Pv6 Planning and Implementation

Similar to the preceding case studies, Command Information's IPv6 strategy includes both planning and implementation. However, unlike the other case studies, Command Information's business model requires not only planning and implementation of its internal use of IPv6 but also the planning and implementation of its IPv6 services offered to others.

The strategy of IPv6 services development reflects market realities and Command Information's commitment to take an early leadership role as a professional services provider. Three major focus areas have been identified:

• Training: Develop comprehensive IPv6 training for the general industry at both the technical and executive level. Customize training for large organizations based on their needs, their products, and the requirements of various internal groups.

• Consultancy: Engage initially with leading early adopters and assist with the design, planning, and implementation of their IPv6 strategies. As market focus is moving from investigating and understanding IPv6 toward actual adoption, so will Command Information's focus move from its established training program to assisting customers with their IPv6 integration.

• Research and development: Develop and prove IPv6-based solutions and services in collaboration with industry partners.

The timeline for implementing these focus areas is summarized in Table 5-45.

Table 5-45 Command Information IPv6 Service Development Strategy

Phase 1 (2001-2006)

Develop experience through customer interaction, partnerships with IT companies, and involvement in industry activities such as the beta evaluation program for Vista.

Develop training material for the general market. Provide consulting services on IPv6 integration to early adopters. Activities include network design, infrastructure, inventory, and so on.

Stay actively involved in IPv6 promotion bodies such as IPv6 Forum and North America IPv6 Forum.

Phase 2 (2006-2007)

Develop IPv6 training customized to large organizations. Develop tools supporting professional services around IPv6 integration, both for network integration and for vendor equipment and software. Initiate research and development projects to deliver IPv6-based solutions to pressing industry problems.

Phase 3

(2008 Onward)

Move emphasis toward consultancy services and application development. Identify and promote best practices in IPv6 deployment and adoption. Market and support the results of R&D projects. Commercialize advanced networking technology solutions.

Command Information's commitment to this IPv6 strategy generated significant contributions to the three focus areas identified above:

• Training: Command Information has the most comprehensive and

practical training materials in the market. It also developed and continues to develop customized training for large organizations such as Cisco Systems.

• Consultancy: Command Information has an extensive list of customers with whom it works on their early adoption of IPv6: Bechtel, Cisco Systems, HP, Symantec, DISA, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, JITC, VA, and Space & Missile Defense Command.

70. http://www.commandinformation.com/labs/catalogue/index.php.

• Research and development: Command Information initiated several development projects with an IPv6 focus. These are a few examples:

- In support of its professional services and to help customers, Command Information in collaboration with Cisco developed a network assessment tool that automatically evaluates IPv6 readiness of network elements.

- It is one of the four partners involved in the Advanced Incident

Response System (AIRS)'1, which, in a context similar to projects such as Metronet6 and U-2010, provides practical solutions for integrated communications between emergency response resources and assets.

- It launched other projects, which are focused on networked sensors

and communications systems networked over IPv6.

Command Information is recognized in the U.S. market as a leading provider of IPv6 training and professional services. Demand for its services continues to grow outside the United States as well, reflecting an increasing global demand for IPv6 professional services.

From an internal adoption perspective, as well as based on the IPv6 integration experience of its clients, Command Information sees the lack of IPv6-enabled enterprise services as the biggest obstacle to full IPv6 migration. The IPv6 upgrade should not lead to the loss of any fundamental enterprise services currently in use. While recognizing the potential benefits of an IPv6 environment, similar to most enterprises, Command Information relies on basic services to operate (e-mail, network file services, security tools, web services, network management, and so forth), and in its opinion the only way to maintain existent functionality with the current level of IPv6 support by the applications is to operate a dual-stack environment.

71. http://www.commandinformation.com/labs/research/airs.php.

72. http://www.commandinformation.com/labs/research/.

NOTE Command Information believes a dual-stack environment is an acceptable intermediate solution, but it is more expensive to operate than an IPv6-only network, Command Information's long-term goal. On the other hand, a one-step migration to an IPv6-only environment is more expensive in the near term than a gradual transition through an integration phase when the environment is dual-stack.

Command Information's strategy toward internal adoption of IPv6 reflects its continued efforts to couple technology and business benefits of IPv6 within the enterprise environment. It also evaluates in great detail various IPv6-enabled OSs, applications, and tools, as the result of this work will be leveraged in helping its customers integrate IPv6 more successfully.

