SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | March 27, 2011 |

 
   

Application Delivery Controllers Can Ease the IPv6 Migration

Application Delivery Controllers Can Ease the IPv6 Migration The role of an ADC is to bridge the application and network environments, which positions it well to ease the move to the address-rich v6.

The role of an ADC is to bridge the application and network environments, which positions it well to ease the move to the address-rich v6.

It seems after a long hiatus, IPv6 is back in the news. Now as Gary Audin pointed out in his blog (http://www.nojitter.com/blog/229300740), the impending transition IPv6 has been something we have been talking about for years. In fact, I wrote my first IPv6 report in 2001 when I thought we were on the verge of a large migration, which of course never happened.

Part of the reason adoption has been slow is that the value proposition for IPv6 is all about more addresses. Early in the development of IPv6, the protocol did a whole bunch of things from a management and security perspective that IPv4 did not do. Since then, all of the vendors have added pretty much all those features to v4, leaving the value proposition to solely be more IP addresses. Even that value proposition has been limited since things like NAT (network address translation) has evolved, making the limited number of IP addresses no longer an issue for many companies.

However, recently there’s been more interest due to a combination of government mandates, growth of IPv6 in Japan and other parts of Asia and a general interest level due to the exploding number of IP enabled endpoints. I’m not sure if any one of these outweighs any other, it depends greatly on the business.

This did get me thinking though about how an organization could migrate to IPv6 while minimizing the risk. It’s not likely that a company will do a hot cut over to IPv6, so a migration plan is essential. And, even if the company were either crazy enough or small enough to do a hot cut over, the companies and networks that it interfaces with would likely not be IPv6, again making migration important.

One of the most important pieces of infrastructure in an IPv6 migration plan is the application delivery controller (ADC). Gary made mention of this in his blog but referred to it as a “load balancer” which is where ADCs came from--but they’re so much more today. ADCs live at the intersection of applications and networks and bridge those two worlds together. In fact, recently two ADC solution providers, data center specialist Brocade and market leader F5 have started to market around IPv6 because of increasing customer demand.

ADCs can provide several key functions in an IPv6 transition. The ADC can be dual stacked which provides a v4 to v6 translator in the network. By placing the dual stack capabilities next to the application, developers can modify the application to be v6 compliant without modifying the network, since the application talks to the ADC. Similarly, a network manager could modify the network without the applications being touched. The ADC would handle translating to both sides of it. The ADC can deliver simultaneous v6 to v4 translation at the application layer. An IP “rosetta stone” is a good way of thinking about it. Most would think to use a router for this functionality, but routers operate at layer 3, not at the application layer like ADCs do.

Other than the gateway function, each vendor has a number of product specific features that can facilitate IPv6 transitions. For example:

Brocade updated its application resource broker to be IPv6 compliant as well as enabling third party integration through a software API. The application resource broker combined with Brocade’s ADC can help transition applications that utilize the specific IP addresses.

F5’s version 10.0 of its TMOS operating system brought with it a number of IPv6 transition features including:

The ADC can be used as a v4 to v6 gateway by configuring a virtual server using either a v4 and/or a v6 version of the address and then the other network nodes using the other version. Companies can then run in a mixed mode environment and migrate to v6 on a schedule that that business deems important rather than being forced to migrate. This could prolong the migration cycle, but on the plus side, does de-risk it.

F5’s global traffic manager (GTM) can act as a DNS by receiving a v4 or v6 query and then doing a translation with a properly formatted address. Additionally, the GTM-based DNS can reject queries that have no v6 information available, instead of waiting for a timeout, which can add a long delay to the DNS process.

These are just a few examples of the role that ADCs can play in an IPv6 migration. ADCs can also provide virtual server, virtual IP, NAT, Secure NAT and other functions that bridge v4 to v6.

IPv6 may not be on the near term roadmap for many organizations right now but it will be eventually. Instead of trying to make drastic network changes, application delivery controllers can be used for an easier transition. The role of an ADC is to bridge the application and network environments and the case of IPv6 is no exception.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

February 22, 2017

Sick of video call technology that make participants look like they're in the witness protection program? Turns out youre not alone. Poor-quality video solutions can give users an unprofessional ap

March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.