06-08-2011 03:15 PM
As Service Providers, I know most of you are aware of the near depletion of IPv4 addresses due to the proliferation of new devices on the network and the dilemma this has raised for future growth. And, I know there are concerns in migrating to IPv6 due to potential network compatibility and seamless network connectivity issues. However, if we put all of these network issues aside and focus on the positive, could you see IPv6 as a key enabler to improving profitability?
I think you will find that the expanded business potential will far outweigh any network concerns. Not only will IPv6 allow you to continue to support the unprecented demand for network addresses due to the variety of devices ( IPADs, PDAs, PCs, IPhones) attaching to the network, but it provides the security, efficiency and performance enhancements that can be leveraged as value add to your end users.
So if we remove the technological barriers with Brocade supported options like dual stack, tunneling, and Network address translation allowing IPv4 and IPv6 networks coexistence, and seamless interoperability, then you can focus on the business benefits. Some of these examples are;
- IPv6 can help your customers improve efficiency via real time information
In manufacturing sectors for example, IPv6 can help provide better inventory control through real time information that is quickly carried over the network. The timely access to this information will allow production planning to meet customer demand more accurately which will help lower their cost by reducing inventory.
- IPv6 can provide performance based information
IPv6 can support extensive sensor networks which can provide information on the actual usage of an item or performance level for maintenance tracking. In addition this data from the network can be mined for better market intelligence. For example, I learned yesterday on the IDC/Brocade IPv6 Webinar that Coca-Cola is making smart vending machines with sensors. The result is two-fold; it will allow a customer to pick what flavor beverage they want and build the combination, and it will also enable Coca-cola to gather data on beverage usage levels and their locations. This data that is carried over an IPv6 network will allow Coca-cola to properly market their brands where the demand is. This trend of deploying smart devices with sensors spans across multiple sectors. Many buildings can deploy this for climate control and automatically schedule maintenance based on usage and performance data. In addition, Government agencies can track their vehicles and determine their locations as well as properly schedule maintenance on these vehicles when it is needed .
- IPv6 can help link market information to product capacity
For example, the linking of market data to production capacity will allow companies to be more responsive to their customers and market needs through the use of this digital control technology. They will be able to determine how much product they should build and where it s should be deployed based on customer demands.
These applications are just a few examples on how you can leverage the business benefits that your IPv6 network will provide to your end users. I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you see these business and operational benefits as a way to reach out to your customers with IPv6?
08-08-2011 03:16 PM
While I see the benefits to certain corporations due to the wide availability of IP space that v6 offers, I don't really see it as a profit vector for standard service providers in the industry. I think that a majority of customers (ie. content creators) don't really care what is under the hood or how they get to their end users...only that it does. I liken the v4-v6 conversion on the internet for service providers to the analogy of the American freeway system. Most people don't care if the road is concrete, asphalt, or a concrete base covered in asphalt. They just want the freeway open, usable and uncongested.
With that being said, I think that due to the resource demand that hardware vendors face supporting dual stack v4/v6 will eventually come to a head. It will eventually make more sense for vendors to diversify their hardware and have devices that just support v6 for the companies that are ready for it. This in turn will drive the industry to adopt the new standard and move on so we can stick IPv4 on the shelf with rip, appletalk, and decnet where it belongs.
08-09-2011 06:40 PM
Thanks for your valid points. I can understand your views since you are on the transport side of the network and you aren’t focused on the service delivery aspect in terms of what value you can market to your customers leveraging the network. As a former OSS and NMS manager my mind is ingrained to think at a higher level and the value to the end user. So as I mentioned, a network that utilizes IPv6 can be positioned to end users as the way for them to increase profitability in the way they deliver their services and products. A manufacturing customer may be able to improve productivity by having a better handle on his inventory through better data management which will result in a cost savings to him and better profit margins. A retail customer may be able to have quicker access to their point of sale reports and a better understanding of what items they need to restock based on the high volume of sales. The emphasis on the network based on IPv6 and the ability to provide value to your end user enables you key differentiation against your competition If I use your freeway analogy, I do choose certain routes based on less traffic, but also based on nicer rest areas, and easier exit and entrance ramps to restaurants so essentially I do choose based on some value add. In today’s competitive environment it’s all about thinking outside the box and providing innovative ways to grow the business.
One other thing that I think we should not minimize is that the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses is a real problem that is not only a networking problem. This issue impacts network engineers, system administrators, application owners and developers, as well as DBAs. So if we include these other constituencies it perhaps gives us another target audience for your marketing folks to pitch to when promoting the value of your network based on IPv6.