactions occur.
The 2010 cloud spot market allows commercial cloud service providers to support both franchise (dedicated service level agreement) customers, as well as on-demand customers to participate in a spot market that allows customers to automatically move their applications and storage to providers offering the best pricing and service levels based on a pre-defined criteria.
I don’t really care who’s CPUs and disk I am using, I really only care that it is there when I want it, offers adequate performance, has proximity to my end users, and meets my pricing expectations.
Cloud Storage Using SSDs on the Layer 2 Switch
Content delivery networks/CDNs want to provide end users the best possible performance and quality – often delivering high volume video or data files. Traditionally CDNs build large storage arrays and processing systems within data centers, preferably adjacent to either a carrier hotel meet-me-room or Internet Exchange Point/IXP.
Sometimes supported by bundles of 10Gigabit ports connecting their storage to networks and the IXP.
Lots of recent discussion on topics such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet/FCoE and Fiber Channel over IP/FCoIP. Not good enough. I want the SSD manufacturers and the switch manufacturers to produce an SSD card with a form factor that fits into a slot on existing Layer 2 switches. I want a Petabyte of storage directly connected to the switch backplane allowing unlimited data transfer rates from the storage card to network ports.
Now a cloud storage provider does not have to buy 50 cabinets packed with SAN/NAS systems in the public data center, only slots in the switch.
3tera got the ball rolling with IPv6 support in AppLogic. No more excuses. IPv6 support first, then add on IPv4 support as a failover to IPv6. The basic criteria to all other design issues. No IPv6 – then shred the design.
Once again the world is being held hostage by equipment and software vendors posturing to make their product the industry standard. The user community is not happy. We want spot markets, the ability to migrate among cloud service providers when necessary, and a basis for future development of the technology and industry.
The IP protocols were developed through the efforts of a global community dedicated to making the Internet grow into a successful utility. Almost entirely supported through a global community of volunteers, the Internet Engineering Task Force and innovators banded together and built a set of standards (RFCs) for all to use when developing their hardware and applications.
Of course there were occasional problems, but their success is the Internet as it is today.
Standardization is critical in creating a productive development environment for cloud industry and market growth. There are several attempts to standardize cloud elements, and hopefully there will be consolidation of those efforts into a common framework.
Included in the efforts are the Distributed Management Task Force/DMTF Open Cloud Standards Incubator, Open Grid Forum’s Open Cloud Computing Interface working group, The Open Group Cloud Work Group, The Open Cloud Manifesto, the Storage Network Industry Association Cloud Storage Technical Work Group, and others.
Too many to be effective, too many groups serving their own purposes, and we still cannot easily write cloud applications that find the lower levels of cloud X as a Service/XaaS proprietary.
What is on your 2010 wish list?
Happy Cloud New Year!
The institutional horror stories continue, the old Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) address space is nearly gone, and if we do not transition to IPv6 with its nearly unlimited address space the Internet will grind to a halt.
A recent survey in Europe by the European Commission concludes that even in technology-progressive European countries “few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime (protocol), IPv6.” ARIN (the US-based Internet Registry) agrees, reminding us that “with less than 15% of IPv4 address space remaining, ARIN is now compelled to advise the Internet community that migration to IPv6 is necessary for any applications that require ongoing availability of contiguous IP number resources.”
OK, so what the heck? Why aren’t we listening to those who understand the sense of urgency to migrate to IPv6, and get moving towards establishing a solid migration plan? Are the vendors ignoring the problem, reticent in providing IPv6 support in either application software or hardware, and preventing us from adopting IPv6? Are we just comfortable in our use of IPv4, network address translation/NAT, and are information technology professionals simply afraid to make a stand with management to start making the move?
Most mainstream software providers appear to be making the effort to go to IPv6. Microsoft has IPv6 as an inherent part of Windows and new Windows applications, Apple – ditto. Google engineers Lorenzo Colitti and Erik Kline recently received the Itojun Award from the Internet Society for “contributions to the development and deployment of IPv6.”
All major switching, routing, and server hardware companies are producing operating systems which include IPv6 compliance. Even cloud computing vendors such as 3tera are providing native IPv6 support within their platform and infrastructure as a service support.
What I Want from IPv6
I want everything from IPv6. Everything that has an electronic, communications, mobility, or interface should be addressable. I love the idea the California Highway Patrol can work with a company such as On Star to shut down a stolen car on the freeway before the driver kills himself or an innocent motorist. I love the idea I can work with an electrical utility to provide smart GRID technology to my entire home electrical system and not only reduce my bill, but also lower my carbon footprint. I love the idea I can control nearly anything I own or manage through a smart phone handset.
The IPv6 address space is large enough that we will have more than sufficient means to address everything we want – while smart people start working on IPv10 or whatever is needed for a couple generations down the road. So they can extend IPv10 to the rest of the galaxy.
