IPv6: Managed Services Opportunity or Pure Hype?

IPv6: Managed Services Opportunity or Pure Hype?

World IPv6 Launch Day is June 6. It sounds like ISPs, cloud services providers (CSPs) and web companies -- including Akamai, AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo -- are rallying to "permanently enable" IPv6 for their products and related services by June 6. Jumping on the bandwagon, SolarWinds today launched version 3.o of its IP Address Manager (IPAM) -- which can help MSPs to develop IPv6 migration plans for customers. Should MSPs jump in?

In addition to SolarWinds, companies like Infoblox and Bluecat Networks (among others) also sell IPv6 migration solutions. The big questions:

  • Can MSPs actually profit from IPv6 customer deployments?
  • Does IPv6 offer additional upside benefits to MSPs?
  • Or is the World IPv6 Launch Day more of a marketing hype event?
SolarWinds, for one, seems to see IPv6 revenue opportunities for MSPs. The company's IPAM 3.0 release claims to give "IT professionals detailed visibility and management of their IP infrastructures, helping them better manage their networks and minimize downtime."

The upgrade also allows MSPs to centrally manage Microsoft DHCP servers, while monitoring Microsoft DNS and Cisco DHCP services. SolarWinds points to ever-increasing endpoints -- mobile devices, virtualized services, IP telephony and more -- that will need to be managed in an IPv6 world.

Still, only about 3 percent of domain names and 12 percent of network on the Internet offered IPv6 protocol support as of October 2011, according to Mike Leber, an IPv6 expert. But the U.S. Federal Government is starting to require IPv6 support on IT equipment, plus cell phone carriers have been promoting IPv6 support mandates for smart phones since around 2009.

How far along are top MSPs with IPv6? I've got a confession: I don't know. And I also don't know if major manged services software providers and RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers offer IPv6 migration/support tools for their MSPs. But I'm all ears.
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