|By John Savageau||
|October 4, 2009 02:15 PM EDT||
"If we look at cloud (service) in a global sense, not just as my service or your service, or my country or your country, then IPv6 is part of the future and the solution." (Bert Armijo, SVP 3tera)
IPv6 is hitting everybody in the Internet industry on a global scale. 3tera recognized early in the evolution of cloud products that IPv6 was critical for long term, and short term development of their AppLogic product within both public-facing Internet services, as well as cloud deployments within the enterprise. The need is real.
The IPv4 Reality 3tera Faced
The Internet operates with devices connecting to each other on a global scale. Each device, wither a physical switch, server, or computer, has an address. Each application, piece of data, and content is located in the Internet through use of an address. Everything in the Internet uses an address. Currently address defined in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is the most widely used series and sets of addresses. And we've used up most of the available addresses.
The American Registry for Internet Numbering (ARIN) is very clear on the dangers of ignoring the velocity of IPv4 address depletion. ARIN is very clear that less than 15% of the available IPv4 address space remains for distribution in the global community, and if depleted, the Internet will stop growth at that point. There may be temporary measures and "work-arounds" to get us through the near term, however the cold hard fact remains that our Internet is in danger of running out of address space.
In a notice sent to the US Internet community they were very clear in a couple of points what will happen if the US Internet community ignores the need to adopt and migrate to IPv6:
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 RESOLVED, that this Board of Trustees hereby requests the ARIN Advisory Council to consider Internet Numbering Resource Policy changes advisable to encourage migration to IPv6 numbering resources where possible. https://www.arin.net/knowledge/about_resources/v6/v6-resolution.html
While IPv4 gives the Internet-connected world about 4.2 billion address, IPv6 gives the world around 3.4 x 1038 addresses. That is a bunch of addresses… Enough to get our planet through a couple more generations of Internet users, and well enough to connect virtually every possible virtual or physical device we as a species are likely to need in the next thousand years or so (OK, maybe a "forward looking statement").
3Tera Takes on IPv6
The Los Angeles area is good place to meet the folks at 3tera, familiar faces at local industry and community events. Sometimes considered scary in their vision of the network and applications-enabled future, sometimes considered really good guys who are a lot of fun to talk with at a conference, or in the parking lot after an event. Normal guys, until they start talking about their trade. And 3tera guys are very serious about their trade.
Make a seemingly simple comment like, "what have you done in 3tera's product AppLogic for developing IPv6?," and you are awarded with a cold stare, silence, and the fear you have either said something so incredibly stupid that it is a conversation killer, or you have struck a nerve.
With Peter Nikolov (President, CTO, and COO) and Bert Armijo (SVP Sales, Marketing, Product Management, and about everything else…) the IPv6 nerve ran deep, and understanding their position in the cloud computing market, the critical issue of IPv4 depletion, the enabling qualities of adopting IPv6, and the reality our planet will need leaders in the IPv6 space, 3tera rolled up their sleeves, put more coffee in the room, and started breaking down the problem.
And on October 1st, 3tera formally launched IPv6 support in AppLogic
While in the US we have started creating awareness in the need to move to IPv6, Bert reminds us that overall, the urgency to accelerate IPv6-enabled applications and network support is more acute in Europe and Asia than in the United States. "Internationally there are fewer IPv4 addresses available (through the regional Internet address registries), addresses are harder to order (longer and more complex justification process), and are much more expensive."
Thus 3tera has recently received much more interest in their IPv6 product planning and roadmap from both Asia and Europe than even in the US, which should also serve as a wakeup call for Americans.
What Does 3tera's Implementation of IPv6 do for the Client?
Bert Armijo understands that building an IT infrastructure in a company is difficult enough, without the additional burden of planning for migrations, restacking applications, renumbering applications, and deploying those applications is tough. The whole philosophy of building into a cloud is to enable rapid deployment of presence and applications, and be able to control the cost of labor and capital needed for both organic and season (event driven) growth.
"We wanted to break this problem down to the simplicity of a software appliance," advised Bert. "We built IPv6 support into Applogic (3tera's cloud operating system and main product) as a drag and drop appliance, which when using an existing (Applogic-enabled service) would allow the user to drag and drop the IPv6 appliance into their application and automatically configure the application for IPv6 support."
"…until now, IPv6 adoption has been slowed by the perception that it requires both support on the client side and complex code changes in applications. With its AppLogic cloud computing platform, it is no longer necessary to make changes in the configuration of the software in order to be able to support IPv6, while still keeping the data available to IPv4 users." (from 3tera PR)
This of course works from the ground up as well, offering support to build infrastructure in native IPv6. Something the Asians and Europeans are jumping on, and something the American IT community should seriously consider.
Bert goes through a list of applications that are being made aware of IPv6 within clouds, including mobile telephony, video distribution, and security. However the most urgent customer demands fall into both disaster recovery and security implementations through the cloud.
While it is clear cloud has great support, and is starting to meet customer expectations for application and resource management - such as being able to move and schedule resources based on time or geography, there are a couple of interesting implications which are becoming apparent.
The Intercontinental Cloud
"First production implementations (for IPv6 in AppLogic) are for VPNs," said Bert. "Predominantly for VPNs between continents, such as Asia to the USA, and Europe to the USA."
Using IPv6 within a wide are distributed network, with the advanced security potential offered within the protocol, brings up some interesting ideas. Such as what is the future of wide area MPLS networks?
If the cloud offers the same level of security, portability, and ability for applications to easily move large data sets within a wide area, both for proximity-based process, least-cost processing, and disaster recovery purposes, then we might have some very interesting developments in the future.
There are clearly many more aspects of 3tera's IPv6 implementation into their AppLogic product, and it is still very early in the development process. Other cloud vendors will eventually bring out their own versions of IPv6 support. Eventually the American IT and Internet industry will awaken to the urgency of not only IPv4 depletion, but also start becoming more involved envisioning what other applications and services may emerge or become possible through a network and cloud resource world running IPv6.
Verizon Wireless will drive their LTE -> 4G network on IPv6, and the entertainment community is frantically learning what the protocol can do for the future of video. President Obama's CIO has laid down the gauntlet on the US Government to adopt IPv6, and the Asian/European community is beginning to look at the US Internet market as a roadblock in global technology development.
We need to keep our eyes and minds open on what is happening in the IPv6 world, as well as look inside at our own businesses and organizations. We are rapidly approaching one of those points in history where our future will be defined based on our ability to plan ahead for a disruption in technology, the impact of market globalization on even mom and pop businesses (I can order breakfast cereal over the Internet!).
IPv6 will be part of that future. 3tera will be part of that future. An exciting future, and we cannot wait to see what emerges from 3tera's research and development team next.
John Savageau, Long Beach
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