ARIN recently sent a letter to the CEOs of organizations which hold IPv4 addresses in North America to formally notify them of the approaching IPv4 address pool depletion. The letter, available here (PDF), begins:
IP addresses are the numbers behind domain names and are essential to the Internet. In May 2007, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) advised the Internet community on IP address depletion in what is called Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). At the current rate of consumption, IPv4 will be depleted within the next two years. After that, organizations that need additional IP addresses will need to adopt IPv6, a newer version of the Internet Protocol that provides a much larger pool of address space.
It then goes on to explain that IPv6 should be adopted as soon as possible, and that from this point forward IPv4 space applications will face great scrutiny.
Personally, I don't care for the way this letter is worded. It reads like a letter from the cable company notifying customers of increased rates. Put yourself in the position of a typical CEO or vice president reading this letter, someone unfamiliar with Internet infrastructure, and it's natural to think, "Damn those tech wienies! Because they failed to plan ahead, I have to pay to upgrade my entire network!" Obviously there's a lot more substance to the issue, and there are considerable benefits to be reaped beyond acquiring a greater address space.
Following the quote above, the letter continues, "You should begin planning for IPv6 adoption if you are not doing so already." Seriously? We're well past the point of "you should begin thinking about this" and fast approaching "hope you're ready by now." IPv6 isn't new, and it isn't unexpected. Correspondence from registrars needs to reflect this if there's any hope of instilling a sense of urgency.
Of course, organizations which haven't yet at least formed an IPv6 strategy will be the ones kicking and screaming about the absence of new address space in a few years. But they still won't adopt IPv6. They'll NAT the hell out of their existing infrastructure and resist upgrading to new applications they can't support. In little time they will have spent more mitigating IPv6 than they would have had they adopted it responsibly.
Organizations need to embrace the fact that such an overhaul is a necessity of growth, not a symptom of poor planning. Upgrading IP is not some fabricated service tax, but a recurring operational cost. It's simply not obvious because, with a cycle of roughly forty years, this is the first time it has recurred.