By Yanick Pouffary
March 2nd marked the anniversary of Jim Bound's early death. On this third year since his passing at just 58 years old, I want to remember him and his contributions to HP, to the global technology community and to the evolution of the Internet.
As “IPv6 lead plumber”, CTO of the IPv6 Forum, Chair of the North American IPv6 Task Force, and a Senior Fellow with HP (he came to HP by way of DEC and Compaq), Jim worked passionately and tirelessly on IPv6 (see the IPv6 Forum memorial notice).
Thanks to Jim’s work, the IPv6 Forum and other HP engineers, HP today offers a remarkable breadth of IPv6-enabled products, as well as consulting services to help organizations make the transition to an IPv6 network. As we learned by doing it ourselves, the trick to a successful transition to IPv6 is planning.
HP's journey to IPv6
HP has been part of IPv6 since the protocol’s inception in 1995. Jim and I served as technologists, vendor-neutral technologists, on the IPv6 Forum (Jim was the force behind the creation of the IPv6 Forum). We also participated in the IETF to develop and define the protocol itself. We educated organizations about the protocol and drove adoption of the standard around the world.
For HP's own journey toward IPv6 transformation, we started with the enablement of our own products as well as in the field, working with the U.S. government. We acted as consultants, creating IPv6 services that were specially tailored to the needs of the various government departments. We learned valuable lessons about deploying the new protocol, enabling the network to run both IPv6 and IPv4, and preparing applications to work with IPv6. Later, we were able to apply these lessons to our product and service offerings.
We also had to enable IPv6 on our own internal network. We started by making certain parts of our enterprise IPv6 ready, as it made sense for our business. We knew we would need to support IPv6-enabled products, so we started with our R&D labs environments. This allowed us to develop new products and test them safely on a contained IPv6 network. We began by preparing core network devices for the new protocol, and HP soon became one of the first vendors to release key products to support IPv6.
HP’s IPv6 product release timeline:
- 2000: HP releases its first IPv6-enabled servers and routers to support IPv6 and IPv4 in a dual stack environment.
- 2003: Pre-merger H3C (the company was later acquired by HP) releases its first IPv6 business version of Comware OS. HP ProCurve releases its first IPv6 support in its switches.
- 2005: HP launched the industry’s first IPv6-enabled enterprise printers; network storage devices soon followed.
From the smallest network devices to our largest servers, HP has added IPv6 capabilities to our products. We’ve done this as release cycles allowed and through true natural technology refreshes cycles.
Then came time to IPv6-enable HP software
We turned our focus to HP's software portfolio. We divided our portfolios into two buckets:
- applications that are close to the network, like HP Network Node Manager, and
- applications that use the network without being tied to a specific protocol version.
We first focused on the apps that are tied to the network, since they are directly impacted by IPv6. For the others we only needed to ensure they can operate in a dual-IP world.
We developed consulting services
Finally, we developed consulting services that drew on our many years of experience deploying IPv6 in hardware and software. We helped many organizations transition their networks to IPv6, including the U.S. government.
Today, HP Technology Services can help any organization plan and complete a holistic transition to IPv6.
Where to begin your IPv6 transition
For many organizations, transitioning to IPv6 begins with HP's IPv6 Transformation Experience Workshop, an interactive consulting session that culminates with the development of an IPv6 blueprint roadmap for customers. HP also offers an IPv6 readiness assessment that evaluates the technical impact of IPv6 on an existing network and helps identify areas of immediate concern including, but not limited to, items like security and product readiness.
Other IPv6 consulting services include:
- architecture and design,
- IPv6 transition consulting, and
- integration and deployment of the protocol.
These offerings help organizations align their business needs with an IP strategy and plan for IPv6 transformation. Regardless of what your enterprise looks like or your plans for IPv6, the network is the logical place to begin your transition.
It's safe to say that without Jim's work on the new Internet protocol, IPv6 would not be on the brink of revolutionizing the Internet as it is today. Alongside his fellow IPv6 Forum members, Jim’s leadership lit a fire for the new protocol at HP and in the broader technology community.
I think Jim would be proud of where we are today. So to my old colleague, while we miss you greatly, your many contributions to the development of IPv6 are coming to fruition and will never be forgotten.
Find out more about HP's portfolio of IPv6-enabled products.
Learn more about HP IPv6 Consulting Services
More information about IPv6
IPv6 Forum: http://www.ipv6forum.com/
Internet Engineering Task Force: http://www.ietf.org
Yanick Pouffary is HP Distinguished Technologist; Chief Architect, HP Technology Services Office of the CTO; and HP IPv6 Global Leader.