Business is waiting in the wings

On paper, it seems like a no-brainer opportunity. There's a mandate from the Office of Management and Budget. There's a new technology that holds the promise of better and faster applications. And systems integrators are the best ones to help agencies implement the new technology.

But in the case of IP Version 6, paper and reality don't quite mix.

As Brad Grimes explains in this issue's cover story, IPv6 activity among agencies and the opportunities for systems integrators are sporadic.

OMB set a June 2008 deadline for agencies to make their backbone networks IPv6-capable, but no money is earmarked for the transition. To paraphrase one executive, there's not much of a stick, and there's no carrot.

Many agencies are lagging in developing transition plans and creating inventories of their infrastructure. Most of the activity is coming from agencies that can see the potential benefits of IPv6. The Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are among the leaders, in addition to the Defense Department.

Driving their activity is the desire and need to move massive amounts of data, and IPv6 will enable the required bandwidth.

For many agencies, there will be few, if any, IPv6-specific contracts; much of the IPv6 work will be done through technology refresh clauses.

Successful integrators need to bring the imagination and innovation to help their customers see the potential of IPv6.

As Walt Grabowski of SI International Inc. told Grimes: "The real opportunities will occur to those agencies and integrators who see the future applications."

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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