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Thoughts and a crazy prediction on ipv6

Every few months there's a new (or old!) article that floats around the echochamber of blogs and twitter that lays predictions about the rate of IPv4 address consumption and targets our iminent destruction. People parrot off quotes from this article, dates, etc. It's amusing to me given the frequency in which new posts occur compared to the inaction.

This post isn't about predicting when or why we should care, because that's such a boring, dead horse, I'd rather not kick it. Poor little horsey.

Realistically, I think the whole v4 to v6 transition is going to be pretty lame and unexciting. Existing owners of IP space probably won't care and will move to IPv6 when the business need demands it. I want excitement, fireworks, and explosions. That's what makes movies awesome, isn't it? That's what keeps Michael Bay in business, anyway.

So let's talk about explosions. Our story begins.

Week 1: We're out of IP space. Shit hits the fan. No one really understands what IPv4 or IPv6 is, or why we should care, but we're out of it, so there's a media frenzy. Stories on the front page of the Wall Street Journal declare that ecommerce is dead due to this mysterious affliction called "eye pee vee four". Someone makes a crappy metaphor of a mall being out of retail spaces. C-level folks around the world panic: "We can't launch tomorrow! THE MALL IS FULL!!!" - misinformation leads decisions on product delays. Stock market takes a small dip. Nobody really knows what is going on, but everyone is sure the sky is falling. Rumors of undead walking in San Francisco spike on Twitter.

Week 2: CTOs do internal invesgitations to see how much IP space they own. The CFO gets wind that they have "thousands" of IP addresses and remembers last week's panic about how there are no more IP addresses, but doesn't really know what an "eye pee" is, but it sounds funny. An idea hits. IPv4 address space becomes a profit center. CFO presents to the board about sales/rental/lease models for IP addresses. There's a slide with graph on it that has an line that goes up and to the right.

Week 4: IT Operations is told by the exec team that priority #1 is to consolidate IP usage. No reason is given. Profit incentives feed IT management and pressure mounts on the operations team from the inside. Six IPv4 auction sites launch, including Godaddy. Three of the new sites have venture funding.

Week 6: C-level pressure to monetize this new scarce resource results in deals struck, contracts signed, and ultimately IP addresses sold. Except nobody involved knows how the internet works, so they sell individual addresses or otherwise small pieces here and there. Later in the week, eBay is updates their TOS to deny sale of /32 addresses.

Week 8: Cloud providers, thanks to CFO-profit-center drives, now start charging for public IP addresses.

Week 12: Due to poor communication, nobody involved in any of these single-ip-address sales has gotten the memo that for technology reasons you can't usually share routing announcements that small due to filtering, performance, and routing table size problems.

Week 14: Major network hardware vendors get wind of this new practice. Despite internal pressure against it, Cisco announces that new router upgrades and hardware are available to support the massive router tables expected. The new causes Cisco's stock to jump. Other major vendors follow with similar announcements.

Week 18: Thousands of small address spaces have been sold or rented. Companies are forced to advertise even smaller routes routes over BGP. Network transit customer support lines are full 24 hours a day with customers complaining that their new routing advertisments are not functioning. Routing table size grows by four times. God kills a kitten.

Week 20: Major routers everywhere are overwhelmed. Struggling to maintain active users, Facebook buys AOL for it's dialup service and announces a new feature called "facebook keywords". You smell something burning. The internet dies.