There are 4 major shifts in how bits and bytes are handled in computers and networks. Coincidentally all seem to happen within the same timeframe (+- 1 year). You will in other words have a busy couple of years once we get out of this recession.
16 to 32 bits – AS number
We are running out of AS numbers that are being used in routing protocols, mainly between ISPs. The AS numbers are expected to run out by August of 2011
32 bits to 64 bits – Processors and operating systems
64-bit processors have been around for a while. We all remember our excitement when we opened our new Nintendo 64 game console. At that time the gaming experience assumed to be proportional to the number of bits of the instructions the processor could handle. This was late in last millennium. However, it is first now, with the release of Windows 2008 R2 that we will see a broad adoption of the technology in mainstream IT. Windows 2008 R2 will be 64 bits only. The 32 bit servers you just ordered from Dell will do you no good. You need to look for servers with new processor from AMD or Intel such as Pentium 4, Xeon, Itanium, Athlon 64 or Core i7.
General availability of Windows 2008 R2 will be in October 2009. To find out more about Windows 2008 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_2008
32 bits to 128 bits – Internet Protocol
As you know, we are running out of IPv4 addresses. The IANA pool will be depleted in November 2010.
Click on the report tab above for more info.
512 bytes – 4096 bytes – DNS packet sizes
New technologies such as IPv6 and DNSSEC resulted in larger DNS packets. There was unfortunately an upper limit of 512 bytes in the DNS responses a server could send. The new standard EDNS0 fixes this. This upgrade wasn’t supposed to break anything. The idea was that the client could flag if they supported the new standard and the server could respond accordingly. However, Studies have shown that several firewalls and other products can’t handle DNS packet bigger than 512. They simply think that they are wrong and throw them away. So it is not enough to just upgrade your clients and servers, you must make some changes to you infrastructure as well.
See list of routers/firewalls that failed to forward EDNS0 packets correctly at http://download.nominet.org.uk/dnssec-cpe/DNSSEC-CPE-Report.pdf
There is no fixed cut off date on this problem, but you need to be compliant as the new technologies get deployed, otherwise you will not be able to take advantage of them.
Have fun upgrading! /S