News Column

Patent Issued for Efficiently Restoring Data from a Sequential-Access Backup Archive

July 8, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY) has been issued patent number 8762634, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Gensler, Jr., Robert Stanley (Vail, AZ); Wilt, Andrew Nelson (Tucson, AZ).

This patent was filed on October 24, 2009 and was published online on June 24, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "This invention relates to restoring data, and more particularly to apparatus and methods for restoring data from a sequential-access backup archive.

"A 'backup' generally refers to a copy of original data that is created and maintained for recovery purposes. The copy may be used to restore the original data in the event the original data is lost or corrupted. Although most backups share a common purpose, the manner in which data is backed up (also referred to as the 'data repository model') can vary significantly. In many cases, a data repository model is based at least partly on the type of storage media used (i.e., whether the backup is stored on magnetic tape, a hard disk, an optical disk, or the like). Once data is backed up, techniques used to recover the data also vary significantly. Such recovery techniques may be based at least partly on the way the backup data was originally stored and structured.

"In some cases, backups stored on magnetic tape lack information (such as indexes or waypoints) indicating where data sets are stored in the backup or which data sets are actually included in the backup. In such cases, restoring specific data sets from the backup may be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Specifically, restoring data sets in such cases may require reading each data set in the backup to determine if the data set is one to be restored. This may not be a problem where the backup contains a small number of data sets. However, if the backup contains a large number of data sets, reading and inspecting each of the data sets may consume significant processing time and resources.

"The above-stated problems may be compounded by the fact that data sets that were requested to be backed up may not reflect the data sets that were actually backed up. The problem may also be exacerbated by the fact that the amount of data in each data set may vary. Thus, a search technique cannot simply treat the backup as an array of fixed size entries to fast forward to a desired data set.

"In view of the foregoing, what is needed is an apparatus and method to more efficiently restore data sets from a backup archive having the above-described characteristics. Further needed are apparatus and methods to efficiently search for desired data sets using search commands supported by existing storage controllers. Yet further needed are apparatus and methods to minimize the processing time and resources utilized when performing such searches."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters 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 efficiently restore data from a sequential-access backup archive. 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 efficiently restoring data from a sequential-access backup archive is disclosed herein. In selected embodiments, such a method includes receiving a candidate list identifying data sets that are potentially contained within a sequential-access backup archive. The method further receives a filter list identifying data sets that are desired to be restored from the backup archive. Using the candidate list and filter list, the method generates a search list identifying data sets that are to be ignored when searching the backup archive. The method then sequentially performs multiple 'searches' of the backup archive such that the multiple searches collectively perform a single pass through the backup archive. When performing these searches, each search begins from the last accessed portion of the backup archive and stops upon encountering a data set not explicitly ignored by the search list.

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

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Gensler, Jr., Robert Stanley; Wilt, Andrew Nelson. Efficiently Restoring Data from a Sequential-Access Backup Archive. U.S. Patent Number 8762634, filed October 24, 2009, and published online on June 24, 2014. Patent URL:

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

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly

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