Of course, unless we move forward and accept the temporary pain of moving to IPv6, none of this is likely to happen outside of some private implementations such as Verizon Wireless’ LTE network. Verizon is forcing the IPv6 issue with handset and device vendors by demanding their “…device shall support IPv6. The device may support IPv4. IPv6 and IPv4 support shall be per the 3GPP Release 8 Specifications (March 2009)” Kudos to Verizon for taking a stand on IPv6.
I further encourage moving my identity to an IPv6 address. Who needs a social security number, =social insurance number, or other identity when I can have my own personal IPv6 address? No identity fraud, as it can be linked to my DNA or other funky unique security code. My IP address, with my DNA and fingerprint, and I have the basic elements of a base for all other communications and identifications. Or I will become a borg.
But I would like to log into my home, and have heat turned on 5 minutes from arrival, the oven warming, favorite TV dinner selected for cooking, and even my 2 liter bottle of diet soda positioned for easy removal. My television set was remotely programmed, and the MP3 player auto-filled with music and other stuff from its docking station to give me something to listen to during my evening run along the beach or Wildwood Canyon.
Every device for my personal life that has a pulse can have an IPv6 address, controllable by me for whatever reason I choose. No IPv6 address for my jog though, as I want to de-couple some things important to life.
Who Cares About IPv6?
Martin Levy, from Hurricane Electric (a global Internet service and network provider based in Fremont, California), is a tireless evangelist for IPv6. A member of nearly every IPv6 working group (real working groups, not social working groups!), Martin travels the globe teaching, chiding, and inspiring networks to make the move. Martin recently recorded an interview with the European Internet Registry/RIPE where he explains His position on IPv6, his company’s approach to IPv6, and reminding the Internet community of the risks of not making the move to IPv6.
Martin strongly advises ” If you’re getting connectivity in a data center as a transit over an international connection, as a cross connect inside a telecom hotel, if you are an enterprise, IPv6 (deployment) should just be a tick mark…”
Martin travels the world in his quest to inform, and encourage those who do accept their responsibilities and urgencies embracing IPv6, such as at a recent conference in Slovenia, where Martin congratulated the Internet networking and content community by stating “Slovenia’s IPv6 initiative has been very successful and is becoming a blue-print for IPv6 initiatives in other countries worldwide.”
Internode, a large Internet network provider in Australia, has joined the movement towards IPv6. Partially because it is the right thing to do, partially because it is nearly impossible to get additional IPv4 address space from the Asian Internet registry, APNIC (Asia-Pacific Network Information Center).
“Our objective is to ensure that Internode has the most experience of any Australian broadband provider with the operation and support of native IPv6,” Internode managing director Simon Hackett said in a statement. “By the time IPv6 becomes a necessary part of connecting new users to the Internet, Internode will offer the very best ‘production’ IPv6 service available in Australia. At that point, for all customers, IPv6 will ‘just work’.” (Network World, 6 Nov 09)
Our Call to Action
Every blog entry is supposed to include a pithy call to action. In this case the call to action is real. We need to adopt IPv6. Excuses will not bring our global Internet-connected and Internet-enabled world together, and will not enable our next generation of network users to fully execute on the promise of exploiting life in the “matrix.”
IT Managers – you need to get off your backsides, and learn, learn, learn, everything you can about Ipv6. It is mission-critical. Then you need to brief your management – the CFOs, CTOs, CEOs, CXOs, and let them know the urgency of re-stacking your organization to accommodate and drive Ipv6.
Networks – If you are an Internet network provider, and you do not support Ipv6, please get out of the business. With all due respect, you are the problem.
Content providers, application service providers, SaaS providers, equipment vendors, and everybody else hanging an Internet shingle on your door. Ditto – if you are not building IPv6 support into your product, you are the problem. Make it easy for the IT managers, individuals, and future generations by taking Verizon’s approach. “If you do not include IPv6 support in your product, we will not use it.”
What is your IPv6 message?
John Savageau, Long Beach
On May 20th the Office of the US President released a new planning guide for US Government agency adoption of the Internet Protocol, version 6 (IPv6). As the world’s largest IT user, once the US Government finally starts moving ahead on a project, the rest of the world will finally need to take some serious notice.
IPv4 addresses are the machine language which tells Internet-connected applications how to find each other throughout the global network of networks. Humans are familiar with names such as www.yahoo.com, however Internet applications and routing devices would see the same thing as 126.96.36.199.
The problem is that Internet Protocol, version 4 (IPv4) address space is nearly exhausted, with less than 15% of available address space remaining (of 4,294,967,296 total available IPv4 addresses). Some experts, such as Paul Wilson (Dir Asia-Pacific Network Information Center) believe IPv4 addresses will start to dry up as soon as soon as June 2011.
