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June 13, 2014

Microsoft Azure all spent up on US IPv4 addresses

Software giant was too slow in shifting to IPv6, users being redirected outside of the US.

By Ben Sullivan

Microsoft has said that the global IPv4 address shortage has affected its US-based Azure server customers this week.

The admission came in a blog post where Microsoft responded to customers complaining that they are redirected to a URL outside of the US if they launch a localised page on a web browser using a virtual machine.

"Some Azure customers may have noticed that for a VM deployed in a US region, when they launch a localized page on a web browser it may redirect them to an international site," read the post from Microsoft.

Microsoft goes on to explain that as all of the IPv4 addresses have been assigned in the United States, it has to use addresses available from a global pool outside of the US. These IP addresses are assigned to a non-US region.

"IPv4 address space has been fully assigned in the United States, meaning there is no additional IPv4 address space available. This requires Microsoft to use the IPv4 address space available to us globally for the addressing of new services. The result is that we will have to use IPv4 address space assigned to a non-US region to address services which may be in a US region."

Microsoft said that it is currently working with a "few major IP geo-location database companies" to update the location of the IPs. This move should solve the problems users have been experiencing, the firm claimed.

Microsoft reassured customers that their data is still kept in the US.

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"When you deploy to a U.S. [Microsoft Azure] region, your service is still hosted in U.S. and your customer data will remain in the U.S. as detailed in our Trust Center."

It was May when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced that the last IPv4 has been dished out. ISPs have been slow on the shift to the current IPv6 standard, which uses a 128-bit scheme that could support a massive amount* of web addresses. In contract, IPv4 could only support four billion. How has Microsoft let this happen?

*Three hundred and forty undecillion, two hundred and eighty-two decillion, three hundred and sixty-six nonillion, nine hundred and twenty octillion, nine hundred and thirty-eight septillion, four hundred and sixty-three sextillion, four hundred and sixty-three quintillion, three hundred and seventy-four quadrillion, six hundred and seven trillion, four hundred and thirty-one billion, seven hundred and sixty-eight million, two hundred and eleven thousand, four hundred and fifty-six.

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