The phased approach to IPv6 integration is described in Table 5-46.

Table 5-46 Command Information Internal IPv6 Deployment

Phase 1 (2005-2006)

Build the new networking infrastructures with IPv6 support.

Existing infrastructure assessment for IPv6 capabilities.

Vista trials on application-by-application basis for migration of current IPv4-based enterprise services. Review of security policies in the context of IPv4-IPv6 coexistence. In most cases, IPv6 security policies are aimed at maintaining the same functional level of security as for IPv4, while taking into account IPv6's unique strengths and operational requirements.

Phase 2

Phase 3

(2007-2008)

(2008 Onward)

Select an ISP that provides

Deployment of Windows

native IPv6 transport and

Server 2008.

Internet access services.

Migrate internal

Acquire IPv6 address

infrastructure to IPv6-

space.

dominant framework.

Perform trials for

Begin the migration of

Windows Vista SP1.

IPv4-only services to

Develop interim solutions

IPv6-only.

for network services with

no production IPv6

support.

Trials of the Advanced

Incident Response System

(AIRS) and Message

Caster solutions.

Provide IPv6-based

services such as:

IPv6-only website

Internal IPv6 e-learning

VoIPv6 trials

IPv6 IM trials

NOTE Command Information acquired its provider independent global IPv6 address space from ARIN in 2006: 2610:00F8::/32.

NOTE As an IPv6-centric company, it was critical that ISP services not only provide support for IPv6, but also provide native IPv6 transport services as well as support Command Information's presence on the IPv6 Internet with a presence in the default-free zone (DFZ) and pointers to its authoritative DNS servers. Command Information hosts its own services and wanted to ensure that it could do so on both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols. For this reason, it retained the services of an ISP who could facilitate these requirements across the U.S. geography.

Wherever possible, Command Information strives to use IPv6, including in its own corporate environment. Its strategy matches its messaging toward enterprise customers: "We are still leveraging our existing IPv4 infrastructure for most of our daily IT activities simply because the level of support for IPv6 is still nascent." However, Command Information strives to clearly be at the leading edge of the curve for adopting IPv6-capable products and services as they become available.

Lessons Learned

Since Command Information opened its doors in early 2006, it has had a number of successful IPv6-related projects that have provided critical insights with regard to IPv6:

• IPv6 drivers: Organizations have little interest in IPv6 as a standalone technology, an observation that applies to U.S. government agencies being driven by mandated adoption. The key to successful integration is a clear mapping of IPv6 to organizational IT initiatives. By identifying how IPv6 may improve or enhance general IT initiatives, organizations are able to create ROI models around their integration efforts.

• IPv6 differentiators: The uniform support for security and MIPv6 have proved to be fundamental in architecting and developing of network-centric solutions from Command Labs. The AIRS solution, developed in collaboration with Cisco and Arch Rock, heavily leveraged IPv6 to create a resilient first-responders solution that would have been technically unscalable using IPv4.

• Address space size matters: Although the volume of IPv6 addresses has never been considered a "sexy" driver for IPv6 integration, it has proven to be foundational in sustaining interest in adoption. With the notice from ARIN in mid-2007, the world was put on notice that IPv4 address exhaustion was no longer an "if" but a definitive "when," with real impacts on the growth of the Internet and the costs of maintaining a legacy infrastructure.

• IPv6 skill sets: One of the greatest challenges Command Information has faced is scaling its technical workforce. IPv6 SMEs are in short supply. Command acquired a fair amount of talent initially, but quickly exhausted the marketplace. To overcome the challenge, it turned its training program inward, developing IPv6 SMEs by taking seasoned IT engineers and putting them through an exhaustive sequence of training and consulting exercises. Command Information overcome the timing in service issue by ensuring that these trainees focus exclusively on IPv6 for at least a year.

Command Information views IPv6 as a disruptive technology, requiring new and innovative ways of deploying and leveraging IT. At the same time, it must also provide value and help drive the total cost of ownership for technology initiatives downward. Currently the world works largely on a client/server model. This model leads to solution complexity and costly infrastructure to mitigate single points of failure. IPv6 provides a resilient and scalable framework for P2P applications that reduces the need for middleware and intermediate infrastructure. It is Command Information's belief that one of the most challenging obstacles will be to overcome the client/server mentality and build applications and services that use the computing power of end nodes and the reliability of the IPv6 and basic network infrastructure.

