IPv6 basics: Your guide to living in an IPv6 world

No one is immune to the transition to IPv6 -- not even cloud providers. This next-generation protocol is out of the labs and well into production, but are your cloud services fully optimized for it?

As Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses continue to diminish to the point of exhaustion, cloud providers and network administrators will soon be forced to start making nice with Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 is the latest version of the IP and is essentially an IPv4 upgrade that lengthened IP addresses from 32 bits to 128 bits. Understanding the importance of IPv6 readiness and capabilities can improve your cloud offerings, but it's hard to take advantage of something you don't fully understand. The editors at SearchCloudProvider realize that it can be hard to wrap your head around all of this IPv6 chatter and hype, so we've put together all of our IPv6-related resources in one easy-to-navigate location. Take some time to explore the IPv6 basics with our tips and expert responses, brought to you by IPv6 and cloud computing expert Ciprian Popoviciu, and find out how to take full advantage of all that IPv6 has to offer.

Table of contents:

The IPv6 cloud: Two interdependent inflection points

Scalability and agility are in demand. Clunky legacy architectures can hold back managed service providers and operators from rising to the challenge of providing enterprise customers with the flexible next-generation services they desire. Mastering the IPv6 basics and incorporating them into a cloud computing strategy could be the answer to these issues. In this tip, Popoviciu explains why you should develop your IPv6 and cloud strategies concurrently.

IPv6 and cloud deployments: Better together

Conducting simultaneous IPv6 and cloud deployment can have some serious advantages. Not only does IPv6 provide technological benefits when deploying a cloud infrastructure, but organizations are also oftentimes analyzing a provider's IPv6 capabilities in conjunction with their cloud services. In this tip, Popoviciu and John Vail, assistant professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla., reveal why it's best to conduct IPv6 and cloud deployments together, and how IPv6 readiness can give cloud providers the edge they've been looking for in order to get a leg up on competitors.

What are the benefits of IPv6 in SDN?

IPv6 has a lot to offer when it comes to software-defined networking (SDN) and network virtualization. In this edition of "Ask the Expert," Popoviciu addresses exactly how IPv6 affects SDN and how these qualities compare with an IPv4 environment.

Should cloud providers worry about IPv6 readiness?

There are many reasons why cloud providers should concern themselves with IPv6 readiness. In this expert response, Popoviciu discusses the two main advantages of becoming IPv6-ready, as well as why IPv6 should be topping cloud providers' to-do lists by now.

Can an IPv6 implementation improve cloud services?

It is evident that some cloud providers don't fully understand the capabilities of IPv6 and therefore are unaware of how to capitalize on such capacities. There are numerous ways an IPv6 implementation can make network operations less complicated for cloud providers, and more use cases are likely to surface as this understanding continues to grow. In this expert response, Popoviciu offers some insight into how IPv6 can, in fact, improve cloud services if you know how to fully reap the benefits of IPv6.

Are cloud vendors keeping up with IPv6 support needs?

Vendors are moving in the right direction in terms of IPv6 support, but more work is needed in this area. Although IPv6 support isn't as critical in compute and storage components, as opposed to networking, other software elements of a cloud provider's environment still require more active support from vendors. In this expert response, Popoviciu addresses why vendors have been slow to jump on the IPv6 bandwagon.

What's challenging about a dual-stack IPv6 cloud?

Coexistence isn't always easy, and this sentiment rings true when attempting to run a dual-stack IPv6 cloud. When running a dual stack, two protocols are sharing infrastructure resources. This complicates processes with regard to planning and management strategies. In this expert response, Popoviciu explains various operational procedures that could help you deal with the complexities that can arise when trying to manage this type of cloud.

Do the advantages of IPv6 include cloud scalability?

The advantages of IPv6 -- from its vast address space to its use of multicast -- can boost cloud scalability. But how? In this expert response, Popoviciu explains that without IPv6 resources, providers would not be able to scale environments nearly as easily.