An application server can only be accessed via IPv6 from other computers when its host Operating System and Local Area Network (LAN) segment are IPv6-enabled. The steps required to enable IPv6 on a host Operating System (if required) and on LAN equipment are described by separate articles in the IP Transport section of the IPv6 knowledge base.
Since 2011, all Microsoft Windows application servers support IPv6. This Microsoft article reviewed Microsoft applications server and Operating Systems IPv6 support status as of Sept, 2017. The current IPv6 support status of Microsoft applications servers are given below in Further Resources. Adding IPv6 support to non-Microsoft software is discussed by the Application Conversion Introduction and Application Conversion Tools articles in the Applications section.
During Feb, 2011, Rand Morimoto published an 8-part series of articles on the NetworkWorld website. In this series, he described and gave examples of the steps required to deploy IPv6 across a Small-Medium Business (SMB) Microsoft environment. The specific application server configuration examples are applicable to any environment. These articles cover many important infrastructure elements, and are summarized below:
Part 1: Getting Serious with IPv6 in a Windows Networking Environment
Part 2: IPv6 Addressing, Subnets, Private Addresses
Part 3: IPv6 Static Addressing and DNSv6
Part 4: Setting up DHCPv6 to Dynamically Issue IPv6 Addresses in a Network
Part 5: Configuring Microsoft Active Directory to Support IPv6
Part 6: Configuring IPv6 Routing through IPv4 in a Microsoft Windows Environment
Part 7: Best Practices at Configuring Applications for IPv6 for a Microsoft Windows Environment
Part 8: Planning Your Cutover to IPv6 for Your Microsoft Windows Environment
The paragraphs below provide links to the individual NetworkWorld articles. It might be helpful to read Part8 (written last) after reading the introductory material contained in Part1 and before looking at the details contained in Part2 through Part7.
The series of articles was published based on the then current release of Windows Server, 2008 R2. Unless otherwise noted, the steps required to deploy IPv6 in Windows Server 2008 R2 apply to later releases. Since that time, subsequent releases of Windows Server have added additional capabilities supporting IPv6 including:
a. Among the capabilities new to Windows Server 2012:
Internet Protocol Address Management (IPAM) feature described here
b. Among the capabilities new to Windows Server 2016:
built-in IPv6 root hints described here
support for Software Defined Networking (SDN)
c. Among the capabilities new to Windows Server 2019:
capability to support dual-stack (IPv6 in addition to legacy IPv4) and IPv6-only SDN
d. A description of the many new and updated capabilities of Windows Server 2022 is available here.
The article provides a quick summary of the steps necessary for an organization to implement and really use IPv6 in a Windows networking environment:
a. upgrade as necessary and then enable IPv6 on Active Directory Servers, Domain Name Servers, Dynamic Host Protocol Servers,
b. upgrade as necessary and then enable IPv6 on client systems (if necessary – most upgraded client systems will already have IPv6 enabled by default),
c. upgrade as necessary and then enable IPv6 on internal servers (for example, Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL and the like),
d. upgrade as necessary and then enable IPv6 on local internetworking equipment, and
e. enable IPv6 routing between local internetworking equipment and the external Internet.
In addition, the Getting Serious with IPv6 in a Windows Networking Environment article also includes (from the perspective of 2011):
1. a short discussion of IPv4 address exhaustion issues and
2. some answers to questions about why IPv4 address exhaustion is really a problem.
The IPv6 Addressing, Subnets, Private Addresses article provides an introduction to IPv6-style Addressing, Subnetting, Private Addressing, Gateways, and Routing from the perspective of someone familiar with IPv4. For additional information about IPv6 subnetting, see the IPv6 Subnet Planning topic in the IPv6 Address Plans article in the Network Management section.
The IPv6 Static Addressing and DNSv6 article provides examples of how to configure IPv6 addressing for Windows server and client systems, and an example of how to configure a Windows 2008 R2 server as the Domain Name System (DNS) server for a Windows domain.
