Experts: Use a vision of the future to sell IPv6

The best way to convince budget officers and project managers to support IPv6 is for advocates to paint a vision of the future, experts said today.

Without the kind of application that makes people eager to adopt a new technology, IPv6’s advocates are in a quandary as they try to get the support of agency executives, said Gerald Lepisko, information technology specialist at the Internal Revenue Service. Lepisko was a panelist at an IPv6 conference in Washington sponsored by 1105 Government Information Group, Federal Computer Week’s parent company.

One problem is that managers think about budgets one year at a time, said Lepisko, who’s overseeing the IRS’ transition to IPv6, or the Next Generation Internet.

Lepisko said he can’t tell managers there will be immediate benefits or new applications in the first year. Instead, he has to talk about what will come in the future, such as more security, mobility and address space.

However, the Office of Management and Budget is creating awareness about IPv6, said Steven Pirzchalski, IPv6 transition manager at the Veterans Affairs Department. For the fiscal 2009 Exhibit 300 business case justifications, OMB asked agencies to consider how projects would benefit from or contribute to IPv6.

“It gets people thinking and talking,” he said.

IPv6 “is a means to an end, not an end in itself,” said panelist Fred Schobert, chief technology officer at the Federal Acquisition Service’s Integrated Technology Services. IPv6 will enable agencies to do more in the future, he said.

“Don’t underestimate the power of the network,” Schobert said.

Panelist Kris Strance, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s senior IT analyst and IPv6 transition manager, said agencies won’t even know what the new protocol will bring until it is running and people start developing applications for it.

“IPv6 is an evolutionary step,” said Dave West, director of field operations at Cisco Systems.

Strance said the Global Positioning System ran into the same problem at the outset. People didn’t know for certain where or how they would use it, but today its applications range from launching bombs to tracking the locations of cell phone users.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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