Paradigm Shift at the IPv6 Business Conference 2016

While many organizations still plan their IPv6 address space,  early adopters already deal with the optimization of existing applications and launching new services in their IPv6-only or dual-stack infrastructure. The 2016 Edition of the IPv6 Business Conference, which took place in the Arena Sihlcity in Zurich on June 16, has dedicated a third track to Applications on IPv6. The major topic in the keynote of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, presented by Tahar Schaa, was about the upcoming "Paradigm Shift" in the Internet.

Find all slides from the IPv6 Business Conference 2016 here...

Tahar Schaa, Senior Consultat at Cassini, advises the German Federal Ministry of the Interior in the deployment of IPV6 in the public administration. The world of the Internet is growing and the world of Internet users is chaniing. Besides traditional ISPs citizens join with more and more smart home solutions, enterprises with Industry 4.0 solutions, enterprises with active in global markets and public administration are becoming contributing members to the Internet. IPv6 is a foundational element of all this change.

The Magic Moment
The German network project is different in size and in complexity of transition projects in private companies, but not in essence. An IPv6 project must leave no stone unturned. You will find legacy applications, redundancies, undocumented middleware and rickety interfaces. "An IPv6 implementation does not fail because of technology, but because we are not aware of the history of our infrastructure and the processes in our organization. Since 50 years, the networks grew virtually uncontrolled. With IPv6 we have the chance to recreate everything anew. We must learn to see the deployment of IPv6 as a magic moment, and as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, "said Tahar Schaa in an interview with the Swiss IPv6 Council.

Stephanie Schuller, Infrastructure Implementation Manager at Linkedin, finds similar words when we asked her for the most important, positive outputs of her three previous IPv6 launches. "The auditing of our data flows brought by far the greatest benefit. The IPv6 introduction forced us to eliminate duplication. Now our systems are optimized, documented and run much more efficiently than before - not mainly because they work over IPv6, but because we cleaned everything up."

Interdisciplinary and team across
Asked about success factors, her opinion is clear: "We need to bring the teams together. IPv6 deployment affects the applications that interact with the customer and thus touches directly our sales relevant business. First I bring the right people from all business divisions at a table, we describe the problem, then we turn to the appropriate sponsor of the executive management, which releases the budget. After that, we develop designs for the solution in the interdisciplinary team."

She continues: „The good thing is that people in the working groups start to network, to understand the other's perspective and to coordinate their operation. Many labs from the test times of IPv6 pilots still exist today, new cross-team scenarios are regularly tested on these training systems and taken into operation.“ LinkedIn works with agile methods such as Scrum and Kanban.

Paradigm Shift
"The Internet of Things gets cheaper and cheaper. A sensor according to ITF Standard costs only 3 euro. These small sensors are now en masse installed anywhere. But they have to be operated and secured. New types of attacks are possible. This is the paradigm shift. At a global level. IPv6 gives us the foundation and technology to forge new ways and to explore new paradigms in the assessment and solution of issues.

IT Infrastructure at your Fingertips
If an IT infrastructure with almost unlimited number of access points via IPv6 should be the basis for the solution of our future problems, the question arises who provides this infrastructure? If access can be controlled and created only at extremely high cost of resourced market participants, a question mark comes in about the effectiveness of this approach. Manuel Schweizer, CEO of AG, has answers. He launched his new offer "IPv6 server in 10 seconds" in time for the IPv6 conference.

On his platform an SME sets up his virtual server by answering five or six questions, checks the box "enable IPv6" and is then public on the Internet with an IPv6 address in seconds - and this for one franc per day in their cheapest model. So far, his offer is primarily used by service providers in the developer area developing and supporting applications for their end users. "Private Networks, Backups, a simple API and reverse DNS are next on our roadmap. Thus, everyone can have his own network, set up his mail and web server, cloud storage, Wiki or phone system over IPv6 with a few mouse clicks, "says Manuel Schweizer about the vision of his company.

The African Lion grows
Since the mentioned paradigm change is a global phenomen, or - in other words - as it should be such that all contribute to the solution of global challenges, let’s take a look at the African continent. Although Africa is the only continental zone still having  IPv4 addresses, there is no way to ignore IPv6. While in the US every inhabitant disposes virtually 5 IPv4 addresses, it is only 0.2 per head in Africa. "When you consider that mobile penetration since 2010 has approximately quintupled, it is clear that IPv4 addresses quickly represent the limiting factor," says Mukom Tamon, Head Capacity Development, AFRINIC. 

The connection to the Internet is now available especially in coastal areas, while the backbones are gradually pushed into the interior of private companies and individual governments in this big continent. In countries such as Nigeria and Uganda mobile traffic of the growing middle class, which now can afford smartphones, explodes. A great advantage of the African Internet development is that you can build new infrastructure from the outset of the latest technology without complex software legacy. "Access to the Internet in residential area often goes via 4G / LTE. The telcos sell CPEs for dial in. The business case for a physical line is not given in Africa. This advantge in speed should be exploited," explains Mukom Tamon.

Although in Africa there are still many phones in circulation which are at best 3G-voice-capable, mobile micro-payment services and e-commerce providers are booming. The African counterpart to Amazon called Jumia operates in twelve countries. On smartphones Skype and Whatsapp is used for calls, which massively increases the VoIP data flow. "The African lion is awakened, the growth figures are enormous. We at AfriNIC see ourselves as evangelists for IPv6 and a stable Internet infrastructure. My job is to provide free training for technicians, but also for ISP and Telco Manager, where I show the business case and the policies of and for IPv6."

IPv6 for a better future?
IPv6 as a protocol or infrastructure component is value-free in its core. It only lays the foundation for a network with access to information that should be available to all citizens: Rethinking basic democracy, with all its positive and negative symptoms – a platform for good and for bad, it has to be so, because infrastructure must provide but not influence the value decisions.

Is IPv6 also delivering a better future for companies? The case stuides in this conference have showed amazing insights : not the new infrastructure is the business case, but the way to get there, the reflection of the processes and data flows, the break-up of old, historically grown blockages and the design of new architectures and services. IPv6 changes the foundation of an enterprise network at a deep level - in the basement so to speak - and no stone should lay unturned when it does not fit anymore. It has never been a good idea to create new houses on an old basement.

Pictures and short presentation of the interviewed experts...

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