Go ahead, ask me: Are your services/products IPv6 ready? Now think how easy it is for me to say: Sure, absolutely, you bet! Now you either come back with a detailed list of requirements and really check on how my readiness aligns with your plans and needs or you get started with IPv6 and hope all will be good. The proof is in the SLA pudding.
Let us talk for a bit here about service providers. Remember, they are businesses too. They have priorities, they have investments, they have constraints, they have issues to deal with. If IPv6 is not a focus area for them, if they did not truly commit to it, you might get some surprises along the way. Like everyone else, the SPs have to get the infrastructure ready (deal with legacy), get their tools ready (deal with more legacy), get their processes ready (if they exist to begin with), get their people ready (more stuff to do for already busy folk). Not all these areas get covered, you might get some connectivity but of poor quality. You might get connectivity but no support and so on, you get the picture, or nightmare as it were.
This whole IPv6 transition event is actually a good point in time to review and assess your Service Provider. The IPv6 readiness questionnaire can also help you hash a few things out that you didn’t get a chance to discuss over time. After all, you learned a few things through the various crises, right? This is a perfect opportunity for a reset.
For example, for my business I have an ISP who says is ready for IPv6, very publicly by the way, but nobody I talk to get IPv6 access even knows what IPv6 really is. Now imagine having a problem with IPv6 when my IPv4 problems barely get addressed. I chose the hosting company for my site because they had IPv6 support. Little did I know that if there was an IPv6 problem, they have no idea. In those instances we had to help them identify the fault domain using our own tool. And by the way, make no mistake about it, these things DO MATTER. While my site was down over IPv6 and not over IPv4 I got an email from a cheeky grad student who said: “Isn’t it ironic that and IPv6 company does not provide IPv6 access to their website?” Yup, go ahead, say it: Ouch! It felt that way too.
Most recently, one of our customers, an access provider offering IPv6 access decided to deploy several v6Sonar agents at multiple locations only to realize that their Tier 1 for IPv6 was veeeeeeery slow. A discussion followed, provider choices were reconsidered, peering options were changed and load times for web apps improved by 500ms on average. To put things into perspective, that is roughly the point when online businesses start to see revenue loss due to customer drop-off.
My turn to ask questions: What is in your SLA for IPv6? How good is your Service Provider, Cloud Service Provider, Managed Service Provider?