Summary

Although not always commonly known, large IPv6 deployments do exist today and detailed IPv6 adoption strategies are in place awaiting implementation. It is true, however, that the maturity level of the IPv6 strategies and related business cases varies across market segments. This chapter highlighted several examples of the many worldwide organizations that developed IPv6 strategies with various implementation timelines. More importantly, the case studies reveal aspects of the process that led these organizations to early planning, early adoption, or even the decision that IPv6 is not yet a high priority. It shows the fact that, as an infrastructure technology, making the case for IPv6 is not straightforward and, even when the case is made, the implementation of an IPv6 strategy depends on many other factors. When, however, the IPv6 planning is integrated seamlessly in the overall IT planning, an IP version-agnostic planning process, implementations are simplified and costs are reduced. Besides this general rule of thumb, each case study reveled a few specific lessons learned, some of which are specific to a market segment whereas others are common to most case studies. The following are the three most common lessons learned:

• Early planning means reduced costs: Organizations invariably experienced the cost benefits of early planning. Early planning has multiple facets, each contributing to a smoother and less expensive deployment of IPv6.

• IPv6 technology is mature, but some challenges remain: Overall the technology was found to be mature for deployment and revenue-generating service offerings. Nevertheless, challenges are still identified in various aspects of its operation. Increased adoption highlights some of these challenges but also leads to the development of solutions for them.

• Product availability remains an important gating factor and can be mitigated through close vendor relationships: The integration of IPv6 in products is market driven, and current gaps reflect the inconsistent past interest in the technology across the industry. Even as we approach parity between IPv4 and IPv6 support across products, close relationships with vendors is important in driving priorities and working on developing new, innovative IPv6 capabilities.

Without a doubt, the lessons shared by the organizations featured in these case studies will be, to a certain extent, practically relevant to the reader in their pursuit of an IPv6 strategy or its implementation. One of the messages carried over and over again by these case studies is the importance of planning for IPv6 and starting that process as soon as possible regardless of when an actual deployment is envisioned. To further assist your planning efforts, we collected their experiences on the topic and provide concrete steps and processes in Chapter 6, "Planning Your IPv6 Migration."

CHAPTER 6

Planning Your IPv6 Migration

To this point, the goal of this book has been to help you understand the trends and strategies for adopting and leveraging IPv6 as part of natural technology evolution to sustain growth and specific business and competitive differentiators. The market overviews and the concrete examples presented in the case studies should enable decision makers to see the opportunities offered by IPv6 and to become familiar with the adoption experience of businesses in their market segments. Regardless of the conclusions drawn from an accelerated adoption or a continual monitoring of the technology, planning for IPv6 is essential to all businesses. The potential disruptive effects of not implementing IPv6 make an old saying applicable to this technological evolution: "There is absolutely no substitute for genuine lack of preparation."

Planning for IPv6 takes a multidimensional effort, and a comprehensive approach to this undertaking is essential to its success. As a foundational technology, IPv6 touches all aspects of the IT ecosystem, as shown in Figure 6-1. The network is the platform that ties together people, services, devices, and information resources. The network facilitates communication among people, people's use of services and devices, and their access to information. The network also enables devices to communicate with each other and with services to leverage information. Figure 6-1 represents just a few of these interactions among the elements of the IT environment. IPv6 is not just about the IP network infrastructure, which in fact might be the simplest problem to solve; it is also about all these components and their interactions.

Plan for IPv6 in the IT Environment

Figure 6-1 Interactions in the IT Environment

There is also the important temporal dimension of IPv6 planning. The title of this chapter, without a time scale attached to it, might lead to visions of daunting tasks with flag-day migrations that lead to dramatic disruptions. Because nobody really knows when the last IPv4 packet would be sent through a network, the full migration to IPv6 is a long string of protocol integration steps. Planning for IPv6 migration has to focus on the protocol integration and its co-existence with IPv4 as well.

