Kubernetes / Programming Languages

Feature Flags that Promote Teamwork, Kubernetes Catches up on IPv6

1 Mar 2019 5:00pm, by

This week on The New Stack Context podcast, we talk about how feature flagging promotes cross-team collaboration and DevOps with Adam Zimman, vice president of product and platform at The New Stack sponsor LaunchDarkly.

As Zimman wrote in a post this week, feature flags are increasingly being used in release management to decouple feature rollout from code deployment. Using feature flags, a new feature can, say, be tested on a small and friendly group of users before it’s rolled out to everybody. But did you know that using feature flags can actually encourage different teams, developers and product managers, for example, to work together more closely?

Then in the second half of the show, we discuss Mary Branscombe’s article this week about some of the issues companies are running into due to the limited Kubernetes support for IPv6 addresses.

The Internet Protocol serves as the fundamental addressing format for the internet. The originators, not predicting IoT or smartphones, didn’t expect that all the IP would ever be used. They designed a 32-bit address field, consisting of four 8-bit octets that could accommodate about 4.3 billion assignable addresses. Most of the IPv4 addresses are taken. Earlier this year, the last IPv4 block was sold. Only about 43 million are left out in the wild.

Cisco has estimated that we’ll need 50 billion addresses next year for IoT alone. Needless to say, we have a shortage. IPv6 to the rescue! This format has 128 bit addresses space, offering a total of 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses, or 340 undecillion addresses. So that should last us awhile.

The Internet Engineering Task Force has warned us about Ipv4 exhaustion for decades, though enterprises have been slow to adopt it, if only because that there is no real upside for enterprises themselves to migrate to IPv6. So it was not a controversial move to start K8s out on IPv4 only. But one early adopter of IPv6 has been the telecommunications firms, and since they are also looking at Kubernetes for 5G, it is not surprising they are pushing the envelope forward with IPv6.

With the 1.9 release, the container orchestrator supports IPv6-only clusters and the latest release, v1.13, uses the IPv6-friendly CoreDNS. The next big challenge is dual stack support for both IPv4 and IPv6. “Dual-stack IPv6 support for Kubernetes is more or less design-complete,” Google’s Tim Hockin told Branscombe. “We have a very nice Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal for it, but that work has stalled a bit. It will be a few releases before that work is done, best case.”

Libby Clark, TNS editorial director, hosted this show, along with Joab Jackson, TNS managing editor and Alex Williams, co-founder and editor-in-chief at The New Stack.

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Feature image via Pixabay.

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