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When will OpenStack be IPv6-ready?

As the transition to IPv6 looms, the need for OpenStack to be IPv6-ready is greater than ever. Expert Ciprian Popoviciu explains the steps being taken toward OpenStack's IPv6-readiness and the advantages that come with it.

When will OpenStack be IPv6-ready, and who is working on making that happen? What advantages will it have?

OpenStack was first patched to support IPv6 in June 2013 in its Grizzly release. In November 2013, a dedicated sub-team was created in the Neutron project to drive IPv6-readiness into the official release. The IPv6-ready efforts are led by Nephos6, Comcast and IBM. It is important to note, however, that large service providers around the world have very clear IPv6 requirements. Deutsch Telecom, AT&T and Comcast are some of the service providers committed to cloud and IPv6-based infrastructure, thus supporting and driving the work done in OpenStack.

Several blueprints were created based on the requirements provided by service providers and enterprises. These requirements map to very specific deployment scenarios for cloud infrastructures offering private, virtual private, hybrid and public cloud services. The deployment scenarios discussed also address the use of cloud infrastructures to deliver new services like voice, DVR and video. With service providers having to migrate their access layer to IPv6, it is imperative to also migrate the service delivery platforms for existing and future services to IPv6. In fact, IPv6-only OpenStack platforms are of great interest because they can cheaply operate single rather than dual protocol infrastructures.

The first-order benefits provided by IPv6 are very clear -- it's all about scalability. The immense address space provided by the new protocol enables service providers to develop plans that simplify operations, as Facebook demonstrates in the case of its large data center infrastructure. The large IPv6 address provides enough bits to embed service and policy information to simplify policy management, as proven by innovative large service providers. The IPv6 address space also makes it easier to manage elastic resources for hosted, multi-tenant environments with the help of persistent allocations.

The second-order benefits delivered by other protocol architecture specificities are slowly emerging as service providers take an IPv6-centric view of their next-generation infrastructure. Concepts such as VXLAN can more easily be implemented in an IPv6-based OpenStack infrastructure. This is where service providers who address the cloud and IPv6 inflexion points early on will differentiate themselves significantly from their competition.

Nephos6, Comcast and IBM are working hard to make OpenStack truly IPv6-ready in the upcoming Juno release.

Do you have a question for Ciprian Popoviciu or any of our other experts? Send your telecom industry or technical question to All submissions are treated anonymously.

Next Steps

Why OpenStack is the public cloud platform of choice for telcos

How providers can help customers transition to IPv6

This was last published in July 2014

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