At 00:00 UTC on June 8th, vendors, service and content providers around the world will turn on full IPv6 services on their main Web sites as part of the World IPv6 Day.
Among the many vendors that are participating in the event is Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR). Juniper already has an IPv6 version of its main Web site available at ipv6.juniper.net, but on June 8th, for the first time, they’ll make their main www.juniper.net Web site accessible over both IPv4 and IPv6.
The path that Juniper has taken to enable IPv6 for its main Web address, serves to illustrate that moving to IPv6 doesn’t necessarily need to require a forklift upgrade.
“The work was fairly straight-forward, we publish in the DNS an ‘A’ record that contains the IPv4 address and an ‘AAAA’ record that contains the IPv6 information,” Alain Durand, Principal Networking Architect and Software Engineering Director at Juniper Networks, told InternetNews.com. “Those two records will be available on June 7th at 5 p.m. PDT, and those records will both be available for 24 hours.”
Durand explained that if someone is on a machine with only IPv4 capability, nothing changes. For those that have IPv6 access, they will end up connecting to Juniper.net with IPv6.
“In order to deliver the content over IPv6 what we’re doing is using a technology called translator in the cloud,” Durand said. “We have a machine that will face the IPv6 world and then translate those connections into IPv4 connections.”
Durand explained that Juniper is not changing its underlying Web server or hosting infrastructure in order to facilitate IPv6 access. The cloud translation is what directs all the traffic and deals with IPv6.
“It’s very quick to deploy and we don’t have to change anything in our IPv4 infrastructure,” Durand said. “The only thing we changed is the AAAA record in the DNS server to point to the translator.”
Durand noted that the cloud translator is essentially a NAT64 type of approach where IPv6 traffic is translated to IPv4. Juniper is using one of its’ own MX class routers as the translation device. Durand noted that the translation capability is being built into the core JUNOS operating system which runs on the MX routers.
“The code is there, we’re just trying to figure out how to productize it,” Durand said.
From a deployment point of view, Juniper will have two MX routers handling the translation, though Durand admitted that he doesn’t expect to see a tremendous amount of traffic on World IPv6 day.
As a percentage of Juniper.net’s total traffic, Durand said that he expect that IPv6 traffic will come in somewhere below 1 percent.
“The thing is that there are relatively few devices that are IPv6 capable and connected to the network,” Durand said. “So in practice the number of devices that can reach us is limited.”
The point of World IPv6 Day for Juniper is to help prove that enterprises don’t necessarily have to move their entire infrastructure to IPv6 immediately to be IPv6 enabled. Durand noted that moving everything to IPv6 will take a lot of time and quite a bit of money.
Durand explained that the whole idea of the translator in the cloud approach is to say that enterprises can be enabled for IPv6 without changing much on their IPv4 infrastructure. Ultimately that will help to solve the chicken and egg problem of the fact that there is little content available on IPv6 today.
“The number 1 challenge is to get more content available over IPv6,” Durand said.