Patent number 8612675 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The embodiments discussed herein are directed to a storage controller and a firmware updating method and, more particularly, to a storage controller and a firmware updating method allowing cache data mirroring to be accomplished even during firmware update.
"In some of storage units such as disk array units, redundancy is provided in the internal construction to improve the reliability. For example, conventionally in a disk array unit redundancy may be provided in components including a channel adapter which is an interface for connection to a host computer and a central processing section for controlling input/output processing. The disk array unit may also have the function of duplicately holding cache data stored in a memory of one of two central processing sections by mirroring the cache data to a memory of the other central processing section for the purpose of improving the reliability of data.
"Although a storage unit, which performs cache data mirroring for improving the reliability of data, can continue to operate at the time of firmware update, it has a problem of considerable reduction in performance. This is because operation in a write-back mode in which write to a disk is performed asynchronously with the operation of a host computer cannot be performed during firmware update, and operation in a write-through mode inferior in performance than the write-back mode must be performed during firmware update.
"During firmware update, redundant structures such as central processing sections have different versions of firmware. Therefore, one line of the redundant structures which has been updated and another line which has not been updated may have different locations on memories allocated to the areas where cache data is stored. If cache data mirroring is performed when such an inconsistency exists between the areas, a serious fault such as area destruction may occur. In conventional storage systems, therefore, cache data mirroring is stopped during firmware update.
"In a state where cache data mirroring is not being performed, cache data which has not been written to a disk is not sufficiently protected. If a serious fault occurs in the line whose cache data is held in a memory, the data may be lost. During firmware update, therefore, conventional storage systems can only be operated in the write-through mode in which write to a disk is immediately performed at a write request."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "It is an aspect of an example embodiments discussed herein to provide a storage controller having a plurality of control sections including storage sections into which data transmitted from a host unit is cached, one of the control sections being a main control section which controls firmware update in the control sections, the main control section having an instruction updater sending an update instruction to a sub control section in the control sections in which firmware is to be updated, and an area instructor requesting the sub control section to transmit area information indicating the location of a cache area in the storage section in which a cache is held after the completion of updating of the firmware in the sub control section, and providing an instruction to set the location of the cache area on the basis of the transmitted area information, the sub control section having an area information obtainer obtaining, according to the instruction from the an area instructor, area information indicating the location of the cache area in the storage section, an area information transmitter transmitting to the an area instructor the area information obtained by the an area information obtainer, and an area setter setting the location of the cache area in the storage section on the basis of the instruction from the an area instructor.
"Embodiments of the present invention may include a method, apparatus, a system, a computer program, a recording medium and a data structure, for example.
"These together with other aspects and advantages which will be subsequently apparent, reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout."
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