For IPv6 transition, 2008 starts now

OMB tells agencies to assess impact<br>

CIO Council guide helps agencies plan for IPv6 transition

The council says agencies, in their strategic plans, should identify:

  • The strategic drivers for IPv6 adoption, including specific goals

  • How IPv6 could benefit specific lines of business to achieve im-proved performance

  • How IPv6 could benefit cross-agency LOBs, such as improving the communications infrastructure for first responders

  • The impact IPv6 will have on organization planning, budgeting, procurement and human resources management and

  • Performance objectives for IPv6 transition programs.

How many IP addresses?

One benefit of IPv6 will be a huge expansion in the number of unique IP addresses. The raw number:
340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456


or


3.4 X 1038


or


340 undecillion

In practice only 85 percent of the addresses can be used, with the other 15 percent reserved for special purposes. Still, this is approximately 4 billion times 4 billion times 4 billion times the size of the IPv4 address space.

Source: Nathaniel Clark, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

How will IP Version 6 change the way your agency does business? Not sure? Too early to tell, you say?

Well, the Office of Management and Budget and the CIO Council want CIOs, chief architects and program managers to start figuring out the impact of this new technology well before the June 2008 deadline OMB has set for agencies to move to IPv6.

'We want agencies to approach this from the business and functions that are carried out,' said an OMB official, who requested anonymity. 'We asked agencies to look at Lines of Business and determine what are the benefits that could be derived from the technology for your LOBs.'

In a planning guide issued last month, the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee detailed the steps agencies should take to integrate IPv6 into their strategic plans and enterprise architectures. Agencies have until February to update their baseline and target architectures, which OMB will evaluate against the EA Assessment Framework Version 2.0. OMB was supposed to have released the framework in No- vember, but it is delayed, officials said.

OMB also expects agencies to complete their IPv6 transition plans and progress reports by February.

IPv6, the new generation of Internet Protocols, represents significant improvements in functionality and security over the 30-year-old IPv4 still mostly in use. Making the transition is expected to be a steady, sometimes difficult process that requires hardware and software upgrades, training, and policy changes.

The CIO Council planning guide is the first of four documents that the committee will produce to help agencies move to the new technology.

The other planning documents will address key transition elements, such as infrastructure and networking, applications, information assurance, testing and training, the CIO Council said.

The guide follows a pattern typical of OMB in moving agencies toward a difficult goal.

'OMB decreed that we do this, therefore we have to ask ourselves: How can we leverage this for our mission or for the Lines of Business or e-government?' said John Sullivan, the chief architect for the Environmental Protection Agency. 'We have to prioritize what has to be done and how we will use IPv6.'

IPv6 will affect every part of an agency's enterprise architecture, with its integration into the Business Reference Model being the most challenging part, experts said.

'There will be heavy lifting in the Technical Reference Model, but there also will be significant implications for how you design components and services as well,' said Reynolds Cahoon, National Ar-chives and Records Ad- ministration CIO and co-chairman of the Architecture and Infrastructure Committee.

Federal and industry experts said most agencies should begin by looking at their wide area network infrastructure, including domain name servers and routers.

'You probably should start off with your technical architecture and devise a macro implementation plan,' Sullivan said. 'Determine what needs to go to IPv6 first and move toward the application layer.'

Cahoon said the infrastructure has to be stable to use IPv6 well and that requires a level of visibility that CIOs would not get if they didn't integrate it with their EAs and strategic plans.

The real benefits of IPv6 will occur in the application layer, said Nathaniel Clark, an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of Mc- Lean, Va.

Clark said agencies should think of IPv6 as a foundational technology that could affect how their programs use handheld devices or voice over IP.

'What the CIO Council is asking agencies to do is all about staging and sequencing,' said Michael Farber, a vice president with Booz Allen. 'Agencies are setting their strategies to define what types of staging and sequencing they will follow to bring in IPv6 and what risks there are and what benefits can be had.'

EPA's Sullivan said determining where IPv6 fits into the business process and where the biggest returns on investment will come from are his agency's'and probably most others''biggest challenge.

Cahoon added that IPv6 offers significant opportunities for agencies and therefore 'a significant level of planning' is needed.

The CIO Council's goal is to get agencies to start thinking about this by asking them to include IPv6 into other areas besides their strategic plans and EA. The planning guide re- minds CIOs to integrate the new technology into their capital planning and investment control process, their IT implementation improvement and their business process and service im- provement analyses.

'The Defense Department and intelligence agencies have an obvious need for IPv6,' said Jim Benson, a principal with Booz Allen. 'They are mobile and need mobile devices that are connected to the Internet. For the civilian space, they need to define their needs and transform the way they do business.'

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above