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IPv6 transition framework for the enterprise

Brian Heder, Network World | June 9, 2011
If all the excitement about IPv6 has finally convinced you to take a serious look at what's involved in the transition, you'll want to start with this framework.

1. Box-level components: typically a physical or virtual device with CPU and memory resources. These should be assigned to more junior-level contributors, as they are typically simpler and more straightforward. Examples: a particular router, a physical or virtual server, etc.

2. System-level components: a protocol or application that abstracts the underlining hardware on which it runs. These should be assigned to more senior-level contributors, as they can be quite complex. Examples: a routing architecture, a network or server monitoring solution, etc.

Defining scope

During the first phase of the transition (Internet-facing content), it is important for you to clearly define the scope of the information gathering exercise to your TA leads, and likewise for your TA leads to clearly define the scope to the contributors on their teams. As contributors fill out their worksheets, they will more than likely run into gray areas in the scope definition ("Is this component in scope or not?").It is important to have an open line of communication between the contributors and their TA lead, and likewise between the TA leads and you. You will undoubtedly run into scope questions that will force you to draw a line in the sand as a particular component may not clearly fall in or out of scope.

Don't bite off more than you can chew in the first transition phase. Rather, just focus on the minimal subset of components needed to meet your Phase 1 goal. Everything else can be addressed during the second phase, after you already have a successful first phase transition under your belt.

Once all the worksheets are completed and turned in, you can use them to paint a picture of IPv6 readiness across the enterprise, and to reveal exactly what you will need to do to execute the rollout. This picture is critical in the next step of your IPv6 rollout.

If your organization is like most, you will probably be pleasantly surprised to find that many of your components are ready to support IPv6 with only minor changes, and that very little (if any) capital expenditure will be required. The main reason for this is the fact that vendors have been rolling out support for IPv6 for the past 10 years or so, and most organizations will have already been incorporating this support over the past few cycles.

With IPv6 readiness fully assessed, you are now equipped to dive in and begin planning and executing the rollout.

Plan and execute

It is now time for the fun part: planning and executing your transition. In this task, you will use the information gathered to develop a step-by-step plan for making the transition happen. There is nothing magical or mysterious about this step. Like any other project, proper management and organization are going to be keys to success.


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