The need to adopt IPv6 is becoming acute. In North America Internet address space is managed by the American Registry for Internet Numbering (ARIN). In May 2007 ARIN published a resolution which included the dire warning:
“WHEREAS, ongoing community access to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) numbering resources cannot be assured indefinitely; and,
BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board of Trustees hereby advises the Internet community that migration to IPv6 numbering resources is necessary for any applications which require ongoing availability from ARIN of contiguous IP numbering resources; and,
BE IT ORDERED, that this Board of Trustees hereby directs ARIN staff to take any and all measures necessary to assure veracity of applications to ARIN for IPv4 numbering resources (American Registry for Internet Numbering)”
Until now the US Government, although they have touted the need to adopt IPv6, has lagged the commercial community in actual deployment of IPv6 within government networks and applications. This follows the Office of Management and Budget’s directive (M-05-22) to all government agencies to “prove IPv6 capability through core network infrastructure testing by June 30, 2008.”
The US Government also recognizes lagging IPv6 deployment puts us behind other government initiatives in China (China Next Generation Internet/CNGI) and the European Commission’s i2010 project, which is driving all European countries to implement IPv6 into networks and applications by the end of 2010.
The benefits of IPv6 are fairly well known and documented, including features such as:
- Greatly increased address space (340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 total IPv6 addresses available, or 2128)
- Better security
- And lots of other great features including interoperability and integration into nearly any device that can be connected to a network
If the US Government is serious about pushing through their IPv6 initiative, many people will benefit, including consultants, equipment vendors, and software engineers, as most of the government IT architecture will need to be rebuilt. This is a good thing, as the rebuild will no doubt drive further innovation within the American IT community, and this will find its way into both the academic and commercial world, as the world’s largest IT user forces the community to re-engineer.
John Savageau, Long Beach
This article originally appeared in the Jan 2009 Any2 Exchange Newsletter
For the past 30 years or so we have gone through an accelerated learning process in globalization. While the under 25 crowd has lived in a world of extreme technology diffusion, many of us still recall the days when having near real time news was an exception, and provided at a great cost in both human and financial resources.
Who can forget the international awakening when real time information came out of UNIX Talk sessions during the Russian Coup attempt in 1991 – when the world realized the veil of national secrecy and suppression of events had been ripped open forever. The Internet has played a role in international transparency which has changed the concept of globalization and brought people together on a human scale that could not have been comprehended just a couple decades ago. It is safe to assume we have successfully passed the Internet concept test.
The basic tools we’ve used over the past 40 years have proven global one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many communications via packets works. Now we can move on to the next phase of global communications development, with a new suite of tools that will allow even more powerful ways of bringing the world to your laptop.
This month we have two feature articles in the Any2 newsletter. One by Martin Levy on the topic of IPv6, and the other by Justin Giardina on storage replication and virtualization. In the next edition we will draw our attention to cloud computing and software as a service.
The Any2 Exchange fully supports deployment of IPv6 in the IXP, as well as support through the Any2Easy route servers. The actual amount of IPv6 traffic is still relatively low, however the number of routes available through Any2 is showing steady growth. We allocate both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses to all new Any2 Exchange members, and will assign new IPv6 addresses on request to any other existing member who does not currently have an allocation.
It is important for us to aggressively promote IPv6. ARIN recently made the following statement:
“With only 15% of IPv4 address space remaining, ARIN is now compelled to advise the Internet community that migration to IPv6 is necessary for any applications that require ongoing availability of contiguous IP number resources.” (www.arin.net)
With an accompanying resolution:
“BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board of Trustees hereby advises the Internet community that migration to IPv6 numbering resources is necessary for any applications which require ongoing availability from ARIN of contiguous IP numbering resources.”
Those are pretty serious warnings to the Internet community that it is time to re-tool for the next generation. What is that generation? Lots of visionaries out there who are far more creative than I, offering a landscape of virtualization and convergence of nearly every aspect of life.
In the scope of our activities we are seeing customer and tenant movement in the direction of virtualization, through both storage and software as a service via cloud compute provisioning. While getting a lot of attention in the tech media as a concept, the actual deployment of these services is going ahead in a near stealth mode. We eagerly look forward to the marriage of Brocade and Foundry, and the offspring that may further bring storage and cloud compute capacity into the switching and routing fabrics.
The ability to route and switch with direct addressing, rather than NAT or private addressing is going to be a requirement in the virtual compute world to help eliminate both physical and software points of failure, as well as eliminate any latency byproduct of address translation.
So, we have our work cut out for us. CRG West and the Any2 Exchange see our role in this new world as the developers of infrastructure needed to support the applications and services being developed by networks, cloud companies, SaaS companies, CDNs, and the carriers.
At the end of the day we still need to provide solid electrical and cooling systems support, access to fiber and interconnections (including the Any2 Exchange), and a neutral place for the community to meet.
With the economy in turmoil, limited funding available for both capital and operational expenses, and the need to rapidly move ahead, we will strive to do our part in providing the infrastructure and community center to reduce both CAPEX and OPEX, as well as develop the facility infrastructure needed to fulfill the visions of those who lead.