A complete and global perspective of the IT environment reveals the multiple facets of an IPv6 integration planning effort. Figure 6-2 translates the generic concepts presented in Figure 6-1 into the following building layers of the IT environment:

• Infrastructure: Assets that support IT services and communications in an organization. Multiple infrastructure changes are needed with the implementation of IPv6; these changes go beyond apparent network transport upgrades. Individual, self-contained computing units must be IPv6-addressable and communicate using IPv6 as the preferred protocol over IPv4 from the operating system and through other local software such as browser and office automation (OA) applications. Attention also needs to be paid to infrastructure services used throughout the organization, starting with basic naming services, such as DNS and DHCP (v6). Common shared infrastructure services such as file, print, database, and web services are part of the IPv6 transformation.

• Information: Data essential for performing and supporting business functions. Information itself will generally not be changed when IPv6 is turned on. However, IPv6 does offer new alternatives in information access and sharing. Secure end-to-end IPv6 communications should be explored in the context of different information assurance (IA) and intellectual property paradigms.

• Applications: Software tools that enable users to perform business functions. Application development and certification processes ensure that IPv6 is used as the preferred communications protocol. This may not be possible with legacy third-party applications. Beyond qualifying existing applications to use IPv6, new applications are now possible that could not be achieved or easily developed with IPv4. Development environments, service-oriented architecture (SOA), web services, and maintenance routines should be updated to include IPv6.

• Business functions: The tasks that individually or in various combinations achieve the objectives of a business. Changes to core business functions can sometimes be supported by new capabilities offered by IPv6. Perhaps new ways to meet and interact with customers, develop products, or execute a task with IPv6 would be applicable. Readers should consider the way in which telephones or the Internet changed their organizational business functions as an example of infrastructure-enabled business function transformations.

These layers are bordered by two overarching structures, as indicated in Figure 6-2:

• Processes: Governance and methodologies that are used for the integrated management of the environment. IPv6 should be quickly integrated into existing IT processes and architectures such as development methodologies, certification processes, purchasing, and enterprise portfolio management. Enforcement of IPv6 requirements should be accomplished through IPv6 changes to quality assurance (QA), configuration management, and production deployment processes.

• Standards: Architectures and technical standards that provide the structure for integrating components at all levels. Standards interrelationships should be examined. We discussed earlier that IPv6 support is required for other standards such as 3GPP IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and CableLabs DOCSIS. Organizations should carefully explore the current standards they are using, the emerging version of the standards, and any dependencies on IPv6.

Figure 6-2 High-level Reference Model for the IT Environment

The IPv6 integration plans must be detailed for each IT environment element highlighted in Figure 6-2. These considerations are integrated in the major planning steps identified in this chapter:

• Define the objectives: Identify the scope of the project, its timeline, and the phases of implementation.

• Assess the IT environment: Inventory the IT assets to assess the changes required for IPv6 capabilities in the context of the identified integration objectives.

• Review the operational and governance policies: Tie the integration plans into the business and organizational structures to ensure the success of all aspects of adoption at all levels of the organization.

• Initiate and support technology education: Provide the individuals in the organization with the appropriate level of IPv6 knowledge and awareness.

• Leverage the IPv6 industry experience: Learn from the IPv6 experience of others in order to streamline the integration process and increase its chances of success.

We provide recommendations in this chapter for each of the previous steps of the IPv6 planning effort and how they can be used by both early and late adopters. Each recommendation is complemented by a concrete example of its application. Many of this chapter's examples come from Bechtel, a representative of an emerging category in the theory of technology adoption: an early planner (detailed in Chapter 5, "Analysis of Business Cases for IPv6—Case Studies"). Examples of other early planners include Comcast Corporation and the U.S. Postal Service, which recognized early the complexity of this planning process and initiated it well in advance of the actual technology deployment. Early planners often become early adopters.

Define the Objectives

The ramifications of IPv6 adoption depend on the scope of its integration. Although IPv6 will ultimately become ubiquitous throughout the organization, the initial steps in its integration might vary in terms of depth and coverage. Some organizations might decide that IPv6 deployment is not a priority at this time and choose to update only their security policies and monitoring/management capabilities to deal with potential IPv6 threats. Other organizations might fully commit to IPv6 and plan a complete strategy for its integration in all aspects of the IT environment.

There are four major aspects to defining the scope of an IPv6 integration project and its planning:

• Alignment with strategic objectives: Identify strategic value of the change.

• Project goals: Define what will be achieved.

• Project scope: Identify the areas of the IT environment that will be affected.

• Project timeline: Identify the time scale, metrics, and milestones for the project and its financial impacts.

The textbook project management elements are described in the following sections to provide IPv6 examples for them using companies included in Chapter 5.

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