Celebrate IPv6 Day holiday by continuing not to care

Fund your migration; pay your network uber-geeks to fix it; don't be guilted into spending all your time on it.

I can't decide if it's reassuring or frightening that the slogan of the organization sponsoring World IPv6 Day is "The Future is Forever."

On one hand it implies that if we don't handle migrations and integrations to IPv6 well, we will still have plenty of time to screw up other things before we lose the whole "future" thing.

On the other it implies the future will be filled with holidays that make "Friendship Day," "Sister's Day" and "National Boss Day" look like heartfelt traditional celebrations by comparison.

Not that there's not a good reason for it.

The Internet Society says the goal of IPv6 Day is " to motivate organizations across the industry — Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies — to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 address space runs out."

It's a reasonable goal and genuine issue, especially considering how completely most corporate IT and IT industry organizations have ignored IPv6 since it was proposed 70 or 80 years ago as a long-term fix for fundamental problems with the structure of the Internet.

The cognoscenti – even the networking geeks – continue to avoid IPv6 and anything connected with it as energetically as they can.

Most organizations assign a couple of the more anal/retentive of their net infrastructure people to set up mapping/conversion interfaces so the organization can keep talking to parts of the 'net that have gone 6 – or even to convert much or all of the internal infrastructure to V6, as long as no one else has to know about it.

As important as V6 is, it's not on most people's minds because it should not be.

Except for net infrastructure specialists, web-app programmers, security wonks and the service companies in each of those areas, numerical network addressing should be invisible; it's only slightly less complete a machine-language concern than I/O addressing or raw data expressed in binary.

Even the people who invented IPv4 – whose number scheme is at least possible to remember without writing down – didn't want to deal with numerical addressing every day. They invented DNS specifically so they could know as little as they could about network addressing, and rightly so.

There are a lot of critical issues in technology, and half a dozen technical specialties and specialists to deal with them.

Demanding that everyone else pay close attention to how they solve a specific one of those critical problems – beyond making sure they're funded and given all the tools they need to accomplish it – is like asking fans at a horse race to understand concerns about the condition of dirt on the track from the point of view of the horse.

Beyond knowing whether the horse runs well on mud, grass or linoleum to help them know which way to bet, most fans could care less about the composition of the dirt, weight of the tractor and drag-net used to flatten the surface, or type of metal used in the horseshoes.

Converting to and integrating with IPv6 is a critical, almost universal issue for organizations connecting to the Internet.

It's not one that requires the attention and approval of everyone who cares about anything having to do with either IT or the 'net.

Ginning up a fake holiday to try to get people to care is just cheap marketing designed to pressure IT people who are already trying to keep up with too many technologies outside their specialty, to add one more to the list, even when someone else is already fixing the problem.

So migrate to IPv6, pay your IPv6 specialists well and give them all the tools they need; remind other people to do the same.

Forget about IPv6 Day. The issue is real, the holiday is bogus.

No one even sent me a card.

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