Report: Vendors don’t get your hopes up about IPv6 spending

Analysis suggests spending will rise, slightly to moderately

According to an analysis conducted by market research firm Government Insights, the transition to IPv6 is a significant opportunity for IT services vendors. However, the study warns, they should not overestimate the government’s planned spending on pure IPv6 hardware upgrades.

The report reviews the driving factors behind the government’s IPv6 transition, and predicts the reality behind the spending numbers and the challenge of operating some systems in dual-protocol mode.

“Several agencies are lagging in their IPv6 transition plans, and there is a noticeable absence of a killer application to help drive interest,” said Shawn McCarthy, director of government vendor programs at Government Insights in Framingham, Mass. “Since the transition is an unfunded mandate, some agencies are not giving IPv6 the priority they should, given the looming deadline.”

The report forecasts IT services spending will increase, while upgrades to IPv6 will be included within planned hardware spending. The greatest opportunities will be in surveying, managing the transition for government networks, working on configuration management, testing, security monitoring and ongoing management. The report warns that agencies need to take the transition more seriously.

The study cites dual-mode security concerns that agencies will face during the transition to IPv6, and believes the complete transition to all parts of government networks could take several years after the 2008 deadline.

“Systems integrators should be aware that dual-mode systems protocol can be exploited to deliver [malicious software], while avoiding detection, if firewalls or intrusion detection systems are not configured to recognize IPv6 traffic,” McCarthy said.

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Government Computer News’ affiliate publication, Washington Technology.

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