Perspective on IPv6

Craig Huegen, in his role of managing Cisco's IT architecture, is interacting with peers in many other large IT organizations. His design and operational expertise is valued by Cisco's enterprise customers. Craig makes the following points with respect to IPv6 in the enterprise market:

• Interest: Over 70 percent of enterprises will ask about and investigate IPv6 in the 2007-2008 timeframe.

• Drivers: Government procurement and deployment of Windows Vista and Longhorn will push enterprises to deploy IPv6.

• Deployment: Over 70 percent of enterprises will have deployed IPv6 by 2010-2012.

So where does Cisco IT stand with respect to these three points?

Interest in IPv6 for the internal infrastructure was first expressed in 2003, while interest in IPv6 support for the development environment was expressed as early as 1996.

Figure 5-9 is a conceptual representation of the way the Cisco IT department provides internal IPv6 connectivity and access to the IPv6 Internet.

Cisco engineers had internal IPv6 connectivity, IPv6 Internet access, and IPv6 access from home over the corporate network since 1998.

By 2007, the motivation for deploying IPv6 became more diverse and it relates to the following aspects of the IP upgrade:

• Device proliferation: This is perceived as both a threat in the context of expected IPv4 address shortages and an opportunity in the context of a significantly larger IPv6 address space.

• Simplicity of network operation: The larger address space enables cleaner designs and easy management of all assets with a net benefit of reduced cost of operations.

• Emergence of Windows Vista: Several new features from Microsoft Windows Vista are still not yet fully evaluated by any IT department— for example, the Peer-to-Peer Networking framework that is leveraged by certain Microsoft applications. There is a stringent need for tools that will allow network managers to keep control of the traffic generated by Vista users.

Drivers for IPv6 adoption in the IT infrastructure are both internal (engineering, customer support requiring connectivity, deployment of Vista) and external (Cisco customers are interested in its experience with the new protocol). Some of these drivers were met by Cisco's IT department providing IPv6 connectivity to employees since 1998. This was achieved by connecting Cisco to the 6bone and offering peering services to several other test sites.

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