Data Centre Disaster Planning and the Advantages of SDN

Arik Hesseldahl raises an interesting point about the inherent advantages of Software Defined Networking (SDN) in his article entitled ‘IBM and Some College Students Aim to Simplify Data Center Disaster Planning‘ on the website All Things D.disaster_SDN_01

The basic premise is that when things go wrong, due to cloud and software-defined systems not being constrained by hardware location, reprovisioning can take place far quicker than has traditionally been the case. The reprovisioning is often neccessary when disaster strikes, with floods and hurricanes being examples of natural forces which can knock hardware out and leave systems vulnerable or even useless.

Now however, IBM and students of Marist College have been working on ways to integrate the use of SDN in order to dramatically reduce time to get back online.

As Arik writes: “The best part of this invention is that it allows everything to be done remotely. With software-defined networking, adding to or changing the composition of networks inside the data center is handled by tweaks to software rules and not by adding or subtracting more hardware.”

Not only is this good news for companies who may lose money through being offline, but it’s even more important for critical installations and infrastructure in disaster scenarios such as transport, radio hospitals, etc.

Hessendahl adds:disaster_SDN_02

“For a few weeks last year [after Hurricane Sandy], 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.”

It seems increasingly likely that SDN will play a major part in not only improving business efficiencies, but in keeping critical systems afloat and reducing chaos in trying times too.