IPV6 in enterprise best practices/white papaers

Jay Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Tue Jan 29 19:09:59 UTC 2013

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Doug Barton" <dougb at dougbarton.us>

> > IPv4 is mature enough that for small to medium sized networks, the
> > answer is "you plug everything in".
> >
> > My appraisal of v6 is that it's an order of magnitude (or two) more
> > complex than that, both in 'attack' surface and interoperability issues.
> >
> > But, I suppose, it took me a couple years to really learn IPv4 well.
> >
> > That said, *having* learned IPv4 relatively well, I remain surprised
> > that there's as much additional (perceived) complexity in v6.

> You have perfectly illustrated one of the largest barriers to IPv6
> adoption. You of course know that if you were to go into a greenfield
> IPv4 deployment the answer would not be "just plug everything in."

Depends on how big your "deployment" is.  For a small office -- say, 100 
PCs or less; something that will fit in what I will catch schidt for 
referring to as a "Class C" :-) -- with a single current generation 
consumer market edge NAT router, then yes, in fact, you Just Plug It All

Yes, I realize, that approach does not apply to "being Road Runner".  :-)

> You'd
> have to figure out how to split your allocated space (and/or 1918
> space)
> into reasonable networks, decided which networks get DHCP, assign IP
> helpers, carve out p-t-p links, etc. etc. But because you've done that
> a
> million times, and all the terminology and factors to consider are
> well
> known to you, in effect it amounts to, "just plug everything in."

Well, no, not really.  As you note, of course, most of those things
are reflexes for most network engineering types, but certainly they 
took a while to get there.

> Whereas, with IPv6 you have most, if not all of the same factors to
> consider, but there is some marginal added complexity around things like
> SLAAC/RA, some different terminology, binary math in hex instead of
> octal, network sizes are many orders of magnitude larger, etc. So the
> net effect is that even though "under the hood" it's not all that
> different, it all feels new and strange. And we all know how humans
> react to things that are new and strange. :)

I think "marginal added complexity" is probably a polite understatement;
my apprehension of IPv6 is that they decided they had to fix *lots* of
problems which almost nobody actually had, *in addition* to fixing
the one which actually was a problem: address length.

In consequence of that, IPv6 feels to me like it has a bad case of what
Fred Brooks would call Second System Syndrome.

> My point in asking you to provide the equivalent link for IPv4 is to
> show that there isn't one, nor could there be. You can't give someone
> a cookie-cutter IPv4 network layout because the unique factors that they
> have to consider will prevent that. The same is true for IPv6. What you
> _can_ do, for both protocols, is to teach people best practices around
> the key issues, and help and guidance along the way. There are lots of
> lists that exist to do this with v6. One of the best is
> ipv6-ops at lists.cluenet.de. If people are interested in learning more
> about v6 by osmosis that's a good list to lurk on. It's medium traffic,
> but high signal::noise, and any discussions you are not interested in
> you can just delete.

You seem to be suggesting, though, to drag the conversation back where 
I started it, that there is *so much new stuff* with IPv6 that it's 
difficult *even for old hats with IPv4* to learn it by analogy.

If that's what you mean, then I agree with you. :-)

(Yes, yes, I am coming late to this argument; the networks I'm responsible
are historically relatively small.  IPv6 connectivity has been troublesome
to acquire except at the last couple.)

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                  Baylink                       jra at baylink.com
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates     http://baylink.pitas.com         2000 Land Rover DII
St Petersburg FL USA               #natog                      +1 727 647 1274

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