News Column

Patent Application Titled "Information Processing System and Storage Apparatus" Published Online

July 22, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor KAI, Hironori (Kawasaki, JP), filed on October 28, 2013, was made available online on July 10, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Fujitsu Limited.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "With the advances made in information and communication technology in recent years, a large number of storage apparatuses that are capable of storing a large amount of data have been put into use. Such storage apparatuses involve periodic substitution (replacement and data migration). For example, servers are generally operated for about ten years, whereas storage apparatuses are generally replaced with new products in about five years.

"Work for such replacement of storage apparatus involves inheriting an access path name (a name of a path for accessing a storage apparatus from an application program) of a replaced (old) storage apparatus to a replacing (new) storage apparatus while minimizing the time during which a task is suspended (or without suspending a task). Such work is very cumbersome. Such inheritance of access path name is important work in order to enable a new storage apparatus to be used without changing the settings in application programs after replacement of storage apparatus.

"A related technique is disclosed in, for example, Japanese Laid-open Patent Publication No. 2007-18455.

"In known storage apparatuses, in order to allow a replacing storage apparatus to inherit an access path name of a replaced storage apparatus, for example, the schemes described below have been employed.

"In a first scheme, a user manually releases an access path to a migration-source storage apparatus and manually assigns the access path to a migration-destination storage apparatus.

"However, the number of task servers connected to one storage apparatus tends to increase. Hence, with this first scheme, when a storage apparatus is replaced, an access path is manually inherited at all task servers connected to the storage apparatus, which involves a significant workload. As the workload increases, the possibility of making a mistake in the work increases and it also takes an enormous of working hours. In recent years, however, since there are demands for reducing the downtime during migration to zero or a minimum, it is not permissible to spend a large amount of time on the work for inheriting access path.

"In a second scheme, a predetermined condition for determining whether a storage apparatus has been replaced is defined. When the condition is met, it is interpreted that the storage apparatus has been replaced, and an access path is automatically switched. For example, when the number of logical unit numbers (LUNs) and a slot position of a host bus adaptor (HBA) in a newly recognized storage apparatus is the same as those in a migration-source storage apparatus, it is determined that replacement of storage apparatus has been performed, and an access path assigned to the migration-source storage apparatus is assigned to the migration-destination storage apparatus (that is, the newly recognized storage apparatus).

"This scheme, however, has significant restrictions on the system environment. For example, these restrictions include the restriction that the number of volumes in the migration-source storage apparatus and the number of volumes in the migration-destination storage apparatus be the same and the restriction that an HBA slot used before replacement of storage apparatus and an HBA slot used after replacement of storage apparatus be the same. Furthermore, there is also the possibility that the migration-source storage apparatus will be unable to connect continuously after migration, as well as the possibility that it will be automatically interpreted, due to operational error, that replacement of storage apparatus has occurred, resulting that an access path name is changed. It is therefore difficult to flexibly replace a storage apparatus.

"In a third scheme, one virtual device is created for a migration-source storage apparatus and a migration-destination storage apparatus, and an access path to the virtual device is used before and after replacement of storage apparatus.

"However, when one virtual device is created for a migration-source storage apparatus and a migration-destination storage apparatus, it is difficult to utilize data in the migration-destination storage apparatus in a shared manner after migration. Since cases in which future data migration is taken into account during initial set-up are rare, the third scheme involves work for creating the migration-source storage apparatus and the migration-destination storage apparatus as one virtual device, thus involving suspending a task while this work is performed.

"In a fourth scheme, a management server is prepared to switch input/output (I/O) access, issued from another server, from a migration-source storage apparatus to a migration-destination storage apparatus or to issue an instruction for performing processing for the switching.

"This scheme, however, involves preparation of a management apparatus for only migration work, thus adding cost and complexity to the system. Users prefer not to prepare such a migration-dedicated apparatus in the system."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "According to an aspect of the present invention, provided is an information processing system including an information processing apparatus, a first storage apparatus, and a second storage apparatus. The first storage apparatus includes a first processor. The first processor is configured to receive, from the information processing apparatus, a first migration command for migrating data from the first storage apparatus to the second storage apparatus. The first processor is configured to create inheritance-destination information based on the first migration command. The first processor is configured to instruct the second storage apparatus to create inheritance-source information based on the first migration command. The first processor is configured to perform migration of the data in accordance with the first migration command. The information processing apparatus includes a second processor. The second processor is configured to obtain the inheritance-destination information and the inheritance-source information from at least one of the first storage apparatus and the second storage apparatus. The second processor is configured to determine whether migration of the data from the first storage apparatus to the second storage apparatus has been performed. The second processor is configured to assign, based on the inheritance-destination information and the inheritance-source information, an access path to the second storage apparatus upon determining that migration of the data has been performed.

"The objects and advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the claims.

"It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a hardware configuration of an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating a functional configuration of an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 3 illustrates exemplary structures of inheritance-information management tables according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 4 illustrates an operation during storage replacement in an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 5 illustrates an operation during storage replacement in an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 6 illustrates an operation during storage replacement in an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 7 illustrates an operation during storage replacement in an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 8 illustrates an operation during storage replacement in an information processing system according to a first embodiment;

"FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a management server according to an embodiment;

"FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating operations of storage apparatuses according to a first embodiment; and

"FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating operations of the task server according to a first embodiment."

For more information, see this patent application: KAI, Hironori. Information Processing System and Storage Apparatus. Filed October 28, 2013 and posted July 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=793&p=16&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140703.PD.&OS=PD/20140703&RS=PD/20140703

Keywords for this news article include: Fujitsu Limited, Information Technology, Information and Data Migration.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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