Patent number 8612480 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Computer system resources include processors, memory, and other types of computer system resources. Processors are the computing parts of computer systems, and execute instructions in accordance with computer programs. Memory is the workspace of a computer system, from which computer programs are typically executed, and to which data processed by the computer programs is stored. Memory is usually volatile in nature, such that it loses its contents once power is removed from the memory.
"Traditionally, computer system resources like processors and memory have been purchased or leased by an organization. For example, an organization may determine that it needs a number of computer systems, each having a certain number of processors and a certain amount of memory. Once the needs of the organization are determined, the organization then purchases or leases the computer systems as configured from a provider.
"However, the computer system needs of an organization can increase over time, or may fluctuate over time. For instance, an organization may determine that the number of processors for each of its computer systems that the organization needs will increase over a two-year period. As another example, an organization may determine that it needs more computing power--that is, more processors for its computer systems--to meet seasonal demands, and at other times needs less computing power, and thus less processors for its computer systems. For instance, an accounting organization may need additional computing power in the months preceding national tax deadlines, and may need less computing power during other times of the year.
"Computer system resource management, however, has historically been insufficient to meet the changing computer system needs of an organization. An organization may have to purchase or lease new computer systems, or add new resources to existing computer systems, as its needs increase over time. Where an organization's computer system needs fluctuate over time, an organization may have to temporarily add additional resources to existing computer systems, or temporarily lease additional computer systems, to satisfy its temporary needs.
"In each of these situations, significant time and expense may be expended to integrate the new computer systems with the existing computer systems, or to add the additional resources to the existing computer systems. Definitely in the latter case, and usually in the former case, the existing computer systems may have to be shutdown and/or rebooted to reflect the changes that have been made to the computer systems of an organization. Furthermore, once the added computer systems or computer system resources are no longer needed, removal may cause additional downtime to reconfigure the computer systems that will remain.
"In other words, adding additional computer systems, or adding additional resources to existing computer systems, can be a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Especially where such additional computer systems or resources are needed only on a temporary basis, organizations may determine that it is more prudent to just purchase or lease sufficient computer systems or computer system resources to meet their peak demands, even though some of the systems or resources may not be needed for most of the time, or for long periods of time. Similarly, an organization assessing its projected computer system needs over a three year period, with needs increasing each year, may determine that it is more prudent to purchase or lease all of the needed computer systems or resources at the beginning of the period, instead of adding computer systems or resources as needed throughout the period.
"In each of these situations, organizations thus end up purchasing or leasing more computational power than they currently need, with some computer systems or computer system resources not being needed now, because of the time and expense required to perform upgrades later and potentially to remove those upgrades later. However, purchasing or leasing more computer systems or resources than is currently needed is nevertheless wasteful from an expense standpoint. For these and other reasons, therefore, there is a need for the present invention."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The invention relates to permitting utilization of computer system resources in accordance with the licensing thereof. A method of the invention includes conducting an inventory of the resources of a computer system. The method determines which of the resources of the computer system are licensed for current usage, and permits utilization of these resources. Other resources of the computer system that are not licensed for usage are prevented from being used.
"For instance, the method may include determining which resources are licensed for usage with metering, where metering can mean that an organization pays for the time during which such a resource is on and capable of being used, and not prevented from being used. The method permits the utilization of such resources, and tracks utilization availability of these resources, in that it tracks the length of time during which such a resource is on and capable of being used, and not prevented from being used.
"Furthermore, the method may include determining which resources are licensed for periodic usage, such that the resources may be on and capable of being used for a specific period of time. These resources may initially be part of the resources that are not licensed for current usage, in that they are initially not being used, and are prevented from being used. Once the method receives indication to allow the periodic usage of these resources, the method permits their utilization, and tracks their utilization availability as needed.
"Another method of the invention conducts an inventory of the resources of a computer system, where the resources include at least processors and/or memory. Each resource is one of at least five licensing types: a resource that is licensed for anytime usage without metering; a resource that is licensed for anytime usage with metering; a resource that is licensed for periodic usage without metering; a resource that is licensed for periodic usage with metering; and, a resource that is not currently licensed. The method stores the inventory of the resources within a secure location of the computer system.
"Furthermore, for each resource that is not currently being used, the method performs one of two actions. Where the resource is memory, the memory is placed in a list of unregistered memory to prevent its usage within the computer system. Where the resource is a processor, the processor is placed in a lowest power state, and its usage by the computer system is prevented. The licensing type of each resource can change as needed.
"A computer system of the invention includes a number of resources, such as memory and/or processors. Each resource has one of the five licensing types as delineated above. The computer system further includes a mechanism to dynamically manage, enable, and disable usage of the resources in accordance with the licensing thereof, without rebooting the computer system. Thus, resources that are licensed for periodic usage can be brought online and sent offline as needed, without rebooting the computer system. Resources that are not currently licensed may have their licensing type, or status, updated, and be brought online as needed, again without rebooting the computer system.
"An article of manufacture of the invention includes a computer-readable medium and means in the medium. The medium may be a recordable data storage medium, a modulated carrier signal, or another type of computer-readable medium. The means is for dynamically managing usage and licensing of the resources of a computer system without rebooting the computer system. As before, each resource has one of the five licensing types delineated above.
"Embodiments of the invention provide for advantages over the prior art. An organization may be provided with computer systems that have sufficient resources as needed for peak time usage, and/or as projected as needed over a period of time into the future. However, the organization does not purchase or lease all of the computer system resources, but rather only licenses the resources that it currently needs for anytime usage, either with or without metering. The other resources of the computer systems, even though present, are not able to be used by the organization. When or as the organization needs additional computer system resources, either on a periodic (i.e., seasonal) or permanent basis, it is able to license and/or use these resources, with or without metering. Such resources are then brought online, and enabled to be used, without rebooting of the computer systems.
"Therefore, an organization does not have to purchase or lease computer system resources that it may need in the future, or that it may need periodically, but that it does not currently need. As its needs change or increase, the organization is able to update its licensing and usage of computer system resources so that the resources available for usage are more closely aligned with the organization's needs. In other words, embodiments of the invention provide for on-demand computing, so that an organization can obtain and pay for only the computer system resources it currently needs, without having to reconfigure or reboot its computer systems.
"Still other advantages, aspects, and embodiments of the invention will become apparent by reading the detailed description that follows, and by referring to the accompanying drawings."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Wooldridge,
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