Coming Soon: An IPv6-Only Facebook

As I mentioned in my last blog I had the opportunity to present at the World IPv6 Congress 2014 in Paris, France (life’s rough!).  The event was well-attended by representatives from many IPv6 gurus and early adopters. 

One of the inventors of TCP/IP was in attendance as well: Bob Khan gave an interesting presentation on digital object architecture, an evolutionary framework for secure information storage and retrieval (ITU X.1255). 

Cisco Distinguished engineer Mark Townsley gave a very compelling presentation on IETF Homenet efforts. The presentation made it clear that the next generation of home networks (connecting smart utilities, smart appliances, security systems, consumer electronics, voice, and of course Internet) may be a critical proving ground for demonstrating the flexibility and extensibility of IPv6.

But it was data from a presentation by Paul Saab of Facebook that really wowed the audience. Paul is an infrastructure engineer at Facebook focused on IPv6 and he offered some stunning statistics:
 

  • 100% of active hosts respond to IPv6
  • 75% of their internal traffic is IPv6
  • 98% of traffic in and out of HHVM is IPv6
  • 100% of their memcache traffic is IPv6


In addition to those impressive statistics, Facebook is poised to be IPv6-only internally within 2 years. Paul also reported that many of their programmers are asking when they can code exclusively for IPv6.

As might be expected, some challenges in their adoption efforts were mentioned. Many software engineers still want to write IPv4-only code out of habit. The plan is to take their IPv4 development systems away in 2014. Also, network turbulence commenced with switches that didn’t support IPv6 yet but would happily take a global ipv6 address family command then proceed to crash.

But the lesson is clear to those enterprises as well as content and service providers still hanging back in their IPv6 adoption efforts: problems like these are manageable and disposable, demonstrably mere bumps in the road on a relatively short path to full IPv6 deployment for the motivated adopter.

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