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IBM and Cisco team up for disaster recovery

If disaster strikes, IBM and Cisco will send a box, SUV or truck with everything you need to reestablish network connectivity and get your operations back up and running.

IBM and Cisco Systems Inc. have partnered to provide an emergency crisis response program to keep data centers and businesses running in times of disaster.

IBM and Cisco announced the "IBM Management Services for Crisis Response" at the Federal Office Systems Exposition (FOSE) in Washington, D.C., this week. It is available immediately.

"People have to consider how resilient they are, and what will happen if there is another 9/11," said Charles Largay, IBM's delivery executive for global crisis management.

The new IBM/Cisco service is a combination of communications, collaboration and coordination technologies, plus satellite and wireless capabilities that can be deployed via air or ground in any type of emergency, Largay said.

This service is available to help businesses, governments and first responder organizations prepare, respond and rapidly recover from disruptive events ranging from security breaches and man-made disasters to the kind that Mother Nature whips up.


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"We realized that though it's great to have a data center with all of your information safely stored, without a network to access it, none of that information is any good," Largay said.

Traditionally, businesses rely on an array of products to prepare for crisis and are left to their own devices to integrate those components into their infrastructure.

IBM and Cisco's comprehensive service, in contrast, provided by contract, supplies all the open, modular, wireless and standards-based commercial platforms that are often compromised during catastrophic events. Specifically, IBM Management Services for Crisis Response is designed to provide:

  • Continuity of operations
  • Network operability and recovery
  • IP interoperable communications
  • Cross-organization and domain information sharing capabilities
  • Incident management and decision support tools
  • Tactical operations, command and control platforms

The cost of this service varies depending on the scale, needs, the amount of people being supported and the size of the coverage area, Largay said. Companies interested in the new service give IBM and Cisco information about their networking needs, and a requirements assessment is then developed.

"We look at all the critical processes, people who need access, and the area," Largay said. "The needs of a company on the West Coast are very different from someone in Maine."

Key components of the service include multiple, automated, intelligent-response management platforms based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). All can be deployed rapidly through a built-in network of responders from IBM throughout the country and in various parts of the world.

Though responders are not readily available in all areas of the world, the coverage will expand with demand, Largay said.

Box, SUV or truck
The IBM and Cisco hardware, software, services and satellite capabilities come in a suitcase-sized box, sport utility vehicle (SUV) or truck full of the equipment needed to get the company back up and running.

IBM currently has a 65-pound suitcase-sized platform, for instance, that is easily checked onto an airplane and flown to disaster sites. This type of unit was deployed during Hurricane Katrina to keep emergency service providers connected, Largay said.

It also has a Chevrolet Suburban full of response equipment, like an ambulance full of life support equipment -- and a six-wheel truck that delivers a large-scale network, communication and information-based services.

"We are not providing a replacement for local phone services, but we supply some velocity in getting those services back up and running," Largay said.

Each emergency response platform includes commercial, off-the-shelf hardware and software from IBM, Cisco and other vendors. These platforms have been specifically designed for customers to leverage their existing assets, devices and investments.

Together, IBM and Cisco claim to have provided the know-how to support business continuity and resiliency in the event of a crisis in more than 70 major worldwide catastrophic events in 49 countries.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Bridget Botelho, News Writer

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