IBM, Marist Test SDN-Based Solution to Prevent Network Outages
The technology would enable administrators to access networks via their mobile devices and quickly move data and services out of harm's way.IBM is partnering with Marist College to create a cloud-based solution that uses software-defined networking technology that could make it easier for network administrators to protect data and services during natural disasters. The innovation, which is being tested at the SDN Innovation Lab at Marist, would mean that in the event of a significant weather event—such as Super Storm Sandy, which slammed into New York and New Jersey in October 2012—organizations could greatly reduce or eliminate any downtime to critical communications systems. The solution would significantly cut the amount of time it takes to move voice and data applications and services to another location—an effort called re-provisioning, according to IBM officials. Under normal circumstances, it takes days to re-provision. The solution being tested at Marist can cut that time down to days or minutes, which would mean fewer network disruptions and outages, according to IBM Distinguished Engineer Casimer DeCusatis. "A year ago, Sandy left millions of individuals and businesses in the Northeast without electronic communications for days, weeks and even months—in some cases, data centers were literally under water," DeCusatis said in a statement. "With our invention, a data center operator could quickly and simply move data and applications to another data center outside the danger zone in minutes—from a remote location using a tablet or smartphone."
A key to the innovation is the use of software-defined networking (SDN) technology, according to IBM officials. In SDNs, the network intelligence is removed from the underlying hardware and put into a software controller, creating a network that is more programmable, dynamic, flexible and automated. Data center administrators can more efficiently control data flows within physical and virtual networks, the officials said.