Over the last several years, we’ve been watching IPv6 adoption very closely and talking to a lot of customers to find out what this means for them.   Besides seeing a lot more articles and videos about IPv4 armageddon (this one is an oldie, but goodie), we’ve noticed that there’s definitely a changing trend with customers, especially within the federal government and service provider spaces where IPv6 is no longer just a fuzzy bullet on their long-term IT infrastructure roadmap, but an important requirement that is getting some real attention.   For example, a lot of service providers are wanting to create v6-to-v4 tunnels, which will allow their customers to have IPv6 addresses while maintaining an IPv4 backbone and most government customers have already moved to dual-stack infrastructure.  In all cases, these customers are always happy to know that Orion works just fine monitoring dual-stack network devices and that seems to meet a lot of their short-term IPv6 needs. 

However, having noticed this trend is increasing and given our community-driven need to be as transparent as possible, we thought we’d use this blog post to explain our plans for expanding IPv6 support throughout the Orion product line.   If you’re wondering why we don’t just give you a roadmap slide with a quarter for delivery, please see Fear and Loathing of Roadmaps: Why your PM won’t give you a date.

So, let’s start with what we’ve done already as some of you may have missed this

1. Engineer’s Toolset

  • All of the most popular tools ported to use IPv6 in the WorkSpace Studio introduced in v10
  • All new tools added since v10 are fully IPv6 compatible  

2. Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM)

  • Both Windows client and website supports dual-stack devices – both IPv4 and IPv6 IP addresses can be entered and displayed for every device
  • SSH, Telnet, and SCP based config transfers (backup and upload configs, execute scripts) on dual stack and “pure” IPv6 devices

3. Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) + modules

  • Verified Orion NPM works in a dual-stack environment, including the ability to poll IPv6-specific SNMP statistics on dual-stack devices using the Universal Device Poller
  • Introduced IPAM module with ability to track IPv6 addresses on dual-stack devices

Yeah okay, what have we done for you lately?   Here’s what we’re working on in development as we speak:

1. Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM)

  • Remaining functionality is being ported to work with “pure” IPv6 devices in 2 phases.   The first phase will include device rediscovery and inventory.  The second phase will wrap up support with status polling and discovery.  

2. Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) + modules

  • The level of effort to port all of Orion is non-trivial so in parallel to last several releases, we’ve been busy at work on an enhanced poller that supports IPv6 along with planning for back-end changes to the Orion “Core” database schema and internal components.  Once the new poller work is complete (we’re about 60-70% of the way there), website user interface elements will be enhanced to allow configuration and display of IPv6 addresses 
  • IPAM module team is working on adding the ability to create IPv6 subnets to assist with pre and post IPv6 network deployment planning
  • All module teams are working on porting internal components to support IPv6 so they’re ready when the “Core” of Orion is ready

We hope this helps clarify our position on IPv6 (i.e., we take it very seriously) and ensures you have a better understanding of our strategy and roadmap for meeting your IPv6 monitoring requirements.   If your organization is planning on moving to an IPv6 network, we’d love to hear from you.   Please post to IPv6 - what you’re planning, when, and biggest challenge in making the shift and let us know what you’re planning, when, and what you see as your biggest challenge in making the shift.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is NOT a commitment that these enhancements will make any particular release.  As noted above, we are working on a lot of this in parallel to our standard feature releases.   If you have comments or questions on any of these items (e.g., how would it work?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!