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Enterprises ‘resisting’ IPv6 switch

Businesses ignoring hype and industry pressure over move to IPv6, analysis shows

Enterprises ‘resisting’ IPv6 switch
The current crop of IPv4 addresses is running out, some say

Enterprises are resisting the temptation to move their web operations to the IPv6 standard, despite pressure from the IT and telecoms industries, an analyst firm's report has claimed.

A study published by IT market watcher Ovum has disclosed that businesses currently see little reason to begin the transition to IPv6.

"There may be a degree of ‘head in sand' mentality among enterprises, but our research stands in glaring contrast to the industry's efforts to promote IPv6 over the past several years," said Mike Sapien, Ovum principal analyst and report author. "Furthermore, our research suggests that many enterprise customers think they are already using IPv6, when they are not."

IPv6, or Internet Protocol version six, is the successor to IPv4, the system for assigning numeric addresses to internet-enabled devices, such as computers, web servers and smartphones. As more devices become connected to the internet, the requirement for numeric IP addresses grows correspondingly.

Figures quoted by Ovum suggest that IPv6 currently accounts for less than 3% of all internet traffic.

In recent months, the IT industry has been busy trumping up the importance of IPv6. In June, some of IT's best-known vendors participated in ‘IPv6 Day', an event organised by the non-profit Internet Society and designed to emphasise the urgency of moving to IPv6. In February 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority issued the final blocks of IPv4 addresses. At the time, it was suggested that these addresses would be exhausted within three to six months.

However, according to Ovum, there is a perception among businesses "that there are still plenty of IPv4 addresses available", and moving to IPv6 will provide no tangible return on investment.

Mega-trends such as accessing web applications through smartphones and intelligent mobile devices may drive future uptake, Ovum reckons.

Some in the industry are taking a measured approach towards the matter. Alberto Soto, head of EMEA at networking vendor Brocade, recently told Network Middle East magazine that there was "no compelling reason to do anything right away" in terms of enterprises and IPv6.

"Companies should start looking into it. They should try to understand what are the intermediary steps they have to take, but there is nothing that will stop their operations overnight," he said. "Just get the right information, make a plan and just execute against this plan in a period that could last between one year and three years."

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