Monday, June 20, 2011

New gTLD Program Approved

As predicted in a prior blog post earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted today to approve the new generic top level domain (gTLD) program, opening the door to additional top level domains, particularly those of international language. Applications for newly proposed gTLDs will be accepted between January 12, 2012 and April 12, 2012. Read the press release for full details.

Today, DNS domain administrators are typically concerned with a handful of TLDs "under" which to register their organization's domain name(s) and maintain zone data. For example most commercial organizations register within the .com gTLD and perhaps a country code TLD (ccTLD) in which services or products are offered. The addition of perhaps hundreds of new TLDs, many of them "international", meaning they are respresented in non-ASCII characters, could present a couple of new challenges for DNS administrators.

The first challenge is that of sheer effort in supporting the registration process with each gTLD of interest. Corresponding zones and zone data must also be configured, though use of a common zone file can simplify the ongoing maintenance effort required, assuming you're publishing common DNS data across all TLDs. The second challenge relates to configuring international domain names (IDNs) in DNS. Several RFCs define this process under the guise of International Domain Names for Applications (IDNA). If you'd like to read up on IDNA and the effort required to implement it, check out my new white paper.

While most of us have enough to do without taking on additional work, the business side of your organization may wish to simplify access to your website and email for users of a particular language. Supporting international gTLDs enables fully "native language" domains names. What could be simpler? As is typical, "simple" for end users translates into more work on network administration. But supporting additional revenue opportunities benefits everyone in the organization.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World IPv6 Day Quietly Successful

Early feedback indicates that June 8th was a successful World IPv6 Day...or should I say lack of feedback. But in this case no news is good news. Despite an occasional IPv6 reachability issue perhaps due to IPv6 inexperience, no widespread or even moderate connectivity issues were reported for IPv6 or IPv4 connections.

As reported by the Internet Society, sponsors of World IPv6 Day, nearly all registered participating organizations truly participated and measured IPv6 traffic was up sharply compared to nominal IPv6 traffic, though still miniscule with respect to overall IP traffic.

So while scalability testing was not in the cards, hopefully participating organizations have garnered "lessons learned" about implementing IPv6. Scalability testing will inevitably come with time with an increasing IPv6 end user population. So now's not a bad time to get comfortable with IPv6 when demand is low...for now!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy World IPv6 Day!

The day has arrived for participants to fire up their IPv6 addressable web servers to give IPv6 an Internet "test flight!" As I blogged last week, I'm excited to see the results - was it easier than expected and worked flawlessly or were there headaches and issues? Perhaps a little bit of both!? In any case, right now, it's all about awareness and this is the day for it! In fact, at btdiamondip.com, we just posted an IPv6 information kit, which includes a basic Microsoft Windows IPv6 subnet calculator and my IPv6 addressing white paper. Register here to download your copy!

In my informal statistically insignificant poll on my website over the last few days, over half of respondents were planning to participate with varying degrees of readiness. It is encouraging to see interest in participating. I believe the investment in time in enabling IPv6 for at least just one web server will give administrators the satisfaction of having participated and of experiencing what it takes on a small scale.

Theory is nice but experience makes it real. And experience is something organizations can build on to pursue further IPv6 deployment in a disciplined, controlled manner or to defer such activities. I'm all for conscious decisions as much as possible and the more real data on which to base such decisions, the better!

Friday, June 3, 2011

World IPv6 Day is almost here! Are you participating?

The Internet Society-sponsored World IPv6 Day is June 8, 2011. The intent of this effort is to publicize the need to consider IPv6 deployment and to allow organizations to "test drive" IPv6 by implementing it on a limited basis, e.g., on external web servers. This day should provide interesting results with respect to any connectivity issues as well as participants' experiences and lessons learned.

Personally I applaud this initiative and believe it will raise awareness to the state of IPv4 address capacity and the need to at least consider IPv6 deployment. Not everyone will feel the need to deploy IPv6, but this decision should be made consciously, considering your costs, your estimated time frame when IPv6 users will begin to gain critical mass and the corresponding potential loss of web visitors due to inaccessibility to IPv6 users. Some organizations may create a plan for deployment and set it aside for use when and if IPv6 deployment is warranted. Others will hedge their bets and build on World IPv6 Day success or failure to expand deployment or revise deployment strategies.

The point of the day is to give some thought to IPv6. Make a conscious decision to defer action or pursue more details. I'd be interested in hearing from you regarding your plans to participate in World IPv6 Day. Take my quick poll and let me know!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cornering the market on good ideas

We at BT Diamond IP just wrapped our annual user conference last week in Philly. Putting on a conference like this takes a committed team effort, lots of work in logistics, planning, staging, and material preparation. All of this prep work helps the conference to go relatively smoothly. Given the conference attendee survey results, it appears our efforts were well worth it!

There's really nothing like getting together face-to-face to discuss IPAM products, technologies, and user concerns and suggestions. Customers get a lot out of it - meeting and chatting with our engineers, leadership, support staff, etc. But we get a lot out of it too. While we've certainly got among the most experienced and bright IPAM engineers in the industry, we haven't cornered the market on good ideas! And thankfully neither has anyone else.

The users of our products help keep us grounded and focused on prioritizing what's important to them in making their IP management tasks easier, which is our mutual goal. By listening to our customers, we can come closer to achieving it. What a concept!