Winners of the IPv6 Challenge: “Work Hard to Overcome Our Difficulties”
This year, LACNIC’s IPv6 Challenge was a perfect springboard for the technology team of the National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA) made up by Felipe Correia and Rosa Ladeira to decide to implement IPv6 in this university network in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
After an initial, unfinished experience with IPv6 in 2015, the possibility of deploying this protocol on the IMPA network had been on the minds of the IT team since the institute received IP address in mid-2013.
Rosa Ladeira, one of the leaders of the IMPA technology team, observed that the challenge had taught them that one should always “work hard to overcome our difficulties and have the professional maturity to understand our limits.” She noted that the global health emergency that was declared in the midst of the competition had forced them to reformulate and intensify their plans, and that they had finally completed the task successfully, which allowed them to win this year’s first edition of the LACNIC IPv6 Challenge.
What prompted you to participate in the IPv6 Challenge?
In mid-2013, IMPA received a /44 IPv6 address block based on an implementation project approved by NIC.br.
In 2015, with only one employee working in the networking area, there was an unsuccessful initiative to deploy IPv6.
Even with a fairly compact IT team committed to offering consistent services that are compatible with the demand for innovation of the different types of IMPA users, it was not possible to continue with the deployment of IPv6.
LACNIC’s 2020 Challenge was a doorway to a new initiative which drew on the experience gained in our prior actions.
What lessons did you take away from the process of participating in the Challenge? Did the appearance of the COVID-19 virus affect the implementation of your project?
We learned about the Challenge just a few days before the registration closing date. We had a fairly small team and just 36 working days to complete the project before the date on which we were expected to deliver our second report, so our project was limited in its ambitions.
We were then surprised by the health emergency caused by the pandemic, and it became clear to us that the 36-day period beginning in January would be further reduced to just 12 business days. This strongly limited our chances of reaching the goals we had initially set.
The reduction of the time for completing the project was compounded not only by the need for intensive dedication, but also by the need to move the IMPA environment to the home office format required by the new situation.
Faced with these circumstances, the Challenge showed us the following: we acquired the ability to analyze and reformulate our goals; it reinforced our understanding that the IPv6 paradigm can help us rebuild the basics applied to IPv4; we understood that at the time we had exhausted the possibility of running tests that could somehow destabilize the production environment. In redesigning the schedule, we decided to prepare a target plan, with the possibility of investing in a solid proposal so that the project can evolve once the emergency is over. Finally, we invested heavily in IPv6 training.
What was your winning initiative? How many people were part of your team and what results did you achieve through this process?
I would mention the following initiatives: don’t give up; work hard to overcome your difficulties, have the professional maturity to understand your limits and invest in potential actions; and, above all, create an outline to provide continuity to the deployment of the IPv6 protocol at IMPA.
The team had only two members, and this makes me value what we have achieved.
As for results, we managed to design the network address architecture in accordance with the IPv6 paradigm; we advanced in deploying IPv6 from the edge (with the cooperation of RNP and Redecomep, which was greatly appreciated); and, through training, we defined an approach to provide continuity to the project for IPv6 deployment at IMPA once working conditions have been reestablished.
What would recommend to organizations that would like to deploy IPv6 in their networks?
Intensive training, a detailed design of the various project stages and their activities, start by deploying IPv6 from the edge and then move on to the internal infrastructure; extensive testing.