News Column

Patent Issued for Persistent Data Management in Multi-Image Code Load Systems

June 24, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventors Excoffier, Franck (Tucson, AZ); Groover, Michael Paul (Vail, AZ); Groseclose, Jr., Michael Robert (Tucson, AZ); Han, Xu (Lincoln, CA); Kiessling, Mario (Oregon City, OR); Liu, Yang (Shanghai, CN), filed on January 6, 2012, was published online on June 10, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8751549 is assigned to International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to apparatus and methods for managing persistent data in systems that can load multiple code images.

"Multi-image systems are frequently used in enterprise environments to provide a safety net when updating to higher levels of code. Such systems may include two or more repositories (e.g., real or virtual hard drives) storing software or firmware referred to as 'images.' One image (i.e., the active image) contains an existing code level, while the other image (i.e., the alternate image) contains a new code level. When the new code level is in place on the alternate image, the multi-image system allows the active image to be swapped with the alternate image, thereby allowing the new code level to run in the enterprise environment. If an issue is encountered with the new code level, the system may revert to the previous code level by swapping the images.

"One advantage of multi-image update systems is their ability to minimize update and failure recovery time. Embodiments of such systems can be found in operating systems, hypervisor microcode, and even host adapter firmware. Regardless of the embodiment, such systems have to deal with 'persistent data.' Typically, persistent data refers to information specific to a particular system, such as configuration information.

"When dealing with persistent data, conventional multi-image update systems exhibit various deficiencies. For example, compatibility issues may arise between codes levels that use different persistent data formats. In some cases, the compatibility issues may be so severe that a multi-image system cannot be used. One solution for addressing this incompatibility is to overwrite both images. This solution, however, destroys any fallback capability.

"Another problem with conventional multi-image update systems is their inability to transfer configuration changes between images. The persistent data associated with each image in a multi-image system is typically not synchronized. This is primarily because there is no guarantee that both code levels can handle the same data format. For this reason, conventional multi-image update systems typically maintain two copies of persistent data instead of a single shared copy. Consequently, if a parameter associated with a first code level is changed, the change will not be reflected in a second code level.

"In view of the foregoing, what are needed are apparatus and methods to effectively manage the persistent data of multiple code images. Ideally, such apparatus and methods will be able to synchronize the persistent data of multiple code images even in cases where the code images, or the persistent data formats of the code images, are substantially different."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The invention has been developed in response to the present state of the art and, in particular, in response to the problems and needs in the art that have not yet been fully solved by currently available apparatus and methods. Accordingly, the invention has been developed to provide apparatus and methods to manage persistent data of multiple code images. The features and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.

"Consistent with the foregoing, a method for managing persistent data in a multi-image code load system is disclosed. In one embodiment, such a method includes providing first and second code images for loading onto a computing system. The method stores, in a common repository, persistent data that is shared by each of the first and second code images. When changes are made to the shared persistent data associated with the first and second code images, the changes are recorded in the form of content deltas. When generating such content deltas, the method determines which of the first and second code images the content deltas apply to and marks the content deltas accordingly.

"A corresponding apparatus and computer program product are also disclosed and claimed herein."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Excoffier, Franck; Groover, Michael Paul; Groseclose, Jr., Michael Robert; Han, Xu; Kiessling, Mario; Liu, Yang. Persistent Data Management in Multi-Image Code Load Systems. U.S. Patent Number 8751549, filed January 6, 2012, and published online on June 10, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Management, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly

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