Survey: IPv6 To Influence $96 Billion In Government Spending

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Juniper surveyed 1,076 representatives from defense, civilian, state and local government agencies, and industry about a variety of issues relating to IPv6 in government, including progress, expected spending and buying habits, possible impact and management strategies. According to the respondents, IPv6 will influence $41 billion of federal IT purchasing and $21 billion of state and local IT purchasing within two years. By 2011, those numbers will grow to $60 billion and $37 billion, respectively.

"These fantastic numbers are all fine, but it's not all hardware," says Tom Gillman, director of federal channels at Juniper. "For [Juniper], it could just involve a code update in a lot of cases. Really, it's about a whole lot of services," which he expects to make up more than half of the expected spending.

The channel will be tapped for assessment of existing infrastructure, transition planning, implementation and ongoing management. Furthermore, as state and local agencies follow in the Feds' footsteps with their own IPv6 initiatives, the need for interoperability will become even more complex -- potentially extending across departments as well as segments of government.

Of course, adoption of IPv6 comes in the shadow of mandates first from the Department of Defense (DoD) and then the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a full conversion of federal agencies' global IT networks to IPv6 by 2008. While that did not spur the scramble some expected, agencies are starting to move. While only 38 percent of the IT infrastructures at defense agencies currently include IPv6-capable equipment and related services, that is expected to rise to 87 percent by 2011, according to survey respondents. Similarly, civilian agencies are expected to grow implementation of IPv6 products and services from 32 percent to 73 percent in the same time frame, and state and local government from 36 percent to 63 percent.

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As for combating what respondents noted as a top challenge -- lack of funding -- 51 percent of DoD respondents have requested budgets for their IPv6 efforts, and 20 percent said the funding was received; that's compared to civilian agency respondents, of which 39 percent said budget requests were made, and 18 percent said funding had been received.

While the depletion of IP addresses remains a concern for the public and private sector alike, the transition to IPv6 is increasingly driven by the need for enhanced capabilities around disaster recovery and continuity of operations. According to the survey, respondents listed network and/or user mobility and secure end-to-end communications as the two top priorities, followed by automatic network and user reconfiguration.