Tarek Houballah, Systems Engineering Manager, Cisco UAE
Cisco, which for 25 years has been pivotal in the development of the Internet Protocol, and which was the first networking vendor to commit to the 24-hour global “test drive” of IP’s next version on June 8, today announced new products and services to smooth the enterprise shift from IPv4 to IPv6. The offerings address findings from a new Cisco study that reveals IT leaders’ concerns about the security, deployment and maintenance of IPv6 and their intent to seek outside expertise to oversee the changeover.
When the free pool of IPv4 addresses ran dry earlier this year, transitioning to IPv6 became the only option to ensure long-term business continuity. The effort requires unifying IPv4 and IPv6 across networks, software and applications. To address the unique challenges this presents, Cisco has a broad portfolio of switches, routers and security devices that have passed both international IPv6 testing see “IPv6-ready logo” as well as U.S. government testing “USGv6” compliance. This substantial portfolio was highly visible earlier this month, when Cisco, as one of the key players in the Interop trade show’s network, collaborated with numerous vendors to make the InteropNet the first end-to-end trade show network to run IPv4 and IPv6 side by side, delivering data, voice and video services to more than 15,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors.
Cisco is extending its IPv6 leadership with new solutions that enable customers to ease and accelerate the transition from IPv4.
USGv6-compliant support, specifically IPsec v2, for IPv6 virtual private networks on Cisco ISR G2 router platforms enables the transition to a dual-stack IP environment, completing the current Cisco suite of IPv6-enabled ISR routers.
Location/ID Separation Protocol (LISP), delivered on Cisco routing and switching platforms, simplifies IPv6 deployments by automating the creation and modification of IPv6 over IPv4 tunnels for swift dual-stack configuration.
Stateful NAT64 support on the Cisco ASR 1000 Series router platforms enables IPv6 devices to access IPv4 servers. With NAT64 enabled, the IPv4-only servers and network remain completely unchanged.
The Cisco Network Optimization Service helps customers manage network health and prepare their networks for new technologies and borderless business innovation. This service now features smart analytics capabilities that provide graphic diagnostic insight into the network as well as a new IPv6 device-readiness assessment that helps automate IPv6 adoption. Together, these smart services help customers optimize network health during and after the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
First Hop Security offers immediate IPv6 access security for dual-stack campus deployment and is uniquely available today through the Cisco products portfolio.
The new offerings arrive at a time when many organizations are in the midst of IPv6 planning and network transitions. In late April, Cisco surveyed 101 senior U.S.-based information technology leaders. Some of the key findings announced today,
A majority of IT leaders (78 percent) said their organizations have made or are currently making the transition to IPv6.
Most IPv6 transition work (94 percent) began within the past two years, while those who had not yet begun said they planned to wait at least nine months from the time they were surveyed before beginning.
More than half (55 percent) have either sought or plan to seek the assistance of outside consultants during the transition.
More than half (54 percent) deemed the move essential to the organization, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) were concerned about missing out on the benefits.
While interaction on the public Internet is the top transition motivator (50 percent), a significant number of respondents stated they are motivated by a desire to accommodate user-provided devices on the network or by their view of IPv6 as a competitive differentiator (18 percent each).
Nearly all respondents (92 percent) indicate that their security team is involved in transition efforts.
Top transition concerns include security vulnerabilities (60 percent), maintaining transition technologies (53 percent), and deploying transition technologies (50 percent).
Most (56 percent) believe that responsibility for the transition should fall on the shoulders of both the service provider and the company.
IPv6 has top-level sponsorship and prioritization within the majority of IT organizations; 63 percent indicate that an executive committee is overseeing the effort.
Tarek Houballah, Systems Engineering Manager, Cisco UAE, “IPv4 has served us remarkably well for the past 30 years. Moving to a new version will not be easy, but it is essential to the continued growth of the Internet. Cisco's approach is to assist customers through what we see as three phases: Preserve, Prepare, Prosper. "Customers are able to preserve existing investments by auditing existing systems and utilizing transition technologies where appropriate; prepare by rolling out IPv6 alongside IPv4 in a strategic manner; and will ultimately prosper with the transition to a full IPv6-enabled Internet. This will allow them to continue to build larger, more efficient networks that enable business innovation.”