CIO Council offers best practices on IPv6 transition

Agencies need to identify best practices and leverage intergovernmental resources as they prepare for the June 2008 transition to Internet Protocol version 6, the CIO Council said.

But this will not be an easy task, the Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee said in the latest chapter to its IPv6 Transition Guide, because there is not much for the government to use as a reference.

'Since IPv6 is the 'next generation' Internet protocol and introduces new standards, agencies are faced with the challenge of limited IPv6 transition 'success stories' on which to model their enterprise transformation strategy,' the guide said.

The first chapter, released last November, urged agencies to incorporate the transition to IPv6 in their enterprise architectures. Agencies were also required by the Office of Management and Budget to complete IPv6 progress reports in February and, by June 30, complete an inventory of IP-aware applications and peripherals on the network backbone, plus an IPv6 transition impact analysis.

The latest addition, released earlier this month, serves as a compilation of existing recommendations and best practices gathered from the Defense Department, which has been testing and preparing for the transition for years, the private sector, and the Internet research and development community.

The components of an IPv6 transition plan should include:
  • Identification of strategic business objectives
  • Identification of transition priorities
  • Identification of transition activities
  • Transition milestones
  • Transition criteria for legacy, upgraded and new capabilities
  • Means for adjudicating claims that an asset should not transition in prescribed timeframes; and, among others
  • Technical strategy and selection of transition mechanisms to support IPv4/IPv6 interoperability.

Agencies also must perform adequate testing and training to ensure that the transition is successful, the council said.

Also, agencies must start developing an information security plan in accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act and other government statutes, the council said.

Security applications being used in the current IP environment'IPv4'will need to be replicated, the council said, and agencies must identify public-key infrastructure, key management and policy management infrastructures that meet the scalability and security verification requirements for intranetwork communications.

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