CWU currently operates on a single connection to the Internet. This poses serious limitations to our disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities. This risk is magnified as we expand our usage of cloud computing.
CWU connects to the Internet via an edge device known as a "border router". Our current border router was installed September, 2012. Due to year-end funding constraints, the device was sized for a single-provider Internet connection. It can be made to work, with some additional upgrades, in a redundant Internet connection topology. Approximately $20K would be needed to provision interface adapters and related gear to connect a redundant ISP to this device.
The existing border router is not hardened to the same degree as the core switching equipment which services the data center. As part of the Redundant Internet business case, we need to upgrade the border router to a larger platform which would have redundant control processors and other hardening. Approximately $120K would be required for this. Such an upgrade would offer an ideal platform for a redundant Internet provider, and, improve uptime in the face of software crashes and hardware failures. This would eliminate some disaster risks all together and/or decrease our time to recover in the event of a failure.
In addition to maintaining Internet operations during the failure of the primary provider, we could do load balancing of our traffic across both providers in a redundant Internet topology. Using a secondary connection in that way must be done with some care - but it is possible, and that possibility gives us flexibility which we would not otherwise have. This flexibility could be put to use rerouting traffic away from problem segments due to Denial of Service Attacks or similar problems. It would also allow us to segment traffic based upon locality, usage patterns or other predictable challenges anticipated with emerging technologies.