Thursday, July 21, 2016

We are seeing more and more support requests related to IPv6, so I figured it was about time to IPv6 enable our own public web and DNS servers to get more hands-on experience with this.

Our products Simple DNS Plus and Simple Failover both fully support IPv6 - and have for a long time. However our own IPv6 testing has always been on our LAN or via tunneling as we never had a real public IPv6 address.

Unfortunately it turns out that neither Microsoft Azure (home of our web-sites since May 2014), nor Amazon AWS (home of our VMs / DNS servers since September 2015), nor (our domain name registrar since the late 1990's) support IPv6 yet.

I really like the Microsoft Azure concept - utilizing web, SQL and other services without having to configure and maintain the Windows Server operating system, IIS, SQL server, etc. is nice.
However I was never impressed with performance. Especially SQL server performance is bad - even at the "S2" level, a fairly simple query against a 2 GB database took forever compared to the same query against the same database on a local SQL Server Express instance.
I liked being able to publish web-site updates using Git - except this process was slow - and web-sites took a long time to restart after each Git push.
And of course they don't support IPv6.

Amazon AWS VMs work very well (better and faster than Azure VMs). Only problem is the lack of IPv6 support - otherwise I might have moved everything there.

And I have been happy with our domain name registrar (a subsidiary) for many years. Their prices are not as competitive as they used to be, but not unreasonable. And everything just works - except that they don't support IPv6 addresses in DNS server glue records.

So in order to implement IPv6, I needed to find both a new hosting provider and a new domain name registrar.

After testing a few different hosting providers, I decided to go with Vultr. They basically provide VMs with fast solid state disk drives (SSD) and with a nice web based control panel. And they have almost as many data centers around the world as Azure.
Unfortunately this means that I once again have to maintain Windows, IIS, SQL Server, etc.. And have I have to be more careful with backups as things are not as redundant as with Azure.
But they support IPv6 (you get a whole /64 block for each VM), their VMs are super fast, and the price for my setup is about a quarter of what I paid Microsoft Azure. I can still publish web-site updates with Git - using Bonobo Git Server - just much faster. SQL Server is also really fast on this setup.

As for the domain name registrar, after some research and testing, I choose I did experience a few issues with their web interface (slow Ajax queries in the background with no UI indication), but generally this works very well. They are cheaper than, and they support IPv6 addresses in DNS server registration glue records.

We will be moving everything piece by piece over the next few months.

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