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Migrating to IPv6: Advice for Getting Started

Google began migrating to IPv6 in 2008. The company’s initial approach involved a small, core team of engineers who devoted 20 percent more time to their regular work hours for 18 months to make Google publicly available over IPv6. It was no easy task. In fact, Google’s effort to deploy IPv6 on its own enterprise network was a larger, longer undertaking than the team anticipated1. During a 2009 meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force, Lorenzo Collitti, a network engineer at Google, reportedly said IPv6 needs to be production-quality or it’s of no use. Translation: the IPv6 migration must be done properly.

Transitioning services to IPv6 involves more than just software and hardware updates. The time required for auditing, upgrading, reconfiguring and testing hardware and software for an IPv6 rollout can take 12 months or more and the associated costs of those activities are likely to far outweigh the costs of any required software or hardware updates2.

Fortunately, leading practices for planning IPv6 migrations have emerged from the experiences of early adopters. IT organizations should begin by identifying technology assets that need to be upgraded, starting with Internet-facing devices and services, then moving to legacy software and hardware that may not be IPv6 compliant. With that inventory complete, IT organizations can assess deployment options, create a plan and road map for addressing affected technology assets and execute an iterative, risk-managed roll-out.

Even before companies tackle the baselining, planning, and execution, they need to answer the following big picture questions about timing, first steps, and the business case for IPv6 adoption.

  • When should we start?
  • Where should we start?
  • What’s the business case?

Read more from the Wall Street Journal.

Learn more about the article contributors:

Edward Reddick
Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Bruce Short
Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

1 Babiker, Haythum, Irena Nikolova and Kiran Kumar Chittimaneni, “Deploying IPv6 in the Google Enterprise Network: Lessons Learned,” December 2011

2 “How to Upgrade Internet Connectivity With IPv6, While Keeping IPv4,” Gartner Inc., June 27, 2012

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