Peter Tseronis and Warren Suss | Make the IPv6 transition work for you
IT Infrastructure | Guest commentary | Ask not what you can do for IPv6, but what IPv6 can do for you
An alert to federal IT managers ' the final exam for transitioning to IPv6 is due on June 30, 2008. But by getting ready and seizing opportunities now, you can reduce your pain and increase your agency's gain at this milestone in the Office of Management and Budget's campaign to move federal agencies to IPv6.
We could tell you about why IPv6 will be good for you and good for the country. We could talk about how IPv6's 340 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion addresses will enable the next-generation Internet to provide ubiquitous communications; end-to-end security; and mobile, ad-hoc networking.
But that's like saying you should do your homework because it will be good for you someday. For many, the IPv6 vision and promise remain a tough sell. Instead of focusing on the killer application(s) or debating do we or don't we, agencies should focus on using OMB's deadline to advance important strategic and tactical goals.
Don't let the IPv6 tail wag your agency's enterprise
A key way to do that is by applying the Enterprise Architecture Framework and its provisions about the modernization of information technology infrastructure. Don't let the IPv6 tail wag your agency's enterprise architecture dog.
OMB's mandate represents an opportunity for agencies to take advantage of the next-generation Internet. If you need to upgrade specific network elements to achieve total-cost-of-ownership objectives, new devices that are IPv6-compliant will be an important consideration.
Keep in mind that the mandate will involve more than just buying new hardware and software. Every agency will need to develop transition, testing and training plans in addition to other materials to help manage the IPv6 implementation. However, agencies will get more bang for their IT buck if their IPv6 plans are integrated with plans for other programs, such as the General Services Administration's Networx service offerings.
Networx, in fact, offers the promise of help. Federal IT program managers shouldn't hesitate to lean on Networx vendors to help remedy many of their IPv6 headaches. Remember, IPv6 compliance will be built into Networx services ' as required by GSA ' making Networx vendors logical partners in the heavy lifting.
Your IPv6 compliance plans can also help advance your agency's information security objectives. By ensuring network devices are secure under IPv6 guidelines, you are also ensuring the long-term viability of your security investments.
One last note for your IPv6 crib sheet: The transition is as much about leadership as it is about technology. Government IT managers have a unique opportunity to use the IPv6 mandate in justifying their agencies' technology modernization initiatives and substantiating 'to-be' enterprise architectures. In the process, the OMB mandate affords government the opportunity to blaze a trail and lead the charge into a new generation of technological possibilities. The world will be watching.
The move to IPv6 preparedness by June 30, 2008, is as much about transformation as it is about transition.Peter Tseronis is director of network services at the Education Department (peter. firstname.lastname@example.org). Warren Suss is president of Suss Consulting, based in Jenkintown, Pa. (warren.suss@ sussconsulting.com).