Network performance monitoring (NPM) company ThousandEyes is expanding its support for IPv6 as it continues to replace the depleted number of IP addresses in IPv4.
The core concept of IPv6 is that it provides a vast supply of IP addresses, which is important because the number of connected devices in the world exceeds the number of IPv4 addresses, so not every device has its own address, said Nick Kephart, senior director of product management at ThousandEyes.
“IPv6 has expanded the number of IP addresses available, but everything is coexisting, so you have this challenge of folks that are running major networks on IPv4 who want to move to IPv6,” Kephart explained. “Operating a network where everyone has a unique IP address is a lot easier than mixing and matching a protocol where there isn’t enough to go around.”
Transitioning to IPv6 changes a number of things. For example, it changes how operators control and access data centers and applications as well as the set of web servers and infrastructure one might use.
ThousandEyes’ monitoring product aims to increase the IPv6 monitoring capabilities it already had. Previously, it had a number of monitoring points around the Internet, called cloud agents. Now, ThousandEyes has doubled the number of these cloud agents to increase its geographic footprint.
The company also enhanced its enterprise agent — vantage points that monitor inside a network. Now, ThousandEyes’ enterprise agents have dual-stack capability in which a server or service supports both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time from the same location. This makes it easier for organizations to monitor services that might be in a transitional state. It also gives customers the option to monitor some services in IPv4 or IPv6, depending on which makes the most sense.
IPv6 has been defined for years, but it’s finally starting to gain traction with major networks because companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have bought large chunks of IPv4 space, causing others to use IPv6. Large scale providers like Netflix and Facebook are starting to move to IPv6 inside their own networks because they run so many large data centers and in doing so, a lot of customers and providers are looking to do the same, Kephart claimed.
There are a lot of monitoring vendors out there that support IPv6 in multiple capacities, Kephart admitted. However, ThousandEyes differentiates on its ability to monitor it from the network’s perspective, which is important because IPv6 is a network protocol. It also is able to provide insight into how applications on IPv6 are functioning from a network perspective.
“There is plenty of support out there [for IPv6], but a lot of it just isn’t answering how it impacts the network and the services running on it,” Kephart claimed.