Disaster Recovery focus at Intel Developer Forum

For many CIOs, disaster recovery or business continuity planning starts and stops with backups, hot recovery sites and well documented plans. At the Intel Developer Forum, Intel is showcasing the roles played by diverse types of computing in the field of disaster management.

Here's a scary piece of research from the Boston Consulting Group. Sixty percent of businesses that lose their data fail within six months following a disaster. The research featured focuses on “business continuity” and how to increase resiliency against disasters by planning ahead. This has been a point of focus at the Intel Developer Forum, currently running in San Francisco

I've worked in the energy business. Preparation and planning for disasters was part of the fabric of almost every operational activity. Most years, that meant reviewing the Business Continuity Plan and running through fictitious disaster exercises. Occasionally, there would be some minor event, like a building evacuation, that let us try the plan out "in anger" rather than in a simulation. However, Extreme Event Simulation offers a different way forward. 

Virtual environments have typically been used for gaming, but Intel researchers have developed a new software architecture that when combined with a cloud computing model, allows applications to scale user experiences far beyond existing limits. Intel’s “Distributed Scene Graph” is a cloud-based, rich 3-D visualization that allows thousands of people to participate in a simulated disaster scenario. The virtual experience helps communities understand what is likely to happen at a large scale using immersive serious game play.

During disasters such as the recent earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan the availability of reliable network connectivity was a challenge, due to damage to traditional network power infrastructure. This impedes rescue and recovery efforts, slows response times and requires resource intensive manual solutions.

Intel’s platform is designed for quick and easy deployment to provide Internet-like services where there is no or limited Internet connectivity and a lack of power. The mobile access point runs on a low-powered Intel Atom processor and supports a variety of services including web server, email server and delay tolerant networking. The platform can be powered from a variety of sources including photo voltaic, but can be easily configured for electro-generation stoves or other sources.

The good news for CIOs is that disaster and business continuity planning can be tested out in a more robust manner than most of us had in the past. The ability to carry out more robust testing using simulations that are less predictable than paper or around-the-table based exercises means that there can be a greater degree of confidence that when something does go wrong that the plan has been thoroughly tested and the the risk of long term damage to the business is mitigated.

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