WebhostingDay 2009 and IPv6: "Spread the Love"

Mar 19, 2009

Rackspot, a spinoff of the Portuguese Internet service provider NFSI, is making a plea for IPv6 to participants at the WebhostingDay 2009 (WHD09) currently happening at Phantasialand in Bruehl near Cologne, Germany

Manuel Coelho, CIO of NFSI Telecom, expressed the usual arguments of addressing the diminishing address space with, and the technological benefits of, IPv6 at the conference. He appealed to web hosters and content providers to make the changeover sooner than later, in that later may end up being painful. His various graphics showed that only about 12% of the remaining IPv4 addresses are viable. His advice was to make first the Domain Name System IPv6-compliant, then e-mail services, finally web services.

The idea was for ISPs to "demand IPv6, not just ask for it." Coelho gave Google as an example of a recent IPv6 convert.

A practical question posed from the audience to Coelho and CTO Nuño Vieira nevertheless resulted in a somewhat disappointing answer. Coelho mentioned examples of diverse IPv6-compliant platforms and applications (such as Mozilla, Apache and PHP). But an audience member asked him about administration panels. Coelho was sad to say none as yet existed. NFSI Telecom was currently in talks with the Parallels virtualization and automation software maker, but nothing definite has come out of it. "You currently have to know how to configure it," says Coelho, "There's no easy interface. But it's only a question of time. The more that ask for it, the faster it will proceed."

The NSFI Telecom spinoff Rackspot has since a few months been offering a solution to get IPv6 addresses over a dual protocol stack using IPv4 addresses over 5-TByte instead of 2.5-TByte traffic, Coelho told this publication. The offering unfortunately doesn't extend to larger traffic areas, because "we want to propagate IPv6 but not ruin the company in the process." NFSI Telecom and Rackspot see its offering as an investment in the future: "at some point the time will come when IPv6 becomes necessary, and then things will be painless for NFSI and its customers," says Coelho. "Thirty percent of our customers have already taken our offer seriously."

More than 70% of the 850 or so servers in Coelho's data center run Linux, Debian and CentOS to be exact. NFSI has offered IPv4-IPv4 dual stacks since 2003. As we reported, a Linux Foundation workgroup announced that the U.S. Department of Defense certified that the Kernel is IPv6-capable. The Deep Space 6 portal has also been opened to provide Linux IPv6 enhancement support.

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