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Making an IPv6-only VM a useful tool in an IPv4 dominated world » History » Revision 2

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Moris Jones, 01/05/2020 03:04 PM


Making an IPv6-only VM a useful tool in an IPv4 dominated world

Datacenterlight offers IPv6-only VMs. Currently these cannot compete with IPv4 VMs or VPSes for usefulness because so much of the world still does not have IPv6 support at any level. We know that IPv6 is the future, but we need a bridge, a 'hack', to make things work in the interim. At the present time, the solution offered has three components:

  1. An IPv6 VPN, including for-free with the VM, allowing administrator access to the VM and the IPv6 world in general, even if their internet access point does not support IPv6
  2. NAT64 outgoing gateway, enabling the VM to access machines and services only available on IPv4
  3. IPv4-to-IPv6 incoming gateway, offering port forwarding, that enables the VM to be visible and provide services to the IPv4 world without its own dedicated IPv4 address

But there is a problem:

At this time the IPv4-to-IPv6 incoming gateway only officially supports the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. A website served via HTTP needs and domain, and a domain needs a domain name server, and that domain name server needs to be visible on IPv4. So the only way to use an IPv6-only VM as a webserver at this time is to pay for external DNS hosting. In fact a VM which can only provide HTTP services to the outside world is only slightly more capable than regular shared hosting, which is both cheaper and includes DNS hosting for free.

All of this will be solved once the world transitions to IPv6, but that tipping point is practically still a few years away.

Most VM customers want to run a variety of services on their virtual machine, not just web hosting - after all, this a full-root-access virtual machine, not shared hosting. No serious customer is going to want to pay for a VM that can do so little. As such, the product is practically speaking just a toy, and not a useful tool.

The first thing that needs to be done is to provide an immediate solution for at least all common hosting services, preferably a universal one.

In the medium term, a less-hackish solution should replace it.

In the long term, the world will transition to IPv6.

Essential minimal services for a VM, making it a basic tool rather than a toy, are as follows:

HTTP/s
SMTP/s
DNS/s+DNS-over-HTTPS
IMAP/s
POP3s
SSH
FTP/s

A more reasonable solution would be to provide a generic TLS port forwarding service that works with any TLS-encapsulated protocol.

The following approaches could address the issue

Updated by Moris Jones over 2 years ago · 2 revisions