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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method and System for Modeling and Analyzing Computing Resource Requirements of Software Applications in a...

March 6, 2014

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method and System for Modeling and Analyzing Computing Resource Requirements of Software Applications in a Shared and Distributed Computing Environment", for Ap

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Wong, Wai Ming (Scarborough, CA); Hui, Michael C. (North York, CA), filed on October 21, 2013, was made available online on February 20, 2014.

The patent's assignee is International Business Machines Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Generally speaking, a shared computing environment can include hardware and software infrastructure configured to form an organization comprised of multiple distributed computing resources, which computing resources can be shared among the different users in the network. The computing resources may even be located in geographically disperse locations. In a traditional, computing environment or network where computing resources are not shared, an application is generally provided with a dedicated set of computing resources for running that particular application. In a shared and distributed computing environment (hereinafter generally referred to as shared computing environment), the distributed computing resources may be shared among different applications and this leads to several advantages. For example, such resource sharing can lead to increases in the utilization of particular computing resources, and accordingly, to a reduction in capital and operational expenditures. Resource sharing can also lead to improvements in fault tolerance for the application(s).

"In the context of the present disclosure, software applications or software systems (generally referred to hereinafter as applications), generally comprise a set of potentially heterogeneous independent software components, each software component capable of running on a separate computing resource or device in the shared computing environment. Examples of such applications can include Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) applications; client server applications; web server-based applications; file transfer protocol (FTP) services; Message-Oriented-Middleware (MoM) based applications; computational workload based applications, workload based application systems (such as Platform Load Sharing Facility.TM. (LSF) and Platform Symphony.TM., where the whole system is made up of a master node and a number of compute nodes); and executable programs. The applications are composed of a set of independent software components (referred to hereinafter as application components), each of which application components is capable of being run or hosted on a separate distributed computing device or resource, within a shared computing environment.

"In order to be able to run an application, certain computing resources must be made available from the shared computing environment to host the application components of such application. In this context, computing resources (hereinafter generally referred to as resources) can encompass any types of computing resources within the shared computing environment that might be required in order for an application to be run, including hardware (such as servers, memory, central processing unit (CPU) time, mainframe computers, networks, network storage, scientific instruments, and other computing devices), as well as software, databases, software licenses, available network services and other non-hardware resources. Other possible examples of resources could include virtual machines (VM) managed by hypervisors and virtual private servers (VPS) supported by OS virtualization technologies. In a shared computing environment, the resources are generally available to be shared among the various applications that are run on the shared computing environment.

"Prior art systems are known which attempt to address similar types of problems as described herein, such as how to share distributed resources, how to improve availability of applications and how to make on-demand adjustments of resources. However, the majority of these systems manage a specific type of application server all of which are running a specific type of application; such systems do not adopt a generic approach that will enable them to manage different types of distributed (heterogeneous) applications. Other systems purport to decouple the hardware and software for servers through the use of bare-metal machines and a mechanism to image/repurpose such machines; this involves a machine-centric approach rather than an application-centric approach to tackle the problems."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Described herein are methods and systems for enabling multiple applications to automatically share resources in a shared computing environment. The methods and systems enable such functionality without requiring the application computer code to be modified. More particularly, disclosed embodiments relate to an application manager for managing the resource requirements for applications in a shared computing environment.

"A typical application comprises a set of software or application components (hereinafter referred to as application components), each of which application components is capable of being run/hosted on a separate resource in order for the application as whole to be run. Therefore, an application will have requirements for specific types of and/or numbers of resources which are necessary or preferred in order to host its constituent application components and in order for the application to be run. In addition, the resources may be required to have certain characteristics or attributes; certain constraints may also be placed on the required resources. The disclosed system comprises an application manager that works in conjunction with a resource supply manager (referred to herein as a resource manager). The resource manager generally manages the availability of resources within the shared computing environment. Within the context of this disclosure, it is contemplated that the resource manager could be any generic resource manager that may be used in a shared computing environment; one example of such a suitable resource manager is Platform Enterprise Grid Orchestrator.TM. When an application is to be initiated, the application manager determines the resources that are required and any applicable constraints that should be placed on the required resources. The application manager then makes a request for the required resources to the resource manager, which determines, in accordance with resource allocation policies, whether the requested resources are available within the shared computing environment. If there are appropriate and sufficient available resources to meet the particular resource requirements, and the resource manager determines the requested resources should be made available for the particular application, then the resources are allocated and mapped to the application, and the application (or more precisely, the application components) hosted thereon.

"The system provides for the specification, representation and automatic analysis of resource requirements. The requirements for running an application are automatically translated into generic resource requests, which are made to the resource manager. Since the resource requests are translated into generic resource requests, the system can enable the sharing of resources among multiple heterogeneous applications.

"To obtain the full benefits of the disclosed system and of resource sharing, multiple applications should be managed concurrently; without multiple applications, there cannot be resource sharing. In cases where the shared resources include third party products, the source code of such third party products and the applications running on them are often not accessible or require substantial time and effort in order to enable them for resource sharing purposes. The methods and systems disclosed herein can allow resource sharing even without application source code access or any knowledge of the internal design of the application, as long as there is a monitoring or management application programming interface (API) or other means to obtain metric data. The disclosed methods and systems provide a systematic, non-intrusive and easy-to-implement method of integrating applications so that they can run on the resources of the shared computing environment. Furthermore, an integration of an application can be re-used for other similar applications; common integration can be implemented once for an application and similar applications can be enabled with minimal additional effort--in some cases, possibly without programming. Once applications are integrated, they can be managed through a central management console, thereby substantially simplifying the administration of all applications running on the shared computing environment.

"Furthermore, the disclosed system enables the dynamic and efficient management of shared resources. Disclosed herein is a system that provides an agile resource infrastructure adaptive to dynamic changes and failures. Since multiple applications are being concurrently run and managed on the shared computing environment, the number and types of available resources are dynamically changing, for example as resources from the pool of available shared resources are allocated to other applications or as resources are released back to the pool once other applications are terminated. In addition, the total number of resources in the pool of shared resources may itself change from time to time, as resources are integrated into or removed from the shared computing environment.


"Reference is made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

"FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of the resource requirements for an exemplary simple application;

"FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of the system showing the application manager as part of a shared computing environment;

"FIG. 3 is a flowchart depicting the interactions at the disclosed system;

"FIG. 4 is a state diagram depicting the life cycle states and state transitions for an application component being managed by the application manager of the disclosed system;

"FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic representation of the workflow at the application manager when a service is being activated;

"FIG. 6 is a diagram depicting the main objects of the system and their high-level relationships; and

"FIG. 7 is a flowchart depicting the interactions at the disclosed system for releasing a resource."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Wong, Wai Ming; Hui, Michael C. Method and System for Modeling and Analyzing Computing Resource Requirements of Software Applications in a Shared and Distributed Computing Environment. Filed October 21, 2013 and posted February 20, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Software, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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