IPv6 Management

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

Network World just did an article on network management of IPv6 in which Netcordia was mentioned. (Where eight network management vendors stand on IPv6) Of course, a short interview doesn’t provide much opportunity to say much about a reasonably complex topic, so I’ll add some other thoughts here. Also look back in this blog for an entry I wrote on IPv6 Security.

Another vendor and I both noted that displaying 128 bit addresses in a GUI will be a problem. I anticipate that it will not be a major problem, but one that will be like a small pebble in your shoe. Different vendors will likely settle on different display methods, plus the size of the field will consume big chunks of screen real-estate. As several of us noted, using DNS will help.

Databases will grow because all the address fields will increase in size. Expect to see bugs around failures in database functions that don’t properly handle the new field sizes.

Along with IPv6, I see a migration to SNMP v3. While not specifically related, adding support for SNMP v3 while working on IPv6 looks like a good opportunity. I expect to see a lot of organizations take the leap to deploy both at the same time. Then we’ll have a fun time debugging SNMP configurations (”was the config supposed to be AuthPriv or AuthNoPriv, and do the keys match?”). If you’ve ever worked on bringing up a number of VPN tunnels, you have a taste for what’s coming. A lot of details must match for it to work and troubleshooting tools and techniques are often limited.

The real interesting thing that wasn’t mentioned in the article was equipment vendor support for IPv6. Check the MIBs of the vendors to see if the address fields have IPv4 and IPv6 representations. If the vendors don’t support the raw data, there’s not much that can be done by the management systems. Unfortunately, most vendors treat SNMP support as secondary and we’re lucky to see management support in the first versions of any new functionality. Another place to look is the data types that the vendor exports in flow data records (Netflow or sFlow or IPFIX).

As the probe vendors outlined in their responses, troubleshooting will get a lot more challenging when the data streams are encrypted, limiting application visibility. When will you know that an application’s poor performance is due to a server internal problem or a network problem when all you can see is IP datagrams? Seeing TCP retransmits may be essential to knowing that packets of the specific application were being discarded (vs packets of another app).

There are going to be some interesting challenges and new techniques to learn for managing IPv6 networks.



Re-posted with Permission 

NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under http://www.infoblox.com/en/communities/blogs.html


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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.