28 Sep 2010
Enterprises have very little appetite for an IPv6 migration today, but service providers shouldn't pull back on the IPv6 evangelizing. The opportunity for profiting with IPv6 transition services may not be apparent, but many carriers believe their efforts will pay off in the years to come as they use the IPv6 migration as a way to build stronger relationships with enterprise customers.
"We want to be a trusted and valued supplier, and with any relationship, you've got to show a lot of value-add for that relationship to be in place," said Pieter Poll, CTO of Qwest Communications. "If we go out there and we help them more than the competition may, they will remember that."
Like service providers, enterprises will need to formulate and execute IPv6 transition plans to ensure that their network infrastructure and applications -- inside the LAN, across the WAN and out to the internet -- can support the next-generation internet protocol once today's predominant protocol, IPv4, fades into obscurity.
Many enterprise IT organizations have hesitated to make the IPv6 migration because of concerns about cost, complexity and minimal ROI. But at the same time, enterprises are looking to service providers for IPv6 guidance. Operators should be aggressive in providing that guidance in order to stay competitive, according to John Mazur, principal analyst at Ovum.
"[Operators] want to show their concern for their customers and their welfare," he said.
Traditional telecom operators, including AT&T and Verizon Communications, have been stepping up their IPv6 talk to enterprises. Cable operators like Comcast have also started aggressively publicizing their IPv6 transition plans for consumers and enterprises, Mazur said.
Qwest, which in July announced its plans to offer IPv6 addressing to enterprise and government customers, sees an opportunity to use IPv6 as a way to win new accounts, Poll said, "as enterprise customers are addressing the IP issue in general."