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Stemberger said that Force 3 is performing hardware and software assessments, and has provided IPv6 path assessments and compliance planning.
Most of Stemberger's work is for Force 3's federal government customers, where IPv6 work has been going on for years.
The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) began mandating federal agencies' move to IPv6 backbones back in 2005, insisting IPv6-compliant infrastructure be in place by July 2008. Last fall, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled the next OMB mandate for IPv6 compliance: enable the use of native IPv6 on external servers by October 2012.
According to a late September 2010 memo from Kundra's team, all federal agencies need to upgrade public/external facing services to native IPv6 by the end of the 2012 fiscal year, as well as upgrade internal client applications that communicate with public Internet servers and supporting enterprise networks to operationally use native IPv6 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Government agencies also need to have designated an IPv6 Transition Manager, and ensure that all agency procurements of networked IT comply with the requirements for use of USGv6 Profile and Test Program for evaluating IPv6 readiness.
Long story short, the government is required to make the move. In the enterprise, things are a lot slower. But according to Stemberger, customer awareness is at least picking up.
"When customers are looking at purchasing new equipment, they're starting to ask very detailed new questions about what is the roadmap and the specific capabilities around a platform," he said. "It's still not much action, but more forward thinking definitely."
It will take some time before true business adoption happens. If the enterprise is sluggishly preparing, said Tom McCafferty, director of marketing for open source networking vendor Vyatta, interest in the midmarket and down into the SMB is barely a blip.
"It's just not there," McCafferty said. "We do see some V6 transition, but next to never right now in the U.S. It's really still a check box for people, versus a true implementation. It's a lot of, 'When the day comes, you help me get there.'"
One thing VARs can do, McCafferty said, is to pay attention to the regions they do business in and where their customers are based, and identify who the regional service providers are. How quickly those service providers are changing over to IPv6 is one way to gauge how enterprise and SMB customers who rely on the service will start to get up to speed on transitioning their infrastructure.
"If you know your regional providers, you have a feeling for the immediacy of their changeover," he said. "The regional or local ISPs, that's probably the most important relationship right now, and they need to be paying attention."
Regardless of the level of interest, however, most IPv6 channel observers see a future business. Above all, the IPv6 changeover isn't an option.
"I think it'll hit home with IT managers and IT directors regardless of the mandates," Force 3's Stemberger said. "IPv6 is your future, whether you like it or not, and that's going to be true sooner rather than later."