CIO council adds to IPv6 transition primer

Latest chapters give guidance, but some question its level of detail

When transitioning to IPv6, agencies should identify:

  • Strategic business objectives
  • Transition priorities
  • Transition activities
  • Training needs
  • Transition milestones
  • Transition criteria for legacy,
    upgraded and new capabilities
  • Means for adjudicating claims
    that an asset should not transition
    in prescribed timeframes
  • Technical strategy and selection
    of transition mechanisms
    to support IPv4/IPv6 interoperability
  • Maintenance of interoperability
    and security during transition
  • Use of IPv6 standards and
  • Support for IPv4 infrastructure
    during and after 2008
    IPv6 network backbone

    Source: CIO Council's IPv6 Transition Guidance

  • 'The big takeaway is to get to that consistent set of definitions and terminology so we're all working on the same problem and scope.' JOHN MCMANUS, AIC SUBCOMMITTEE ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

    Rick Steele

    As the CIO Council
    and Office of Management and
    Budget help map out the June
    2008 transition to IP Version 6,
    perhaps the biggest challenge is
    that they're entering unfamiliar

    In the newest additions to the
    IPv6 Transition Guidance, the
    council's Architecture and Infrastructure
    Committee has provided
    a list of best practices and
    transition elements that agencies
    should use as they work to meet
    the deadline.

    'The big takeaway is to get to
    that consistent set of definitions
    and terminology so we're all
    working on the same problem
    and scope,' said John McManus,
    NASA's chief technology officer
    and chairman of AIC's subcommittee
    on emerging technology.

    The document 'gives people a
    common structure and common
    set of terms.'

    But the document itself stated
    that there are few success stories
    to draw from because of the limited
    experience in IPv6 transition,
    meaning that, for the most part,
    agencies could be on their own.

    '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 document said.

    These unknowns have some industry
    officials concerned that
    the definitions in the guidebook
    are not specific enough and do
    not connect with the initial
    guidebook's release tying agency
    transition plans to their enterprise

    The transition elements are
    more a list of concerns and what
    to look out for instead of specific
    solutions, said Walt Grabowski,
    senior director of network solutions
    at SI International of
    Reston, Va., the company
    managing the Defense Department's

    OMB and the council released
    the first chapter of the
    guidance last November, urging
    agencies to incorporate the transition
    to IPv6 in their enterprise
    architectures. OMB also required
    agencies to complete IPv6
    progress reports in February. By
    June 30, they are to complete an
    inventory of IP-aware applications
    and peripherals on their
    network backbones, and produce
    an IPv6 transition impact analysis
    [GCN, Dec. 12, 2005, Page 1].

    The latest additions, released in
    May, are 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.

    For instance, the document
    urged agencies to perform adequate
    testing and training to
    ensure that the transition is

    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.

    Agencies will need to replicate
    security applications being used
    in the current IPv4, 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
    intra-network communications.

    But the document lacks
    specifics, Grabowski said, which
    could leave agencies hanging as
    they incorporate IPv6 transition
    plans into their EAs.

    Grabowski said the transition
    elements section does not have
    the larger enterprise architectural

    McManus, though, said the
    guidance was well vetted within
    the council and various IPv6
    working groups, and he disputes
    any notion that it is incomplete.
    'We have done a tremendous
    amount of outreach,' he said. 'We
    put the definitions out there' for
    public comment.

    Grabowksi said the document
    is a good beginning and will need
    to mature as the transition becomes
    a reality.

    'It's a good start, you're starting
    from nothing,' Grabowksi said.

    'I would expect the level of understanding, maturity and depth will match the enterprise architecture view of this.'


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