Time for IPv6 is upon us says Infoblox as it offers migration tool

With IPv4 addresses running out, free tool pitched as planning aid to cope with complex decisions

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System administrators tired of watching their organisation’s dwindling pool of IPv4 addresses are being offered assistance from a new online tool that claims it can help them with the process of generating an IPv6 migration plan.

Called 6Map the tool is the work of network management firm Infoblox which, of course, is promoting it as a part help-aid and part marketing initiative that admins might still want to take a look at.

The 6Map tool is set up as a walk-through wizard at the end of which enterprises get a printable map of how IPv6 addresses from an organisation's pool might be assigned relative to their current IPv4 infrastructure.

As Infoblox points out, with IPv6 the number of available addresses is so vast that the art of address management becomes about subnetting, which can map to specific geographies, offices, IT functions such as a data centre or hierarchies such as VLANs.

Get that bit muddled and IPv6 could turn into a complex management headache going forward. Imagine a network with a million low-level devices Internet of Things (IoT) rather than a thousand high-level ones such as the PCs and servers in use today.

It’s the problem of moving from famine to feast - eat too much at once and you end up with indigestion. This is what 6Map claims it can help with.

“Coming up with an IPv6 address framework is one of the most important initial tasks for any organisation starting down the path to IPv6 adoption, and we hope Infoblox 6Map is a helpful first step,” said Infoblox chief IPv6 evangelist, Tom Coffeen, announcing the tool.

“IPv6 provides a foundation that opens up networks to future opportunities such as cloud architecture and the Internet of Things, and Infoblox is committed to providing enterprise-grade solutions for easily and automatically managing IPv6 deployments.”

Judging from the screenshots offered of the tool in action what admins will get at the end of the process is an automated mapping of their network to a possible IPv6 allocation.

Organisations have probably grown weary of warnings about the dwindling IPv4 address pool which didn’t stop the head of Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), Paul Wilson, sounding the latest alarm at last week’s ICANN 50 meeting in London.

The evidence suggests that UK firms are largely sitting tight with the volume of IPv6 traffic still miniscule despite support for the next-generation protocol now firmly embedded in most operating systems and networking equipment.

Wrinkles remain such as Android’s lack of support for DHCPv6, which Google maintains is driven by backwards compatibility and a lack of here-and-now benefits for end users. The chicken carries on chasing the egg while the egg never quite catches the chicken.

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