While IPv6 Static Addressing and DNSv6 does not explain why pre-assigned static IPv6 addresses for Windows 2008 R2 (or later) servers are recommended, the IPv6 Address Configuration topic in this article does. (Although written for specific versions of Windows Server systems, both the IPv6 Static Addressing and DNSv6 article and the IPv6 Address Configuration topic in this article also apply to later versions.) To suppress transmission of Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) version 6 (DHCPv6) SOLICIT messages for interfaces with pre-assigned static IPv6 addresses during on-going system operation, running PowerShell as an Administrator early in the system installation process and executing the cmdlet
Set-NetIPInterface <interface-id> -AddressFamily IPv6 -Dhcp Disabled
for each such interface is recommended.
The Setting up DHCPv6 to Dynamically Issue IPv6 Addresses in a Network article provides an example of how to set up a Windows 2008 R2 server as both the DHCP for IPv4 (DHCPv4) server and DHCPv6 server for a Windows domain, how to get the routers on the LAN to play nicely as relay agents, and some troubleshooting tips if it doesn’t work at first. Also, don’t overlook the role that Router Advertisements play in configuring the network. That is A Common Mistake with DHCPv6.
Pay close attention to the “DHCP Reservations” discussion (along with this article on the differences between reservations and exclusions). These tips are not limited to Microsoft Windows-centric infrastructures. An (unrelated) article provides examples of how to set up both DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 on Windows 2012 and later servers.
While Setting up DHCPv6 to Dynamically Issue IPv6 Addresses in a Network does not explicitly mention Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC), it does discuss enabling/disabling Stateless DHCPv6 mode. Enabling Stateless DHCPv6 mode configures the server to use Stateless DHCPv6 (originally called DHCPv6 Lite) which uses SLAAC. There are significant differences between DHCPv4 and DHCPv6, as the DHCP and SLAAC on IPv6 Networks article in the Infrastructure section explains. On IPv6-only networks in Windows 8, 8.1 and early versions of Windows 10 clients SLAAC support was problematic, but the Creator Update release of Windows 10 (Version 1703 released 11 April 2017) added SLAAC support.
This Microsoft website describes how to set up an IPv6 test lab and extend it to test DNS Zone Transfers over IPv6, DHCPv6, and IPv6-only networking.
When cloning one Windows server already set up as a DHCPv6 server to create another server, delete the values (but NOT the keys) in the cloned server for
The Configuring Microsoft Active Directory to Support IPv6 article provides a description of how easy getting Active Directory (AD) Domain Controllers (DC) and Global Catalogs (GC) set up with IPv6 can be when things are done in the right order. It is also a good practice to review pre-existing AAAA entries in DNS and remove those that do not conform to your intended DHCPv6 policies.
The Configuring IPv6 Routing through IPv4 in a Microsoft Windows Environment article solves a problem that, since it was written, has largely gone away. It provides examples of how to configure the 6to4, Teredo, IP-HTTPS and DirectAccess IPv6 transition mechanisms. These IPv6 transition mechanisms are provided “just in case” -- most businesses will not need to use them. It also provides a discussion of Tunnel Brokers which are still occasionally helpful when getting started with an IPv6 deployment, and Hyper-V, which is helpful when configuring routing in virtualized environments. In Sept, 2008, Rand Morimoto and Jeff Guillet published a book Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Unleashed. This chapter from that book discusses Hyper-V in Server 2008 R2. This paper discusses Hyper-V in Server 2012, Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016. This article discusses Hyper-V in Server 2019. There will not be a new version of Hyper-V for Server 2022. Instead, the version used in Server 2019 will continue to be supported in Server 2022 (and later), until January 2029.
The IP Helper service should only be enabled on a server supporting an IP-HTTPS or DirectAccess IPv6 transition mechanism. In other cases it should be turned off and disabled.
