The IPv4 crisis caused a major problem for developing countries that were already short of IPv4 addresses. But many US and European companies with a large IPv4 customer base prefer to delay the transition to IPv6 as long as they do not need to reach emerging markets.
However, this decision omits certain key factors, including the fact that, since 2008, the world economy has been centred on the Asia-Pacific region: China and other countries in this region have overtaken many European countries in terms of economic importance, and in many sectors, companies must take these and other emerging countries into account to ensure their profitability.
In addition, there is an explosion in the number of IP-based devices in all countries. The original IPv4 model assumed a relatively static environment and predicted a unique IPv4 address for about two-thirds of the world's population, which seemed like a lot (this estimate was based on the assumption of a PC on every worker's desk). But it did not take into account the additional addresses needed for home PCs, SIP phones, laptops, iPads, smartphones, millions of gaming consoles, IP-based alarm systems, etc. The estimate was based on the assumption of one PC on each worker's desk. As a result, even for companies that do not operate abroad, the proliferation of local devices will soon exhaust the remaining stock of addresses.
In any case, if your company's presence relies only on IPv4, you will only be able to communicate with devices that have an IPv4 address. For an increasing number of pure IPv6 devices, you will be invisible.
Although purchasing power is experiencing ups and downs in Europe and the United States, it continues to rise in Asia and other emerging markets. Western luxury brands continue to play a major role around the world. They therefore need to develop their presence in regions where wealth is growing, which means they need to prepare for the transition to IPv6. To some extent, this also applies to most retail companies.
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In an entirely different field, the most prestigious Western higher education institutions, such as Cambridge in the UK, Harvard in the US, and many other American and European universities, enjoy an excellent brand image in the eyes of the rest of the world and dominate the ranking of international institutions. Forced cuts in funding for scholarships and other student aid mean that international students will become a vital source of income. As a result, these institutions are competing to attract students from emerging markets.
There is not only the question of visibility to potential students. Teaching activity itself is increasingly dematerialised and it is possible to follow courses and obtain qualifications via the Internet anywhere in the world. This trend is demonstrated, for example, by the willingness of the European Union to develop e-Learning and e-Administration. The maintenance of the student population therefore relies on the transition to IPv6.
In the manufacturing sector, the problem is not so much entering new markets as maintaining maximum operational efficiency. Indeed, industrial processes are increasingly outsourced to countries such as China, Korea or India. This global manufacturing and the partnerships that accompany it require a global IPv6 presence.
There are also special cases that require the transition to IPv6. For example, a major car manufacturer has implemented IP connectivity in all its vehicles worldwide so that maintenance and key operating parameters (such as fuel consumption, oil level or tire pressure) can be continuously monitored as part of a service contract. This proliferation of IP addresses requires good preparation for IPv6. The company therefore had to adapt its network to handle the longer IPv6 addresses and the complexity of double-stack addressing.
IPv6 addressing opens up a new world where a plethora of home and business devices will have their own IP address, from alarm systems to set-top boxes. Manufacturers preparing for this revolution will follow suit.
This is a major change. But the latest IP address management and DNS automation solutions will reduce the risk of human error, simplify migration and make change management in networks more transparent.
Governments are also keenly aware of the competitive advantage of early adoption of IPv6. More and more public initiatives are being launched, notably in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, but also in Turkey and Spain recently. They aim at promoting and even financing the national adoption of IPv6.
Full migration is a long-term investment, but IPv6 readiness strategy should already be on the agenda in most companies.
Infoblox is a world leader in automated computer network control solutions. The company's specialized physical and virtual system platforms combine real-time IP address management (IPAM) with network control, configuration and modification capabilities. Infoblox solutions help more than 5,400 end users achieve more dynamic and reliable networks, efficient operations and increased value from their virtualization and cloud computing initiatives. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and also operates in 30 countries.
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