IBM and some college students aim to simplify data center disaster planning

The picture at right is of the flooded ground floor of Verizon headquarters at 140 West St. in lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy blew through the Northeast last year, All Things D reports.

For a few weeks last year, communicating was a real challenge in the storm zone. Power was out. Networks were stretched to the limit, in part because of a surge in demand, but also because a lot of the underlying equipment required to run them was offline or damaged.

When you’re in charge of managing digital infrastructure, planning for natural disasters is kind of a big deal. Businesses that rely on key systems in order to continue operating have to think long and hard about all the variables. Usually it involves building up a separate site to fall back on when the primary one can’t operate normally.

Then there’s that moment when the switchover, technically known as a reprovisioning, actually happens. Ideally it’s the sort of thing that requires days to carry out. The problem is the people doing the work usually get a few hours.

So IBM said today that it had come up with a way to make that switchover happen a lot faster. Working with some students at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Big Blue said, it demonstrated a way to use software-defined networking to accelerate the process of reprovisioning so that it takes only minutes.

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