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100% IPv4 Utilization

100% IPv4 Utilization is a short term solution. We outline the problems encountered by those who have have forged head with insufficient research. 6Connect makes transitions an opportunity for improvement, instead of an invitation to crisis. There has been increasing interest from enterprises seeking IPAM / DNS tools. The trend is becoming clear – IPv6 adoption and the need for automation software & tools will follow the Internet ecosystem’s supply chain starting with service providers (consisting of ISPs, I/PaaS and ASPs) then content providers, then enterprises – with demand ultimately driven by consumers increasing apatite for connected devices and services.

It has given us a chance to revisit and reflect thru many TCP/IP protocol standards – why they were implemented in the first place, how they eventually were used and then what that would mean in the transition to IPv6 (in the context of not just service providers but enterprises as well). IPv4 address space utilization has also, ironically, become the primary driver for enterprises to seek automation tools.

There are now an overwhelming number of enterprises put their need for IPv4 scanning and assigning as the only requirement of IPAM/DNS & DHCP.

Why this is a problem now

IPv4 is nearly exhausted – while there are remaining addresses to be had, prices will continue to increase as demand increases over dwindling supply.

Error rates found in the ‘typical’ enterprise is high. So much so that a migration to IPv6 will be disastrous without first normalizing data in the v4 network.

IP Address Management is the first real step to gaining control over the network to be able to gain true and accurate network visibility – but most enterprises have spreadsheets as their IPAM tool.

During next few years, some address space will become available for purchase but admins will still need to justify with proof (80% utilization) to the RIRs as Microsoft recently discovered with ARIN.

Mistakes we are seeing

Admins are finding solutions to meet “internal policies/procedures” and not establishing IPAM based procedures and protocols. The two most common mistakes we are seeing are –

1) Not thinking about IPv6 at all.

2) Using RFC 1918 yet not thinking about how that goes away in IPv6.

Conclusions

Seek an IPAM solution as the first step in IP reclamation, data normalization, and network discovery. You don’t know what you can’t see.

Poor stewardship of IP addresses is not an admin’s fault, but lack of preparation without an IPAM tool will set the stage for a potentially difficult series of challenges as v6 approaches.

Waiting for v6 to come as the impetus for change is a recipe for potentially significant risk exposure. Implementing an IPAM tool today to manage v4 space creates a platform for the inevitable “sea change” coming, while providing much better management of current network space.

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