IBM (IBM) and Marist College are leveraging cloud-based SDN (software-defined networking) to minimize voice and data outages during hurricanes and other natural disasters.

IBM technology in Marist's SDN Innovation Lab "enables data center operators to more efficiently control data flows within physical and virtual networks" by enabling these operators to "remotely access and make changes to network resources via a wireless device and open source network controller developed by Marist."

IBM Engineer Casimer DeCusatis added in a prepared statement that Big Blue's technology allows "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."

Marist's SDN Innovation Lab, which is sponsored by IBM, supports and supplements IBM's cloud computing research. Based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Marist College has a longstanding technology partnership with IBM. Also, former IBM executive Ellen Hancock is on Marist's board. 

"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, in a statement.

IBM moved its Watson technology into the cloud this week to create what it calls a new ecosystem of software application providers, infusing cognitive computing intelligence with application development.