News Column

Patent Application Titled "Monitoring the Health of Distributed Systems" Published Online

June 26, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Stanko, Igor (Laguna Niguel, CA); Peebles, Matthew K. (Laguna Niguel, CA); Lee, Namyong (Tustin, CA); Yegorov, Artem D. (Aliso Viejo, CA), filed on October 29, 2013, was made available online on June 12, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Microsoft Corporation.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Background and Relevant Art

"Computer systems and related technology affect many aspects of society. Indeed, the computer system's ability to process information has transformed the way we live and work. Computer systems now commonly perform a host of tasks (e.g., word processing, scheduling, accounting, etc.) that prior to the advent of the computer system were performed manually. More recently, computer systems have been coupled to one another and to other electronic devices to form both wired and wireless computer networks over which the computer systems and other electronic devices can transfer electronic data. Accordingly, the performance of many computing tasks are distributed across a number of different computer systems and/or a number of different computing environments.

"In some computing environments, a number of nodes are deployed, such as, for example, within an organization or in a 'cloud', to provide a software service or appliance. Different portions of appliance functionality can then be implemented at different nodes. Collectively, the different portions of appliance functionality represent the overall functionality of the appliance.

"Health monitoring techniques can be used to monitor health information for each individual node of an appliance. The health information for each node can be reported to a user. That is, a user can be provided with raw health information for individual nodes.

"However, there is typically no automated mechanism for aggregating and/or reasoning over health information from a number of different nodes. Thus, there is limited, if any, mechanisms for providing an overall health view of an appliance or for providing a user with guidance related to overall appliance functionality. As such, a user is burdened with analyzing health information from multiple to different nodes in an effort to understand the overall health of and identify potential problems with the appliance. As the number of nodes used to implement an appliance increases, a user's ability to understand and make decisions based on health information from individual nodes becomes corresponding more difficult."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention extends to methods, systems, and computer program products for monitoring the health of distributed systems. In some embodiments, a computer system, within a plurality of computer systems, is configured to monitor a portion of an appliance implemented in a distributed system. The computer system accesses an appliance definition file. The appliance definition file defines a plurality of different node types of that are to be integrated together to implement the appliance.

"The computer system selects a node type, from among the plurality of different node types of nodes, to implement. The computer system reads a portion of the appliance definition file defining functionality for the selected node type. The computer system implements the selected node type in accordance with the defined functionality.

"The computer system reads a health file that identifies components that are to be monitored for the selected node type. The computer system loads a monitor agent at the computer system to monitor the identified components. The computer system collects health information indicating the health of the identified components. The computer system transfers the collected health information to a repository. The repository aggregates collected health information for identified components within the plurality of computer systems. Accordingly, the aggregated health data can be used to provide a logical health view of the appliance. The logical health view is abstracted from the identified components within the plurality of computer systems.

"In other embodiments, a computer system monitors an appliance implemented within a distributed system. The computer system reads a portion of an appliance definition file defining functionality for a control node. The appliance definition file defines a plurality of different types of nodes, including the control node. The functionality of the plurality of different types of nodes is integrated together to implement the appliance.

"The computer system implements the control node at the computer system in accordance with the defined functionality. The control node is configured to access a repository for aggregating collected health information received from health monitoring agents at other nodes providing appliance functionality. Health information is collected at other nodes in accordance with health files that identify specified components that are to be monitored.

"The computer system receives collected health information from monitoring agents at a plurality of other nodes in the distributed system. The received health information is related to monitored components at each of the plurality of other nodes. The computer system aggregates the collected health information in the repository. The computer system reasons reasoning over the aggregated health information in the repository to formulate a logical health view for the appliance. The logical health view abstracts the physical implementation of the appliance. Reasoning over the aggregated health information includes correlating collected health information from at least two different nodes to generate a condition of interest with respect to operation of the appliance.

"This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

"Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention. The features and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. These and other features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"In order to describe the manner in which the above-recited and other advantages and features of the invention can be obtained, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

"FIG. 1 illustrates an example computer architecture that facilitates configuring a computer system to monitor a portion of an appliance implemented at a distributed system.

"FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of an example method for configuring a computer system to monitor a portion of an appliance implemented at a distributed system.

"FIG. 3 illustrates an example computer architecture that facilitates monitoring an appliance implemented at a distributed system.

"FIG. 4 illustrates a flow chart of an example method for monitoring an appliance implemented at a distributed system.

"FIG. 5 illustrates another example computer architecture that facilitates configuring a computer system to monitor a portion of an appliance implemented at a distributed system.

"FIG. 6 illustrates another example computer architecture that facilitates monitoring an appliance implemented at a distributed system."

For more information, see this patent application: Stanko, Igor; Peebles, Matthew K.; Lee, Namyong; Yegorov, Artem D. Monitoring the Health of Distributed Systems. Filed October 29, 2013 and posted June 12, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=640&p=13&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140605.PD.&OS=PD/20140605&RS=PD/20140605

Keywords for this news article include: Microsoft Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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