Business Strategies

Forward-thinking organizations are constantly evaluating industry trends in an effort to best position themselves economically for the future. Their strategic investments often involve establishing the foundation required for future product and service development. However, strategic investments are in constant tension with the economic and tactical competitive demands to reduce costs and minimize disruptive changes. Visions and strategies for the IPv6 transition should consider the intersections of cost, revenue, risk, timing, and dependencies.

There are three prerequisites, represented graphically in Figure 4-6, for broad deployment of communications-based products and services: standards, platforms, and networks. Businesses should consider the maturity level of these areas when developing their strategies. In the end, it is all about the timing.

NOTE Broad commercialization and deployment of network-centric applications and services requires a minimum level of relevant maturity in international standards, platform adoption of standards, and local/global network transport.

Figure 4-6 Prerequisites for Communications Technologies Deployment

There are some general timing-related questions that every organization should seriously consider when planning for IPv6. The answers will vary for different industries and market strategies:

• When will IPv6 be needed? This assessment should consider mandated adoption, competitive position goals, application- and vendor-driven requirements, and industry trends. This may be a combination of objective and subjective perspectives.

• How long will it take? Basic understanding of IPv6 and the transition process is required for this assessment. Sometimes there are dependencies that are beyond the control of the enterprise. For example, economic global deployment of IPv6 applications and services will require a combination of mature standards, IPv6-enabled platforms, and availability of network transport. If one of the required components is not available, workaround solutions should be part of the strategic planning.

• When do I start? To determine the starting time reference, do the simple math of subtracting the time to get to IPv6 from the date when it will be needed. For many organizations, doing an honest assessment indicates the ideal start time may have already passed. For example, companies that are deploying current versions of Windows, MAC, and Linux operating systems may already have IPv6 packets and services running on their LANs.

• What are the dependencies? In some cases, the IPv6 strategy will be modulated by actions of others, such as standards processes or availability of specific features in common computing and network platforms. In other cases, the dependencies are internal, such as the deployment of DNS services that support IPv6 and the verification of end-to-end, host-to-host communications over a network with IPv6 turned on.

• Can I do something today to make the future easier? An organization may not need IPv6 within a few years. However, often times an organization can take steps in the short term to make the eventual transition less expensive and less painful. This includes purchasing standards and developing applications that are IP-version agnostic.

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