How do they do IT: Microsoft's Tech.Ed goes IPv6

Microsoft will deploy IPv6 infrastructure in an attempt drive awareness of the technology

Microsoft’s annual event for IT professionals, Tech.Ed, will this year deploy IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) for the first time in an effort to drive education and awareness about the technology.

Microsoft Australia’s Web platform evangelist, Jorke Odolphi, said whole industries were currently viewing IPv6 as “a bit too hard” and were unsure of how the next generation protocol worked.

“There’s been a lot of talk about IPv4 being depleted and reached exhaustion, saying the internet is getting full and that’s one way of thinking about it,” Odolphi said.

“I believe the problem comes down to application developers and people who are running software that has hard coded tendencies on IPv4. When we actually start to run into these problems, there’s going to be a whole bunch of applications that need to be updated and that’s going to be a big challenge for IT in Australia and developers.”

According to Odolphi, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has provided the IPv6 address space giving attendees at the event publicly routable IPv6 addresses to access the internet.

He predicts there are some potential issues surrounding the technology, and connecting to it, mainly at the user end, depending on the devices being used and whether they are IPv6 enabled.

In deploying the technology, Odolphi said the biggest issue was changing his way of thinking.

“We’ve had this background lately in the evolution of enterprise environments where you have only a few public IP addresses… But with IPv6 it just changes so you’ve really got to change the way you think,” he said. “To put everything out on the Internet and be happy with that, other than [the deployment], was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought.”

Held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Tech.Ed will run on the same wireless infrastructure put in place for last year’s event and will be managed by a full-time team of around eight staff.

The network is back-ended by Cisco wireless LAN controllers, allowing attendees at the event to connect up to the network at approximately 70 megabits per second (Mbps), over 50 access points.

The venue also has a 500Mbps connection through Telstra, and a redundant 100Mbps connection for any potential issues.

Odolphi said this year will present some challenges in monitoring people at the event blatantly downloading content.

“We’re definitely going to be watching the network very closely to see what people are doing on there, so we’ll do what we can to mitigate those things happening again, it’s kind of disappointing,” he said.

HP will supply “best of breed” blade infrastructure service for the event, which, according to Odolphi, will provide double the computing power and storage compared to 2009's infrastructure.

“For our demonstration purposes and infrastructure purposes they’ve given us three rack enclosures, one of them is about 40 terabytes of fiberchannel storage, which is across four blade enclosures and across those we have 24 blades; basically we’ve built our own mini cloud environment,” Odolphi said.

This year’s event, kicking off 23 August, has sold out, hitting the venue’s maximum capacity of 2700 people, 300 more than last year’s meet.

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