IPv6 for Cloud Servers

Eagle-eyed observers might have noticed that we quietly rolled out IPv6 addressing into Brightbox Cloud over the last couple of weeks. In fact, John’s Riak Cluster Guide used IPv6 for direct access to the newly created servers.

With the global IPv4 address space approaching full capacity, we were careful to design Brightbox Cloud to conserve public addresses. Not all servers need to be routable from the Internet, so they are only allocated private IPv4 addresses by default and you map public addresses onto them when you need them (using Cloud IPs). Of course, Cloud IPs have lots of other benefits too, such as the ability to instantly move them between servers and load balancers.

So now, in addition to a private IPv4 address, Brightbox Cloud Servers get a public IPv6 address which is directly accessible over the Internet.

You can find your server’s IPv6 address using the brightbox-servers show cli command, or by using the DNS name ipv6.srv-xxxxx.gb1.brightbox.com:

$ ssh ubuntu@ipv6.srv-o7z2f.gb1.brightbox.com
Warning: Permanently added 'ipv6.srv-o7z2f.gb1.brightbox.com,2a02:1348:14c:35e1:24:19ff:fef0:d786' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
Last login: Mon Jan  9 22:41:21 2012 from from 2a02:1348:14c:c03:24:19ff:fef0:300e

ubuntu@srv-o7z2f:~$ ping6 -c1 ipv6.google.com
PING ipv6.google.com(bru01m01-in-x69.1e100.net) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from bru01m01-in-x69.1e100.net: icmp_seq=1 ttl=53 time=13.8 ms

--- ipv6.google.com ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 0ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 13.899/13.899/13.899/0.000 ms

IPv6 addresses available on all newly built servers, but you can convert older servers by snapshotting them and building new ones from the snapshot (some older servers may have IPv6 addresses already though, double check to be sure).

Our distributed firewall has been IPv6 enabled from day one, so all your rules apply to both IPv4 and IPv6 (unless you’ve explicitly specified one or the other).

IPv6 is a winner even just as a way to access your new servers directly without having to map a Cloud IP. But as IPv4 addresses become shorter in supply, more and more systems will become reliant on IPv6.

Cloud IP addresses are still only IPv4, so you can’t move your IPv6 address between servers just yet, but we’re working on that :)

If your ISP doesn’t provide native IPv6 support, you can use a tunnel broker service such as Hurricane Electric.

posted 11 Jan 2012 by Jeremy Jarvis