By Chris Heyn, GM, KEMP Technologies Italy
IPv6 Day was celebrated around the world on June 6, 2012. This event is significant because it recognized the need for companies and organizations worldwide to have a plan prepared to handle the necessary adoption of IPv6. While the need for an effective IPv6 transition policy is essential, many IT departments continue to struggle to create a working plan that reduces the risk of disruption during the migration strategy. The good news is that there is technology that supports the migration through a combination of IPv4 and IPv6 protocols with load balancers.
Why not just stick with Universal Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4)?
There are two overwhelming reasons why this is not an option. First, the quantity of IPv4 addresses is rapidly reaching saturation point. Second, new IP devices, everything from smartphones, home entertainment systems and automobile navigation systems use the IPv6 protocol, so the systems accessed by those devices must also support IPv6. The IPv6 protocol offers a vastly enlarged address space over IPv4, greater reliability and security features. Businesses must make absolutely sure that their resources are available to users and M2M applications via IPv6. If unavailable, they run the risk of cutting off their internal and external users from the applications they need access to.
Meeting the Challenge of Migration
The challenge is to allow for a smooth migration rather than a headlong stampede caused by suitable load balancers arriving too late. A successful migration to IPv6 can be achieved through firmware. Load balancing solutions that support IPv6 anticipate potential problems and eliminate the change of performance gaps and are targeted to optimize the kernel-level networking layer. As important as having the right load balancing technology, is having a detailed project plan to ensure that the migration to IPv6 goes smoothly:
Latest generation load balancers should be able to handle complex Layer 7 operations when handling IPv6 traffic well within their designed capacity. This is vital for a smooth IPv4 to IPv6 migration.
If you are responsible for your organization’s mandatory migration to implement load balancers that support IPv6 traffic, you can breathe easy, because there are technologies available to make the migration a breeze. Load balancing solutions that are well known for their load balancing optimization, SSL processing power and high availability capabilities will enable a seamless migration. Effective compression, highly efficient caching and compression capabilities are also important features when considering which load balancing technology you should implement. Furthermore, IT professionals should consider load balancers that do not require the IT department to understand new skills and tricks when handling IPv6 traffic mixed with IPv4 traffic.