News & Vacancies

Welcome to the Microtechs information portal. Here you can see the latest news and read through our current vacancies.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Circuit-switching tech to help data centres recover from failures

Posted by on in Latest Microtechs news posts
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 572
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print


Anyone who has ever cursed a computer network as it slowed to a crawl will appreciate the remedy offered by scientists at Rice University.

Rice computer scientist Eugene Ng and his team say their solution will keep data on the fast track when failures inevitably happen.

Ng introduced ShareBackup, a strategy that would allow shared backup switches in data centers to take on network traffic within a fraction of a second after a software or hardware switch failure.

He will present a peer-reviewed paper on the work this week at the SIGCOMM 2018 conference in Budapest, Hungary.

Ng said the idea would solve a common annoyance among data professionals, scientists and everyone who relies on a network to deliver results day in and day out.

"A data network consists of servers and network switches," said Ng, a professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering. "Switches move data packets to where they need to go. But things fail, especially in large-scale data centers with thousands of pieces of hardware."

The usual response to a failed switch is to shunt the flow of data to another line. "Generally, the network has multiple paths for connecting servers so, just like if there's a closure on the highway, we'd drive around it. This is a conventional, natural approach that makes a lot of sense: You reroute around the failure to get where you need to go."

But sometimes that other road is congested and everything slows down. "Data centers aren't the internet; they're not about people surfing websites," Ng said. "They're about supporting data-intensive applications like data mining or machine learning. And a lot of these applications have stringent performance deadlines, so blindly rerouting traffic could be the wrong thing to do in a data center."

Rather than the expensive option of installing redundant switches throughout a network, the Ng lab's strategy would put fast switches and software in strategic locations that could pick up the traffic from a failed switch in a microsecond. When that problem is resolved, the team's software makes the backup switch available to handle another failure.

The switch is fast enough -- the failure-recovery time is 0.73 milliseconds, including latency from hardware and control systems -- that most users would never know that part of the system had failed.

"The reality is that the fraction of devices that fail at any given time is very small, and most of these failures can be addressed by things like rebooting the device," Ng said. "Sometimes the software gets screwed up and a simple power cycle will bring it back. These failures may also not last long.

"These are the characteristics we're trying to exploit," he said. "Because of that, we can get away with having very few devices back up a large number of devices."

Ng said ShareBackup could save data centers time and money not only by maintaining full bandwidth but by also helping to analyze problems, including misconfigurations that commonly lead to network failure.

"Part of our work is to help data centers figure out what went wrong in the network," he said. "Once the backup is activated, you can take the failed device out of the production network and test it to identify which component caused the problem.

"Now, if we take two devices out and can't figure out which went bad, both need to be replaced," he said. "It's very likely only one of the devices is having the problem. Our software can diagnose these devices in a semiautomatic manner, and if one of the parts is good, it can be reinstated."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Rice University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Rice University. "Ciircuit-switching tech to help data centers recover from failures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2018. <>.

Image: Shutterstock

Microtechs 24/7 white label support services

With Microtechs outsourced UK remote support services you can focus on managing relationships and delivering your core business. Manned 24/7 by fully trained technical staff in Surrey, your customers will receive a personal answer to any support issue raised, at any time of the day or night.

             Are you a IT / Telecoms / Software provider with an expanding customer base?

             Are you spending so much time on IT support that you struggle to develop new clients?

             Are you struggling to find and retain the right support team members?

             Need to cover extended hours easily?

             Had a poor experience outsourcing offshore?

             Looking to increase your customers up-time?

             Need to reduce your costs and lower overheads by as much as 40%?

Our client-specific 1st and 2nd line teams can monitor your servers and support queue (email, alert or phone) 24/7 or just as overflow. When a new incident comes in, we work to resolve the issue and respond to your customers through phone or your support system, thereby maintaining 100% transparent support. This includes 3rd party escalations and incident management.

As a white label managed service provider, we operate as an extension of you, so your customers will be thanking you for the expert service they receive, the peace of mind you bring and the additional value you have added to their business.

             Fully inclusive services with an average 80% resolution rate

             15 minute NOC response times

             80% of telephone calls answered within 60 seconds

             Completely white labelled to your brand / customers brands

             Desktop / Network / O365 / Mac / Telecoms / Bespoke software / Wi-Fi

             Pricing from £500 per month

If you need overflow during the day or a whole support desk from inception or just some monitoring services overnight, please drop us an email or give us a call.

Please contact us for further information on 01483 407417



  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 25 May 2019


We help over 14,000 customers a month through our IT support centre in Guildford, Surrey

Microtechs monitor over 10,000 servers, access points and routers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and answer well over 14,000 support calls a month.

Each and every client is just as important to us, whether you have 1 or 5000 computers or users. Our exceptional team provides the highest level of service to every single caller.



Our business truly is 24/7, We operate entirely out of this office using our own staff.

Microtechs Head Office

Microtechs Ltd
Sussex House
11 The Pines
Broad Street
GU3 3BH  

T: +44 (0) 1483 407400

Alternatively, please use our Contact Us Form




Our Commitment to you

We are family run with all of our business based within the UK. We will only ever use UK staff and offices to provide our products and services to you.

Microtechs provide a variety of outsourcing solutions for individuals and businesses, whether its for 24/7 Helpdesk Services, Nationwide Engineer Coverage or IT Support.