IP4 Space

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Tue Mar 30 10:09:12 CDT 2010

On Monday 29 March 2010 07:17:28 pm Doug Barton wrote:
> However, none of that is relevant to the fact that a change IS coming,
> whether you're ready for it or not. The questions are, what will the
> change(s) be, how soon, and how will it/they affect me?
> So the question is not, "Can I afford to make a change?" The questions
> are as above, what, and how soon? This is why "we" have been telling
> people for years to work IPv6 requirements into all NEW stuff
> (networking hardware, end-user systems, b/w contracts) so that WHEN the
> changes start to affect you you won't have to do a forklift upgrade.

The nature of these changes (what, how soon, how will I be affected) will be 
entirely determined by how many can afford the costs of the implementation, and 
how soon they can afford it, as well as how quickly others can afford it; the 
more 'others' that can afford it, the more desirable affording it becomes to 
that set of all 'others' severally.  

One problem I see is one of marketing; marketing towards a negative is 
typically much less effective than marketing a positive.  Market what people 
can do with IPv6, not what they can't do without IPv6.  The 'IPv4 address 
space is running out' line is much weaker than it should be (with CxO's), 
because it's marketing a negative.  The 'wow, here's valuable stuff you can do 
only with IPv6' is much more compelling.  What is that 'valuable stuff?'  
(rhetorical question, I've seen some lists, they're not a compelling as they 
could be)

The biggest problem with using the IPv4 allocation shortage as a negative is 
that it's not even a hard negative, really, not like Y2K, the most successful 
negative marketing example that I can think of, was.  But this is different; 
when the IPv4 space is fully allocated, my existing services won't just up and 
quit.  I'll have to do something other than get more IPv4, of course, and I'll 
start by being creative with how the existing services are allocated their 
IPv4 space, work my way up to some NAT-PT to overlap multiple services on a 
single IP, all the while looking at what the IPv6 addition will cost me, and 
will gain me.

I mean, really: address space doesn't technically run out; it just all gets 
allocated; IP addresses are not consumables, but to a degree they're capital.  
But what the RIR's give, the RIR's can take away, or rearrange.  And you 
asymptotically approach having 4 billion AS's running /32 networks with multi-
layer NAT on the eyeballs and deep name-based virtual hosting (usable since 
HTTP v1.1) on the content side. And an enhancement to DNS allowing a port 
number to be part of an A record.

But if no one (or close enough to 'no one') can afford to do IPv6, then IPv6 
won't happen and the above scenario becomes more likely.  Likewise, if 
everyone (or close enough to 'everyone') can afford to do IPv6, then IPv6 will 
happen quickly.  Those are the two ends of the 'affordability' vs. 
'implementation speed' continuum.  

Tactically, can I afford to do IPv6?  No; and it's mostly a labor issue, even 
though hardware and software upgrades must be purchased.  Tactically, can I 
afford to not do IPv6?  Yes.  The cost of not implementing in the tactical 
short-term is not yet enough to offset the cost of implementing, although both 
costs go up the longer the delay is.  

Strategically, can I afford to do IPv6?  Hopefully, but it might require some 
creative budgeting (hmm, IPv6, or replace the batteries in the UPS's....).   
Strategically, can I afford to not do IPv6?  Of course not; my strategic plan 
must involve IPv6 in some way; it's been in the strategic plan for a while, 
now, in both Porsche and Volkswagen editions (flat 6 vs flat 4...sorry for the 
arcane pun).

But I've got to keep my fiscal head above water before I can implement the 
strategic plan, otherwise there won't be a strategic plan or even a need for a 
strategic plan.  

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