News Column

Patent Issued for Software Tool and Method for Updating a Virtual Appliance

June 19, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY) has been issued patent number 8745620, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Peraza, David (Miami, FL); Rojas, Hypatia (Round Rock, TX); Schwichtenberg, Frank (Natick, MA).

This patent was filed on April 11, 2011 and was published online on June 3, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "This disclosure generally relates to computer systems, and more specifically relates to the update of a virtual appliance such as an open virtualization appliance (OVA) that may be deployed in a cloud computing environment.

"Cloud computing has become an area of emphasis for software and website providers. Cloud computing is a general term for presenting computation, software, data access, and storage services in a manner that the end-user has no knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services. Cloud computing relies heavily on virtualized resources. Thus, for software to be deployed in a cloud computing environment, the software is generally described as running on one or more virtual servers. When the user executes the software, the user has no idea the location or number of physical servers that deliver the virtualized software.

"The term 'virtual appliance' has been used to describe a virtual software image designed to run on a virtualization platform. A typical virtual appliance includes a group of master disk images and metadata describing the virtual systems needed to boot and run the software stack stored in the disk images. A virtual appliance is usually constructed to host a single software application. A virtual appliance thus represents a new way of deploying network software applications. The disk images and metadata describing the virtual appliance may be provided in Open Virtualization Format (OVF). OVF is an open standard for packaging and distributing virtual appliances to be run by a hypervisor. An OVF package generally consists of several files, including virtual systems disk images and an OVF file describing the virtual system, placed in one directory. The OVF package may be compressed as a single file known as an Open Virtualization Appliance (OVA).

"When a virtual appliance is deployed and running in a cloud computing environment, it is referred to as a 'workload.' Once the virtual appliance is running as a workload, changes to the workload (such as software updates) may be needed, which may affect the definition of the virtual appliance. In the prior art, a user would have to make an update to the workload, and if that update also requires an update to the virtual appliance, the user would then have to manually make the needed updates to the virtual appliance."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "A virtual appliance update mechanism detects when an update to a corresponding workload is made, and makes automatic corresponding changes to the virtual appliance to reflect the update to the workload. In one specific implementation, the virtual appliance update mechanism determines that configuration units corresponding to the update to the workload are present in a knowledge base of configuration units, and automatically updates the virtual appliance with the configuration units corresponding to the update. In this manner a virtual appliance may be automatically updated based on an update to a workload, thereby assuring the virtual appliance reflects the current state of the workload.

"The foregoing and other features and advantages will be apparent from the following more particular description, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Peraza, David; Rojas, Hypatia; Schwichtenberg, Frank. Software Tool and Method for Updating a Virtual Appliance. U.S. Patent Number 8745620, filed April 11, 2011, and published online on June 3, 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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