Government Insights Predicts Modest Spike in Federal Spending for IPv6 Transition

FRAMINGHAM, MA – DECEMBER 5, 2006 – According to a recent analysis conducted by market research firm Government Insights, an IDC company, the pending government transition to IPv6 is a significant opportunity for IT services vendors, but vendors are cautioned not to over-estimate the government's planned spending on pure IPv6 hardware upgrades. The Government Insights 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," says Shawn P. McCarthy director, Government Vendor programs at Government Insights. "And since the transition is an unfunded mandate, some agencies are not giving IPv6 the priority that they should, given the looming deadline."

Government Insights predicts that U.S. federal government upgrades to IPv6 will be included within planned hardware spending, with a boost only to IT services spending. The greatest opportunity will be in surveying, managing the transition for government networks, working on configuration management, testing, security monitoring, and ongoing management. The report cautions that the transition needs to be taken more seriously by the agencies.

"The toughest part, for most agencies, will be to get a handle on what needs to be accomplished across their networks as they make the transition," McCarthy added. "Beyond their backbone networks, agencies will likely face the challenge of dual-mode, supporting both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time on their internal networks, until all hardware and applications can be made compatible with the new protocol."

The study cites dual-mode security concerns that agencies will face during the transition to IPv6, and predicts that the complete transition to all parts of government networks could take until several years after the 2008 deadline. Agencies are meeting basic OMB requirements with IPv6 capable equipment with dual IPv4 support as needed. "Systems integrators should be aware that dual-mode systems protocol can be exploited to deliver malware, while avoiding detection, if firewalls or intrusion detection systems are not configured to recognize IPv6 traffic," cautions McCarthy.

The study, The Real IPv6 Opportunity: Understanding the Strengths and Limits of the Federal 2008 Deadline (Doc #GI204451), provides a five-year forecast of the modest boost IPv6 will have on federal government spending on IT hardware, software, and services. The report also provides guidance for vendors seeking to support the government's transition, and advice for government agencies regarding configuration management and consistent support.

The study is available at http://www.idc.com .

About Government Insights, an IDC Company

Government Insights, an IDC company, provides government organizations and IT vendors who serve them with research-based advisory and consulting services that enable government executives to maximize the value of their technology investments; minimize technology risk through accurate planning; benchmark themselves against industry peers; adopt industry best practices for organizational/technology alignment; make more informed technology decisions; and drive technology-enabled performance and innovation. Government Insights provides full coverage of the government value chain, with special emphasis on developing and employing strategies that leverage IT investments to maximize organizational performance. Staffed by senior analysts with significant technology experience in government, Government Insights provides a portfolio of research and advisory services that are relevant to the needs of both the government and IT vendor communities.

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