The Best Practices at Configuring Applications for IPv6 in a Microsoft Windows Environment article focuses on Operating System configuration and host naming issues, but does not provide any specific guidance for individual application servers. For such guidance, see Further Resources below. For some Microsoft Windows application servers, IPv6-enabling its host Operating System and LAN segment may be all that is required.
Guidance on managing connections to system services on Windows Server 2016 or 10 Enterprise and later is provided in this article. Guidance on disabling system services on Windows Server 2016 or later with Desktop Experience is provided in this article. Beginning with Windows Server 2019, system services are configured in accordance with that guidance by default.
The Planning Your Cutover to IPv6 for your Microsoft Windows Environment article describes some additional steps to take before, during and after steps described in Part 2 through Part 7.
For reference purposes, NetworkWorld subsequently made the entire 8-part series available in a single document (although the articles appear in a different order than listed above).
The following links are for specific versions of Microsoft Windows application servers and software tools that support IPv6. Later versions will also support IPv6, even though they may not be explicitly listed below.
The learn.microsoft.com website can be a valuable resource when enabling IPv6 in Microsoft Windows software, although it may take some searching to find the guidance you need.
Additional deployment guidance for older versions of DirectAccess, Exchange, and Sharepoint, along with deployment guidance for file serving, print serving, and Active Directory is available here.
Azure Virtual Network
DirectAccess (Windows Server 2008 R2 or earlier) – The NetworkWorld article referenced in Part 6 above contains links to a Deployment Guide and a video about deploying DirectAccess with IPv6, both prepared by Rand Morimoto
DirectAccess (Windows Server 2016 and later) – This article describes how to support DirectAccess on a multihomed server. This article describes how to migrate from the Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) role service in Windows Server 2012 or earlier (now combined with DirectAccess) to the Remote Access server role
DirectAccess (Windows Server 2016 and later) – articles describing how to support DirectAccess in an enterprise
Endpoint Configuration Manager – all versions
Exchange 2010 – An IPv6-only configuration is not supported (a dual-stack configuration is)
Exchange 2013 – An IPv6-only configuration is not supported (a dual-stack configuration is)
Exchange 2019 and later - This is available as either a standalone product or a licensed subset of Microsoft 365 (which was previously known as Office 365)
IP-HTTPS – All releases
Lync 2010 (and its predecessor Office Communications Server 2007) – No IPv6 support.
Lync Server 2013 (In 2015, Lync was rebranded as Skype for Business)
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) (Support for IPv6 varies with software being deployed and target environment. See a book like Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit by Stokes and Singer for more information.)
Microsoft Services 365 (previously Office 365) – Multiple versions exist and all support IPv6 with some limitations (IPv6-only devices require translation technologies such as DNS64 or NAT64, for example). A Microsoft 365 IPv6 URL and IP address ranges document is available, as is a Microsoft 365 IPv6 test plan. Inbound and outbound mail transport via IPv6 is supported upon request. As of April 2020, Office 365 became officially known as Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 operated by 21Vianet in China – IPv6 is supported. There is an Microsoft 365 IPv6 URL and IP address ranges document specifically for 21Vianet in China separate from the one for Microsoft 365 mentioned above
Office 2013 – Multiple versions exist and all support IPv6.
Office 2019 and later - This is available as either a standalone product or a licensed subset of Microsoft 365
Project 2019 and later -- This is available as either a standalone product or a licensed subset of Office 365/Microsoft 365
Remote Access Service (see DirectAccess)
Sharepoint 2010 and later
Structured Query Language (SQL) Server 2014
Structured Query Language (SQL) Server 2016
Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) – 4.0
The Microsoft website (www.microsoft.com) is another authoritative source for enabling IPv6 in specific application servers, although it may take considerable searching to find the guidance you need. Other Microsoft websites that can be useful are the IPv6 Survival Guide wiki and the Test Lab Guides.