Microsoft scrambles for IPv4 addresses for US users

Remember that looming IPv4 address exhaustion issue? Well, Microsoft Azure has already hit its limit in the U.S. and is deploying some user-requested VMs using IPv4 addresses from far, far away, according to a blog post by Ganesh Srinivasan, Microsoft senior program manager.

That is not to say the VMs are actually running in, say, Brazil rather than the U.S., he noted. The problem is that IPv4 addresses — scarce everywhere — are running out in some regions faster than others but you cannot transfer the addresses themselves from one regional authority to another. But,  the IP address registration authority does not equal the physical location of that IP address — so an IP address registered in Brazil can be “allocated to a device or service physically located in Virginia,” he wrote.

That may be, but this address shortage is no small issue and those Brazilian addresses aren’t going to last long as billions more devices come online. In  this day and age, many businesses and government agencies must be assured that their data or their customer data remains in a given geography.

Note: On Friday afternoon,  Microsoft’s original blog post was updated to say that the company does, in fact, still  have U.S. IPv4 address space but reiterated that inventory remains “dynamic” and that some customers in the past had been assigned non-U.S. IPv4 addresses as a result.

Don’t forget, this question of the IP address shortage will be addressed during the infrastructure-of-the-future panels at Structure next week.

As Gigaom reported Thursday, adoption of IPv6, which allows longer address names, will accommodate billions more mobile devices. But, so far that adoption has been slight. Amazon(s amzn) Web Services only supports IPv6 in its Elastic Load Balance (ELB) service, not in EC2 or other services. Google(s goog) Compute Engine also remains in the IPv4 world.

But it’s clear with all those new devices — not to mention all those millions of VMs spun up by cloud services —  the status quo cannot hold. As we see, the IPv4 tank is almost on empty.

So time’s a wasting.

This story was updated at 7:27 a.m. PST with additional information on Amazon and Google cloud IPv6 status and again at 4:52 p.m PST with information to the updated blog post.