In my job at Microsoft, I worry about lots of things, not the least of which is where I parked my car this morning.MP900411803[1]

I worry about Russia's move to abolish Daylight Saving Time, where to eat in Las Vegas, and the transition to ipv6. (Of course, our other announcement today eliminating the clock from the Windows OS should address the challenges of ever shifting DST scheduled and time zones.)

I recall a great headline last year from the good folks at ZDNet: IPv6: The end of the Internet as we know it (and I feel fine). Paraphrasing a classic REM song is fine, but in the views of some, IPv6 is not 2012. (With a nod to the Mayan calendar, which ends or renews -- depending on your side of the debate -- December 21, 2012, when a new Mayan Calendar count begins.) These make for great headlines. But many companies – including Microsoft – have been working on the transition to IPv6 for several years. Like any change, it's always good to review where you and your industry is when it comes to migrating to a new technology or system.

Although IPv6 is designed to solve many of the problems of the current version of the IP (IPv4), we believe that this should be enough IP addresses for a few more years. Although IPv6 provides improved security, autoconfiguration, and extensibility, we know that a limited number of companies are reluctant to support the first release of a new product, and often wait for Service Pack 1 to be released.

So today, we are happy to announce the next move to the Internet Protocol, IPv6 SP1, the first sustained engineering service pack update to IPv6.

This innovative and just plain one better service pack will provide improved business value, ease of use and an incentive for customers to migrate to the next generation of the Internet. Its use will also expand the capabilities of the Internet and enable a variety of valuable and exciting scenarios. Realizing far too late that eventually these IPv4 addresses would be exhausted, Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) was mapped out in the 1990's and then published in 1998 as the next step in IP.  IPv6 is 128-bit, which provides support for many more devices. 3.4 to the 128th, to be exact, or 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses. IPv6.1 further embraces the move to social networking and the cloud by adding support for roughly twice as many addresses (2 to the 129th IP addresses – or 680,564,733,841,876,926,926,749,214,863,536,422,912) by allowing emoticon suffixes to the current set supported in IPv6.

There has been tremendous support in the marketplace for the announcement of IPv6.1.  Industry visionary Dan Jump, CEO of Contoso gave his early endorsement to the coming service pack at a joint press conference today. "Just as we've supported virtually every product and service Microsoft has ever brought to market, we've also been early testers on SP1 for IPv6. With this new release, we've been very happy in the support we've received from Microsoft. The entire Contoso family – with the exception of former CIO Albert V. Leems – are excited to see this next step in Internet. I'm personally excited to see where I'll keep all of my new 428 octillion Internet enabled devices."

(In a separate announcement, Contoso announced that Mr. Leems announced has decided to leave the company effective immediately "to spend more time with his family.")

Please note that build-to-build upgrades for the IPv6.1 beta, Release Candidate (RC) or Release to Manufacturing (RTM) will be supported. If you have installed the beta or RC of SP1, you must uninstall it first and then install the RTM of IPv6.1. Please note that IPv6.1 will not support certain alphanumerical URL key combinations and automatically redirect users to an appropriate forwarding address.

We expect that IPv6.1 will be issued about 12 months after IPv6 day, June 8, 2011.

Tags: Windows, Microsoft, IPv6, IPv4

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