More and more areas of public life become dependent on availability of Internet based services. Banks, logistics, travel, sales and media – to name a few – are severely disrupted when hit by service outages. In August 2012 a lightning strike hit AWS EC2 Ireland, bringing down Amazon’s only European data center for two days. Later that year in October 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit New York City requiring the partial shutdown of New York City power grid forcing several high-traffic websites off the Internet, with far reaching effects on North-American as well as European users. Outages have serious implications on the continued operation of businesses – causing direct loss of revenue, legal liabilities as well as long term damage to reputation and brand name: a recent survey estimated a staggering 20B Euro annual revenue loss caused by IT downtime.However, mitigating the effects of downtime requires significant investment with meticulous planning to appropriately address each type of common downtime cause. Moreover, while unrecoverable software faults can either be addressed via application-specific long-term improvements or via generic watchdog solutions which restart unresponsive services, other causes such as unplanned hardware faults or planned maintenance can be addressed by server replication. While server replication provides zero downtime capabilities (i.e. recovery is immediate) – a gap exists in current offerings – as only either expensive hardware-level or application-specific solutions exist.The ORBIT project attempts to address this gap by introducing a new paradigm of virtualized resource consolidation in which memory and I/O resources used by a guest Virtual Machine (VM) are provided by multiple external hosts instead of limited to a single physical server. By combining the features of this novel virtualized resource consolidation paradigm with existing VM Fault Tolerance (FT) active-passive state synchronization solutions, ORBIT is able to provide unprecedented robustness capabilities. ORBIT is thus able to address a wide range of scenarios from single-host FT up to entire-site Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) based Disaster Recovery. Moreover, ORBIT’s novel architecture is a perfect match for cloud-wide deployments, thus complimenting existing tools available for SMEs and service providers.ORBIT aims to provide an application agnostic fault-tolerance solution for cloud infrastructures that make it possible for the first time to migrate critical enterprise workloads to the cloud without compromising on the availability and performance of the system. ORBIT eliminates the complexity of deploying and managing fault-tolerance solutions at the application level and completely eliminates the effort cloud customers previously invested to deal with unreliable cloud platforms. By enabling cloud platforms with such fault tolerance capability the ORBIT technology accelerates the development and deployment of cloud computing and Internet services.
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