Owen DeLong, Hurricane Electric, on evangelizing IPv6 and the challenges ahead

Owen DeLong, Hurricane Electric

Owen DeLong, IPv6 Evangelist & Director of Professional Services, Hurricane Electric

It's been a busy year for Owen DeLong, IPv6 Evangelist and Director of Professional Services at Hurricane Electric. He's traveled across six continents to bring the good news about the IPv6 addressing protocol to companies around the world, encouraging them to migrate their networks from IPv4. As a member of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) Advisory Council, Owen has spoken at several tradeshows in the past months raising awareness about IPv6 migration.

Owen took a few minutes out of his schedule to talk with Samantha Bookman at FierceTelecom about some of the remaining barriers to IPv6 migration and how Hurricane Electric is working to resolve them.

FierceTelecom: When we talked last year you pointed out that a lack of knowledge, complexity and cost were holding providers back from IPv6 migration. Is that still the case?


"I think World IPv6 Day will raise that level of awareness, but I think we're going a lot slower than one might hope."

Owen Delong: It's not holding as many of them back anymore; they're starting to see the writing on the wall and make some effort to educate themselves and get moving. I think World IPv6 Day will raise that level of awareness, but I think we're going a lot slower than one might hope.

FT: How are you helping customers migrate to IPv6?

OD: As you know, I spend a lot of time on the road doing various conferences and talking to people about IPv6. Last year I traveled a quarter of a million miles on six continents talking about IPv6. This year my focus has been mostly within the United States, although next week I'll be teaching a class in Guadalajara on IPv6. I've spent a lot of time also on the road with ARIN doing outreach with them, talking about IPv6 at various tradeshows. Hurricane obviously throws a lot of their marketing dollars and a lot of effort behind raising awareness on IPv6 and in terms of helping people with their migration. Hurricane Electric has launched a professional services effort which I'm leading to make our experts available to people to help them with their migration planning, training, deployment, etc.

FT: How are Hurricane Electric and your customers going to participate in World IPv6 Day?

OD: I can't say what our customers are doing but Hurricane is fully participating in IPv6 Day by doing absolutely nothing unusual. For us, every day is IPv6 Day. We've had AAAA records on our website, we've had our network fully dual-stacked and everything fully operational for IPv6 for more than five years now. So there isn't really anything more for us to do special for IPv6 Day because we're already at the point that World IPv6 Day is designed to help other people reach.

FT: Since March you've been offering a professional services unit and transitioning services to customers. What makes up the professional services unit?

OD: We have a number of experts who have actual operational experience working with IPv6. We're making them available as consultants to help other people with their v6 planning, to train their staff on v6, to help them deploy IPv6 within their network or enterprise, etc. Pretty much we're willing to share our expertise for a fee with anybody that needs it.

FT: Is that a set fee or a fee determined by project?

OD: It's generally an hourly fee that we would quote them, but we will analyze each project on a case by case basis.

FT: Hurricane Electric is also offering transition technologies. What are they?

OD: We provide the largest network of 6-to-4 and Teredo servers on the planet. As you know we have a very large tunnel broker that is the most heavily subscribed tunnel broker on the planet, allowing people to get 6 and 4 tunnels readily and easily for free. We provide free v6 transit for people that peer with us on the various exchange points, and we're looking at other ways that we can also help people with other transition technologies.

FT: Hurricane Electric is offering a free IPv6 certification. Who can participate in that?

OD: Anyone that has an interest in learning about IPv6 and has Internet access can participate in our certification process.

FT: Are there key points of the certification that people should look for?

OD: I think the best thing to do is just start at the beginning and work your way through it. It really does provide a tutorial and introduction to IPv6 and as you progress through it you'll actually deploy IPv6 to at least a portion of your network and go through setting up some basic services on IPv6. By the time you get to the final level, the sage level, you'll have actually deployed a web server, DNS and email on IPv6.

FT: Cricket Liu at Infoblox pointed out an issue with trying to get connectivity with both HE and Cogent. Is that still an issue?

OD: We're not regarding it as so much of an issue today. Cogent still refuses to peer with us for whatever reason. We continue to be looking to peering with them. We believe the Internet works best when providers can peer with each other. We really don't understand their position on this, but ... we have continued to make our network as well connected as we can and they have continued to isolate themselves and their customers from the majority of the IPv6 network.

Hurricane Electric peering cake

Hurricane Electric's above-and-beyond efforts in requesting peering from Cogent ... so far unanswered. (Screengrab: YouTube video by wbnorton)

FT: I read that you guys baked them a cake at one point?

OD: We did indeed. If you go to YouTube and look for "IPv6 Peering Cake" you'll find the video of me presenting the cake to them at the Interop meeting in Dearborn, Mich.

FT: Let's take customers, for example, who for whatever reason need to travel on IPv6 via Hurricane Electric's network and then over to Cogent. Is there any solution they need to use to get onto Cogent's network?

OD: We've managed to get peering relationships with a lot of the people who are also connected to Cogent's network ... so we haven't had a lot of people telling us they've been having trouble getting things on IPv6 through our network. I think Cogent has mostly rendered their portion of the IPv6 network irrelevant by refusing to peer.

FT: Let's go back to World IPv6 Day. Is there anything you think you'll see during the test, any issues that may crop up?

OD: I think there will be a variety of issues. Most of it will have to do with people on the client side that have machines that think they have IPv6 connectivity when they actually don't. That is the most common problem that we've seen before this and really the primary purpose of IPv6 Day is to provide a safe harbor to the various large content providers where they can actually turn on their AAAA records for a period of time, have these people actually suffer degraded service as a result so they can identify themselves, and so we can work to resolve these issues.

FT: What do you see as the next step for people who participated?

OD: Well, the clients will try to resolve the issues, if there are any issues that do crop up on people's services, we'll obviously work on addressing those as well. The primary thing I think we're hoping to do with the data is show the scope of the problem is not as large as predicted, and it is safe for people to turn on AAAA records. We hope this will eventually break the logjam on providers turning on their AAAA records for their content. However, if we don't get the results we're hoping for, then we'll look at how to move forward and get to where we can do another test where hopefully we get better results.

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Owen DeLong, Hurricane Electric, on evangelizing IPv6 and the challenges ahead