We’re currently involved in a number of IPv6 activities in different organizations and one of the questions we are still facing – even in cases where there’s already a (in most cases networking team driven/originated) “project” (incl. budget, project sponsor, milestones etc.) – is along the lines of “How to sell IPv6 to our management?”.
In the following I will shortly lay out the line of reasoning and the terminology we usually employ for the task. Furthermore I’ve anonymized a presentation which we recently prepared as “input” for the network team of an enterprise organization; it can be found here. In case you want to get this as a PPT (for recyling purposes) pls send me a direct email (in exchange, we might ask you for a small donation of your will to the Troopers charity project… ).
On a technical level we see two main reasons for deploying IPv6 soon:
a) the lack of IPv4 addresses and the subsequent need to put stuff like NAT and CGNs into the traffic path.
This has several consequences, amongst others:
- overall network access and communication acts get more difficult which might come into the way of “growth” (of customers, for any type of organization).
- Internet providers (who actually carry the costs for the above workaround technologies) have started thinking about getting rid of IPv4 in the near/mid term future. See Lee Howard’s “The Cost of IPv4-IPv6 Transition” presentation from last year’s North American IPv6 Summit to get an idea why this could make sense for them.
Once they do so, maybe in the beginning just for some groups of subscribers (e.g. “smartphone users, aged 16–25, accessing mainly Facebook & YouTube”), offering IPv4-only services might just mean losing customers…
b) The Internet of Things (IoT).
While this, again, may not seem too important to a manager from a typical enterprise organization (“Why would we ever deploy such devices in our corporate network”), there’s some things to be kept in mind in this space:
- embedded systems for “production networks” (ICS/SCADA type stuff).
- building automation, time tracking, fire alarms etc. Stuff that pretty much every organization has somewhere in their corporate network.
For example, just recently I was involved in an address planning exercise with the IT office of a huge municipality and in the course of the discussion they immediately grasped the concept and pointed out “what about those network-connected parking metres we’ll deploy next year?”.
In terms of terminology and line of argumentation here’s some more recommendations:
- associating “IPv4” with the attribute “legacy” might help creating “the right type of connotations”.
- some of you certainly know that a common question in all types of “management discussions” is about “What do our industry peers do?”. Be prepared to face it and to provide an answer, ideally from the same industry vertical you’re in. Adding attributes like “technology-centric” or even “innovative” when referencing those peers might further help to create feelings in the right direction ;-).
Last but not least: when it comes to “when is the right time?” be realistic. Don’t tell them there’s an urgent need to have the full migration done within the next 12 months. But make them aware that a (quickly) growing number of users (read: customers) have IPv6 enabled now and that their systems will prefer IPv6, so falling back to IPv4 is only their second best choice of connection…
We’re happy to hear your story so feel free to leave a comment to this post or get in touch with us on Twitter (@Enno_Insinuator) or by classic email.
All the best for you upcoming IPv6 projects,
have a great day