Does IPv6 Adoption Depend on Akamai?

The ongoing effort to switch the entire planet over to IPv6 has a chicken-and-egg problem: there is little incentive to deploy it if no one else is using it. This is expected to change as IPv4 addresses become more scarce, but for the time being uptake is dismal (in the U.S. at least).

One easy way to measure IPv6 adoption is to see how many of Alexa’s top sites have AAAA records. Hurricane Electric and Lars Eggert do a good job of this. Following in their footsteps my own version of this data is shown below:

IPv6 Adoption - Alexa top 1000

IPv6 Adoption - Alexa top 1000

It shows IPv6 adoption in Alexa’s top 1000 sites along with the number of sites using Akamai. The number of IPv6 sites is pretty small but the number of “testing” sites is encouraging. See the notes below for a detailed explanation and breakdown.

Who is Akamai? They’re a giant content and application delivery provider. If you serve out a bajillion pages to users all over the world, Akamai can help you do it more effectively. They also don’t support IPv6. According to a response I received from them they have no plans to deploy it any time soon. As you can see, if just one company added IPv6 support, it would have a huge impact on content availability.

Two Akamai users stick out: Apple and Microsoft. Apple’s Airport Extreme gives home users IPv6 automatically, but those users can’t access apple.com over IPv6. The same is true of microsoft.com ŚWindows Vista and 7 have excellent IPv6 support but you can’t use it to connect to Microsoft. Even worse, Microsoft has a test address (www.ipv6.microsoft.com) which is broken in two ways: it doesn’t follow accepted naming conventsions and it’s currently down.

When Akamai starts delivering IPv6 content, it will be a pretty big milestone.

Notes:

  1. The graph was generated using Amazon’s “top 1 million sites” data from September 6, 2009.
  2. Categories were tabulated thusly: “IPv6 Deployed” sites (5) had AAAA records for either domain.com or www.domain.com. “IPv6 Testing” sites (16) had AAAA records for ipv6.domain.com, www.ipv6.domain.com, or www6.domain.com. “Akamai” sites (108) had CNAMEs pointing to one of the many Akamai domains (akadns.net, edgekey.net, edgesuite.net, or d4p.net).
  3. The data was fudged in two places due to overlap. Microsoft.com was categorized as “Akamai” for reasons discussed above. Sify.com had both test and production AAAA records. They were counted as “IPv6 Deployed.”
  4. Alexa is more of a random number generator rather than an accurate measurement of top web sites. They get their data from people with the Alexa toolbar installed. These people tend to be overly-interested in things like web hosting and search engine optimization. For example, I really like SoftLayer but there’s no way in Hell they should be in the top 500.

2 thoughts on “Does IPv6 Adoption Depend on Akamai?

  1. Liberty Miller

    Good article! (& better than NCC’s ” IPv6 Act Now” effort .. ­čśë

    And this is HILARIOUS (in that ‘it’s-funny-because-it’s-so-true’ kind of way):

    “Even worse, Microsoft has a test address which is broken in two ways…” (etc.)

    Reminds me of how I couldn’t find Microsoft sites using Microsoft’s search engine…

  2. epi

    Scaricity is profitable. As you know money was once backed by scarce gold but currently it is only backed by the greed of hoarders. The limited ipv4 address space could change that and be used for creating a new monetary standard, unfortunately ipv6 would be inflationary.

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