Dubbed Automatic IPv6, the new service is made possible through the use of proxies at CloudFlare's 14 data centers worldwide. The proxies translate incoming IPv6 traffic into IPv4 before being sent to a website. The service also provides IPv4-to-IPv6 translation services for new websites -- particularly those in Asia -- that are being built using IPv6 only.
[ Also on InfoWorld: An IPv6 transition framework for the enterprise, as well as 8 security considerations for IPv6 deployment and your handy IPv6 checklist. | Get your websites up to speed with HTML5 today using the techniques in InfoWorld's HTML5 Deep Dive PDF how-to report. | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld's "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]
IPv6: What you need to do now
IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4. Carriers, hosting companies and enterprises are migrating to IPv6 because the Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, so website operators must deploy translation services or run both protocols if they want to be reachable by all Internet users in the future.
CloudFlare offers hosted CDN and security services, including deep packet inspection aimed at stopping malware, spam, and denial of service attacks. The company supports more than 100,000 websites, including bloggers, news sites and enterprises such as the government of Turkey.
"The mission of CloudFlare is to make the Web faster and safer," said Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare. "We can stop [attacks] at the edge, before they get to a customer's data center. At the same time, we can auto detect resources on a Web page that are static, and cache those at the edge. On average, we double the payload speed at a website and reduce the loan on the Web server by about half."
Prince said CloudFlare handles more than 15 billion page views per month and supports more than 350 million unique Internet users. The company offers an advertiser-based service that is free as well as a service that is $20 per month and custom offerings for enterprise customers. Its business model is similar to OpenDNS, a free DNS service that also supports IPv6.
Now CloudFlare is bundling IPv6 translation capabilities with all of its caching and security services.
"There will be no additional cost for this feature," Prince said. "It's cheaper for us to run the traffic over the IPv6 network than the IPv4 network, so there isn't any additional, incremental cost for us."