Infoblox upgrades DNS appliances to ease move to IPv6

May 03, 2011 10:01 am | Network World
by Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Infoblox is adding two new features to its DNS appliances to help its service provider and enterprise customers transition to IPv6, the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet’s main communications protocol.

Infoblox officials said demand for these features — including support for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) for IPv6 and a translation technology called DNS64 — is growing among wireless carriers, government agencies, universities and early adopters in the e-commerce space.

Infoblox has supported basic features of IPv6 since 2006.

The Infoblox announcement comes one day after OpenDNS announced the availability of a free IPv6-based DNS service for IT professionals who want to experiment with this next-generation Internet technology.

Infoblox IP Address Management (IPAM) tools help network administrators cope with the 128-bit addresses in IPv6, which are significantly larger than the 32-bit addresses used in IPv4, the current version of the Internet Protocol.

Infoblox’s customers are starting to deploy IPv6 because the Internet is running out of IPv4 address space.

IPv4 can support only 4.3 billion devices connected to the Internet, and most of those addresses have been handed out. The free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses was depleted in February, and the Asia Pacific regional Internet registry said in April that it has doled out all but its last 16.7 million IPv4 addresses, which are being held in reserve for startup network operators.

BACKGROUND: Asia out of IPv4 addresses

IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices — 2 to the 128th power. But despite its promise of an endless supply of address space, IPv6 represents only a fraction — less than 0.03% — of Internet traffic.

Infoblox said it is the first DNS appliance manufacturer to support DNS64, which is used by service providers and other network operators to bridge between IPv6 networks and legacy IPv4-only networks.

Infoblox is behind its competitors with support for DHCPv6, the standard for dynamic address assignments that complements the stateless address autoconfiguration available in IPv6. But the company claims to have waited to deploy the Internet Software Consortium’s implementation of this protocol.

“We do have customers that are very eager to deploy IPv6,” says Cricket Liu, Infoblox vice president of architecture and technology. “We do have a very big transnational company based in Japan. They are doing an end-to-end IPv6 rollout, and it hinges on DHCPv6. They pushed us very hard to have it.”

DETAILS: Need IPv4 addresses? Get ’em here

The new IPv6 features are built into the latest version of Infoblox’s software and are available at no additional cost.

“This release brings our IPv6 support to parity with the IPv4 support in the product,” Liu says, adding that Infoblox is planning more enhancements to help network operators manage side-by-side implementations of IPv6 and IPv4.

In related news, Infoblox said it has joined the 160-plus network vendors and website operators that have agreed to participate in World IPv6 Day, a 24-hour test of IPv6 sponsored by the Internet Society and scheduled for June 8.