The switch to IPv6 is jumping to light speed. On June 8, 2011 several large organizations, including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook will run a comprehensive test for switching to IPv6. If all goes well most companies will start making the switch. However, the advent of IPV6 is not without problems and the performance monitoring solutions that worked for IPv4, will not work with IPv6. Dotcom-Monitor’s IPv6 Monitoring Network Agents with IPv6 address have native IPv6 connectivity. Agents with “Teredo” tunnel through Teredo brokers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teredo_tunneling
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Benefits of Native IPv6 Monitoring
There are several reasons to actively monitor IPv6 websites in a native environment:
- Because there’s a gap between IPv6 capabilities and current network management tools, active monitoring is essential.
- As with any new technology, there is the potential for flaws, which may impact uptime and performance.
- IPv6 will lead to larger networks that directly address more network devices, increasing the overall complexity.
- IPv6 end-to-end security features, while improving security, will make it harder to analyze network traffic.
IPv6 Header Challenges
While IPv4 is a best-effort service where all packets are treated equally; IPv6 implements quality-of-service (QOS) by classifying IP packets using an 8-bit traffic class field and a 20-bit flow label field in the header. With the flow label in place, transit routers will not need to open the inner packet to identify the flow. This will enhance flow identification when encryption is used. However, though IPv6 web sites can be accessed using dual stacks, tunneling and protocol translation, native IPv6 performance monitoring is essential to determine whether performance issues are originating in the end-to-end IPv6 environment. Therefore, companies that have deployed IPv6 websites must utilize native IPv6 monitoring to isolate service-level agreement (SLA) issues for these sites as IPv4 monitoring alone will not help isolate IPv6 quality-of-service (QoS) issues.
IPv6 Monitoring Challenges
While the benefits of IPv6 are apparent, performance management will become inherently more difficult as a single IPv6 subnet is as large as the entire Internet today. Performance monitoring solutions that worked for IPv4, will not work with IPv6. As with IPv4, IPv6 quality of service is implemented at Layer 2 and Layer 3 of the TCP/IP stack. A number of network management vendors support IPv6, but while passive network management tools may comply with the new version, some may not include the evolving set of features for IPv6 support. Alone, passive IPv6 monitoring may be unable to properly detect performance issues experienced by the end user, and for web-enabled businesses, the end user experience is the most critical element of service quality, therefore active external monitoring is increasingly important. For business and organizations deploying IPv6 websites, performance management and service-level agreement monitoring becomes more complicated due to the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6, the exponential size of IPv6 addressing and routing, and the lack of a killer application to drive wide-scale and accelerated deployment.
Monitoring IPv6 Security Concerns
IPv6 security issues are not yet fully understood. In the early stages of IPv6 deployment, it is likely that there will be less security, not more due to issues around dual-IP stacks and inevitable mistakes with the newness of IPv6. Weaknesses in how these networks may interoperate will cause security issues. IP spoofing continues to be a possible security concern with IPv6 networks. While not impossible, IP flooding, or scanning for valid host addresses and services is going to much more difficult than with IPv4. The concept of mobility is a feature of IPv6 networks that was available with IPv4. This is a very complex function that must be considered when evaluating IPv6 security. Therefore, active performance monitoring of IPv6 websites and networks is critical. It will be some time before all of the possible weaknesses of IPv6 are fully exposed. In the interim, IPv6 monitoring will prove to be extremely effective at limiting any security threats to your IPv6 website.
Dotcom-Monitor Native IPv6 Monitoring Bureau
Dotcom-Monitor has deployed a native IPv6 monitoring bureau to offer end-to-end IPv6 performance monitoring for QoS and SLA management from the end-user perspective. Dotcom-Monitor IPv6 native IPvP includes both a HTTP/S synthetic monitor agent process called ServerView, as well as a real browser-based monitoring service called UserView. ServerView is a synthetic monitoring service. Active computer agents log onto targeted URLs as often as once per minute and execute scripts that simulate real end-user connections to a website. Dotcom- Monitor performs URL monitoring for performance, accessibility, availability, checks content, monitors forms, and provides basic NT LAN (NTLM) authentication support. It provides monitoring for both HTTP sites, which typically use port 80, as well as for HTTPS, which by default uses port 443 unless another port is specified.
UserView is employed to monitor transactional processes such as shopping carts, member logins and sign-up processes, as well as for websites with a predominance of dynamic Web 2.0 elements like Flash, AJAX, etc. UserView Monitoring simulates end-user interactions, and supports cookies, dynamic variables, client-side certificates and password-protected pages. The collected data is aggregated by each step and by the overall transaction for complete reporting. With active monitoring using native IPv6, companies deploying IPv6 website can ensure that SLAs are being met specific to IPv6 performance. End-to-end IPv6 performance monitoring is crucial to maximize the return on investment of the deployment and to understand its effects on the IT operations and the business. Therefore, Dotcom-Monitor provides instantaneous notification of IPv6 website and web application performance issues, based on customer configured notification and escalation parameters. Dotcom-Monitor also provides extensive real-time reporting using graphical charts that explain success/failure rates for specific performance checks, response/download times, uptime/downtime, load variations by hour/day/week and much more. For e-commerce sites, Dotcom-Monitor will measure quality of service for each phase of the transaction process as well as performance comparisons among different geographic areas.
Monitoring IPv6: Conclusion
Using an active external performance monitoring service will be critical with the advent of IPv6. Network and website managers must have a true view into end-user connectivity and the ability to receive instant notification whenever a problem occurs. To test your site performance for free, visit the Dotcom-Monitor Free Tools page.