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Yesterday afternoon, Alibaba Cloud held a conference in Beijing to announce the full availability of IPv6 services. China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom's three major operators and the CERNET National Network Center sent representatives to attend the launch ceremony.
IPv6 is a major breakthrough in the current Chinese Internet industry. Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released the Action Plan for the Advancement of the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Deployment Plan. It is required that by the end of 2018, the basic telecom operators complete the end-to-end IPv6 transformation of the LTE network; the number of IPv6 users is no less than 50 million. The mobile terminal fully supports IPv6. For cloud service providers, they are required to complete the 50% cloud product IPv6 transformation and complete the transformation by 2020.
The Aliyun Cloud's release of IPv6 service is undoubtedly a rapid response to the "plan" of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. So, why is the development of China's IPv6 industry behind? Why do you have to catch up? As an industry “crab eater”, what challenges will Alibaba Cloud have in IPv6?
China's IPv6 "starts early and sets late"
Compared with IPv4, IPv6 has obvious advantages. By increasing the length of the address from 32 bits to 128 bits, it not only solves the problem of serious shortage of network address resources, but also solves the problem of multiple access devices connecting to the Internet of Things. The key foundation of the era of the Internet of Everything. "What can IPv6 help us do? Give each grain a separate IP address." Jiang Jiangwei, the head of Alibaba Cloud's technology research and development, described it.
As of December 31 last year, the total number of IPv6 address allocations in China ranks second in the global ranking, but its actual application level is relatively low. According to the statistics, the proportion of IPv6 users in the world accounts for 18% of the Internet users, of which the United States has reached 30%, and Belgium has reached 56%, while China has less than 0.3%, far behind the world average.
However, in the IPv6 field, China has “had a big early start, and has just finished a late set.” As one of the first countries in the world to develop IPv6 and next-generation Internet technology research standards, China built the world’s largest as early as 2008. Pure IPv6 network. However, China has continued to tap the potential of IPv4, but in recent years has stagnated in the IPv6 field, and the prosperous Internet industry is facing the risk of being “overtaking the curve” by other countries.
Academician He Hexuan pointed out at the meeting that IPv6 is an insurmountable stage for the development of the Internet. After years of research and development, the deployment of global IPv6 has accelerated in recent years, and the network has entered the era of IPv6. This is a historic opportunity for the rapid transformation of global network information technology and the rapid evolution of information infrastructure. At the national level, it also recognizes the importance and urgency of IPv6, proposes specific development plans, and even “names” specific businesses, with the intention of quickly eradicating the gaps and catching up with the pace of international leaders.
IPv6 faces multiple challenges
IPv6 is by no means a simple technology upgrade. At the meeting, Chen Jiachun, an inspector of the Department of Information and Communications Development of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, pointed out that advancing IPv6 deployment is a huge and arduous system project that requires efficient and pragmatic progress in all aspects of the industry chain, in addition to achieving end-to-end penetration and providing IPv6 services to relevant users. Application enterprises, terminal enterprises, and Internet application companies must also quickly implement the transformation of IPv6 products related to products and services.
"Especially for large-scale cloud service enterprises, while completing the goal of IPv6 transformation of cloud products, we must give full play to the advantages in technology, talents, and scientific research, and provide services such as IPv6 consultation and website transformation to small and medium-sized enterprises, and further accelerate the upgrading of IPv6. Step by step.” Chen Jiachun raised ardent expectations for Aliyun.
Jiang Jiangwei introduced that Alibaba started researching IPv6 very early on, but in the process of IPv6 transition from technology to infrastructure, there is actually a lot of work to be done and very big challenges. For example, IP address management, the difficulty is the order of magnitude difference. At the same time, the transformation and upgrading of network equipment into IPv6 will also face challenges such as operation and maintenance support.
From the protocol point of view, IPv6 needs a completely new protocol. In the process of supporting the dual stack, compatibility and performance must be considered, and the stability of the protocol stack must also be considered. In addition to the physical aspect, there is a lot of work at the platform level. "Some familiar applications may internally mean transforming hundreds of software systems, how to use addresses, how to assign addresses, how to manage address stations, and how to change the user experience through address stations. This workload is very large."
"Today, if we want to promote the development of the next-generation Internet industry, we really need to introduce not a single technology. Instead, we must introduce a network and introduce an overall ecology so that we can help us from applications, networks, from end to end, from management to management. Every step can be smoothly and completely evolved.” Jiang Jiangwei said.
2025 "IPv6 Only"
A complete IPv6 from application, end-to-end, and cloud requires the joint efforts of all walks of life. From this conference, it can be seen that Alibaba Cloud has conducted in-depth cooperation with China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and Education Network, realizing the full realization of “cloud-management-end”, user terminal equipment, and operator networks. Applications on the cloud will be able to support IPv6 at the same time.
Cai Yiqun, Vice President of Alibaba Group, said that since the global IPv6 network was formally launched in 2012, Alibaba has started the equipment selection of IPv6 network R&D, completed the transformation of the IPv6 upgrade route from inside to outside, and achieved the highest possible IPv6 high-speed forwarding. 400G is 2.5 times the commercial performance of the industry.
Alibaba Cloud has definitely completed the IPv6 transformation of DNS, CDN, SLB, RDS, and GSS this year. By the end of the fourth quarter, VPC, ECS, and DTS have been upgraded, and the database products have also been launched. From the path, first, public network products, including DNS, SLB, VPN, etc., have IPv6 capabilities at the entrance to the cloud platform public network; followed by internal related products, including VPC, and finally IPv6 only.
According to reports, Alibaba Cloud provides enterprises with a one-stop solution for rapid IPv6 reconstruction, which can complete the IPv6 transformation of business systems in a matter of minutes and at the same time ensure the continuity of services. “We will help all our customers achieve the transition of 'IPv6 Only' before 2025 and advance China's next-generation Internet,” said Jiang Jiangwei.