Re: [sig-policy] Timeline for implementing the transfer proposal

  • To: MAEMURA Akinori <maem at nic dot ad dot jp>, Policy SIG <sig-policy at apnic dot net>
  • Subject: Re: [sig-policy] Timeline for implementing the transfer proposal
  • From: Geoff Huston <gih at apnic dot net>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:44:26 +1100
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    • Maemura-san,
      I thank you for your contribution informing us of the perspective of JPNIC, a NIR member of APNIC, on the current status of the transfer policy proposal being considered by this community.
      Firstly, I must observe that I personally have been very impressed by the care and attention that has been exercised by the entire JP community in the consideration of this policy topic. I had the honor to attend in person a JP Open Policy Meeting in November last year as a guest, and the thoughtful, considered and thorough manner in which this topic was considered by the JPOPM participants impressed me greatly.
      I understand this communication from JPNIC has been communicated in the same considered and thoughtful manner, and my response here is certainly one that has been made with, I trust, due care and thoughtful consideration and deep respect.
      My personal interpretation is that this position is along the lines of one of the closing statements in the posting, and I quote "JPNIC cannot support this proposal until it is clear that there is a concrete plan that remaining issues will be addressed in an appropriate manner. " My interpretation of that message is "Please, we need more time and more information."
      I would like to specifically response to the plea for more time, as it is one I heard in APNIC 26 when this topic was considered in August 2008, and previously in APNIC 25, a year ago.
      Would that we all had more time to consider these issues. This situation is one that is entirely surprising, unplanned and certainly unintended. By the time the IPv4 address pool was in its final stages we were all meant to be well on the way with deployment of IPv6, and there was never intended to be any such concept of "the last IPv4 address". Well before the unallocated IPv4 address pool was at risk of complete exhaustion we were meant to have completed this transition to IPv6 and consigned the by then unwanted last IPv4 address to a digital museum. That script is not being followed. And the imposition of the intense global economic downswing on top of this circumstance has negated even the remote prospect of any last minute scramble to avert the impact of IPv4 address exhaustion.
      So we now must face a rather sombre new reality: firstly, collectively, we, the global internet community, have indeed failed to avoid encountering IPv4 exhaustion, and, secondly, we are on a trajectory and a timeframe that is no longer negotiable, in that the processes that are driving us towards direct confrontation with IPv4 address exhaustion are now at a scale and momentum that the process is now inexorable and certain. There is now a new reality that we simply have to adjust to, that in the next 2 - 3 years the current address distribution framework that is used by this global internet and its now billions of users is going to reach its conclusion, while the process that are driving its continued expansion appear to want to continue unabated, and will continue to express demand for further IPv4 addresses, as the parallel process of adoption of IPv6 is now incapable to meeting the timetable posed by this rundown condition. Whatever we used to understand and believe in this area of address infrastructure administration now requires reassessment and, potentially, realignment.
      2 - 3 years is not a lot of time for an industry that has over a relatively short period of time accumulated billions of end users, hundreds of millions of devices, millions of edge networks and service operators, thousands of services operators and hundreds of individual economies. This remaining time is now a precious commodity and we need to spend it wisely.
      Everyone, policy makers here in the APNIC community, registries that manage address distribution and registration functions, ISPs, enterprise networks, vendors, service integrators, network operators, regulators, public policy folk, experts of various forms would all like to claim all of this this short remaining time for themselves in order to undertake their plans and preparations. And if all of this activity could proceed in parallel then this would be a wonderful solution within the limitations of out current circumstances.
      But perhaps the next aspect of this new reality that we now find ourselves in is that this cannot proceed in parallel. Operators need time to prepare, but cannot do so until they have some idea as to what form of address environment they will be operating in. But once they have that information they will need time to implement the appropriate internal mechanisms and procedures to sustain their operations following IPv4 address exhaustion. The same consideration applies to each and every member of this set of parties - we all need some exclusive amount to time to prepare for what we need to do based on the outcomes of the preparations of others. So the next aspect of this new reality that we find ourselves now is is that the one really precious finite commodity we have left, the remaining time, cannot be used exclusively by any single entity, must must be shared sequentially. None of us has the luxury of the ability to say "please allow us more time" without impacting negatively on the needs of other who also need time to prepare based on the outcomes of others. Our world is tightly interdependent and delay by one becomes imposed delay on all.
      So how should we use this precious remaining time to maximize the beneficial outcomes for the Internet? And, hopefully, using the time to minimize the chances of entering into further unplanned adventures of infrastructure chaos and network collapse? Should we take more time as a policy group to fully understand all possible courses of actions and the complete range of potential implications in the short and far term? As useful as such information may be, such a study would encompass months if not further years of study, and in the meantime would necessarily impede the needs of others who need to make their plans based on the understanding or what forms of consequent address re-distribution mechanisms will be provided through tomorrow's registry system. This does not seem to me to be an outcome that meets the objective of maximizing beneficial outcomes. Should we notionally adopt a redistribution mechanism now, but "turn it on" only when the disruptive exhaustion event occurs? Again the seems to me to be suboptimal, as it attempts to maximize disruption at the time when the existing distribution arrangements come to their logical conclusion, rather than mitigate it and works against the needs of others who could benefit in their preparation efforts in early exposure to the forthcoming re-distribution arrangements, whatever they may be, before the current distribution comes to an abrupt termination.
      So the question I ask myself in this context of policy formulation is "given the limited time left to us all in the current framework, how can we spend what time remains as wisely as we can?" And the conclusion I am personally drawn towards is one that is perhaps somewhat uncomfortable for some. The conclusion that I am drawn towards is the observation that we would be selfish and we would increase the prospects of complete failure and collapse of the Internet as we know it if we were to take more time now to decide in a policy formulation framework as what the registry function should do and how it should behave in a post-exhaustion world. Others need their time to plan too, and their plans rely, in no small part, on the planned registry framework in this new environment. Its time to clearly decide what we can achieve as a framework for the registry function in the new reality and then allow others to use what time remains to work through their consequent preparatory procedures and work out how they can maximize their prospects of an outcome for the Internet that, if not entirely comfortable, avoids being destructively harmful.
      I think that we really do not have the luxury of claiming exclusively more time for our processes to further deliberate and ponder these issues. Others are waiting for our outputs in order to start working on their necessary agendas. And time is short, and what time is left needs to be shared carefully and wisely.
      My apologies for the length of this message, and, again, I am impressed by the care and thought of the community and the JP community in particular in these important matters, and I hope that this contribution can be of some assistance to the overall process we are engaged in here.
      Disclaimer: Obviously this is a contribution made in a purely personal capacity as an individual member of this community.