The CFO magazine has recently published a FUDful article “Trouble Looms for Company Websites” (read it to see what CFOs have to deal with). Obviously, some people think it’s a good idea to throw FUD at CFOs to get the budget to implement IPv6. Long term, it’s a losing strategy; your CFO will become immune to anything coming from the IT department and ignore the real warnings.
Yes, it's time to make your content reachable over IPv4 and IPv6, more so if you’re in the eyeballs business. Google knows that. So does Facebook. Twitter doesn’t seem to care. Maybe because they’re not selling ads?
Yes, you should go and implement IPv6 in your DMZ. Yes, you should start planning and budgeting today. But today the problems are as real as the Y2K ones were on Cisco IOS.
Eventually (in a decade) you’ll be dead if you won’t have IPv6, as every Service Provider will stop caring about your obsolete protocol and discontinue the translation services. In the meantime, the problems will appear gradually ... faster for people that have fancy two-way applications or broken web sites (for example, tracking users by their IP addresses or doing sloppy load balancing), slower for those that have more traditional applications using HTTP the way it was designed to be used (including, interestingly, Netflix).
The article is also full of NATty FUD. Without ever calling NAT64 by its name, it implies that a “connection through a gateway probably won't perform nearly as well as users have come to expect”. Come on, almost every enterprise user accessing the Internet is using some form of NAT. Why would NAT work well today and so badly in the future when it has to convert IPv6 addresses into IPv4 addresses? Admittedly it’s true that my (or their) claims are not verifiable since there’s no publicly-available large-scale production-grade NAT64 device (but there are some in field trials).
On a more positive note, you’ll find a universal truth in the article (courtesy of Martin Levy): “You can either do a planned, careful migration, or you can do it in a panic. And you should know full well that panicking is more expensive.” I’ll definitely use it in my presentations.
Last but not least, offering early IPv6 access to your content is not a big deal: Facebook did it pretty quickly and so can you ... assuming you have an IPv6-capable load balancer (some companies are still pretending you don’t need them). If you don’t, why don’t you go over to F5 web site and download their 90-day trial virtual machine? Or use NAT-PT in a standalone Cisco IOS box (I’m positive you have a few lying around) for a trial deployment? Just make sure you understand the caveats.