How can small enterprises remain competitive in a dual stacked world?

We all know that the Internet has been running out of space for the best part of ten years now, or at least address space that is. In real terms, the 4,294,967,296 addresses provided by IPv4 have now been exhausted and IPv6 compatibility is now a priority many, if not all IT directors’ wish lists.

Nobody likes a bit of scaremongering more than IT vendors, specialists and resellers – after all, it pays them to convince hapless IT directors that without this or that new piece of kit their companies will grind to a halt, and makes the specialists feel full of their own self importance! With this in mind, just how does a small business decide the best way to go about reducing network operational costs while increasing new revenue streams and dealing with the inevitable IPv6 transition (also known as dual stacking)?

The key to IT provisions for small businesses is that the equipment must be pragmatic and offer a broad range of functions. There are various bits of kit floating around at the moment but for a small-medium (SME), sized company with limited IT budgets, I think (bearing in mind, I’m also the MD of a SME myself), that the Brocade NetIron CER 2000 is the best option available – it can scale up to 1.5 million IPv4 routes plus 256 thousand IPv6 routes in hardware and achieves IPv6 out of the box, with only additional licensing needed for Multi-Protocol Label Switching MPLS/ VPLS and other advanced features.

It’s ideal for small to medium-sized service providers that want to push IP and MPLS features to the edge of their networks and is available in both 24 and 48 port 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) copperwith additional hybrid fibre versions with two optional 10 GbE uplink ports on the back. As a result, it can be deployed as a compact and scalable Provider Edge (PE), router capable of converging Layer 2 and Layer 3 business services onto a single platform.

Issues with multi protocol switching and Layer2/3 convergence need not necessarily prove exorbitantly expensive or difficult to bridge from an IT perspective if you just do a bit of research and define your requirements and objectives as to what you’re really after. The best thing about SMEs is that we are pragmatic and versatile; the fact that the Brocade CER 2000 is just that in technological terms, would be why it’s my choice for the SME.