IBM is working with Marist College on a rapid re-provisioning application for cloud computing that could move resources to a safe location in the event of a pending natural disaster. The effort comes in response to last year's Hurricane Sandy, in which many data center operators were warned of the impending weather disaster, but were unable to re-provision applications and storage to a safe location at short notice.
The cloud computing disaster prevention invention that IBM and Marist are currently testing could slash re-provisioning time from days to minutes -- avoiding costly network disruptions and outages. Marist’s SDN Innovation Lab is testing an SDN solution from IBM that enables data center operators to more efficiently control data flows within physical and virtual networks.
IBM said this cloud-based solution could significantly reduce or eliminate the loss of services and data in a major weather event or other crisis that threatens voice and data network resources. It is now being demonstrated to clients and is expected to be commercially available in 2014.
"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," said IBM Distinguished Engineer Casimer DeCusatis. "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."
"Our SDN Innovation Lab provides a cloud networking test bed for early SDN adopters, including IBM clients, and also offers an opportunity to evaluate new technologies across our entire infrastructure here at Marist College," said Robert Cannistra, senior professional lecturer for computer science and information technology at Marist. "We gain practical experience with the latest technology that we can apply to our own operations and curricula, and our students gain valuable knowledge they can apply to their future careers."
Other IBM cloud inventions and projects being tested at the SDN Innovation Lab include:
- The recently announced "noisy neighbor' invention (U.S. Patent #8,352,953) for dynamically managing network bandwidth for systems running within a cloud that experience dramatic or unexpected peaks and valleys in demand for services.
- A patent-pending IBM invention that creates a "heat map" of network activity within a cloud to automatically predict and prevent congestion before it occurs. This invention is included in IBM Flex System servers and System Networking offerings.
- A prototype streaming video invention that monitors server CPU and memory function to dynamically shift the video stream from one virtual machine to another within a cloud while it's running, to ensure picture quality and continuous transmission.
- An open-source SDN controller that will allow developers to build redundancy, high availability and automation into cloud networks. The controller is based on IBM's DOVE technology, which is being donated to the Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight Project.
- Additional research partners in the Marist SDN Innovation Lab include Columbia University, City University of New York, the State University of New York