News Column

Patent Application Titled "Unified Storage System with a Block Micro Controller and a Hypervisor" Published Online

August 21, 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 SATOYAMA, Ai (Sagamihara, JP); EGUCHI, Yoshiaki (Yokohama, JP), filed on March 12, 2013, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Hitachi, Ltd.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Computer systems providing large-scale data storage service to host computers have been provided. Such system is known to include a host computer, a storage subsystem to which the host computer connects, and a management device of the storage subsystem. The storage subsystem manages a plurality of hard disks via RAID (Redundant Array of Independent/Inexpensive Disks) configuration. The system logicalizes physical storage areas included in a plurality of hard disks, and provides them to the host computer as logical volumes. The host computer accesses the logical volumes and requests reading and writing of data.

"As a recent technical trend, there are demand for downsizing the storage subsystem space, cutting down operation management costs, facilitating maintenance, and efficiently utilizing CPU and other resources. Along therewith, a unified storage system, which is an integrated storage subsystem capable of corresponding to a plurality of protocols such as FC (Fibre Channel), iSCSI, FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) and NAS (Network Attached Storage) via a single machine, is attracting attention. The merits of an integrated machine are that it enables direct connection of elements, suppresses development costs, and ensures performance.

"Moreover, an art of logically dividing hardware resources included in a storage system connected to a network and receiving file accesses (such as a NAS), and independently operating the individual logical partitions (virtual storage subsystems) is known (refer to patent literature 1)."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Technical Problem

"According to a conventional integrated storage system, I/O for block storages and I/O for file storages are not distinguished within the single operating system (OS) processing the same. Therefore, according to the prior art block storage subsystem, processes for enhancing performance cannot be performed. For example, in a block storage subsystem, the reliability of the system can be enhanced by immediately detecting failure via real-time OS, or tuning of performance can be realized by directly monitoring the operation of the hardware, but in a single OS configuration, such processes cannot be performed.

"Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a storage system capable of taking full advantage of the high performance of the block storage subsystem, and to provide a method for allocating resources in such system.

"Solution to Problem

"The present invention provides a unified storage subsystem providing a service using a plurality of OSs such as an OS for block storage and an OS for file system other than the OS for block storage. In other words, the present system provides a service based on a block interface using the OS for block storage, and a system for providing a service based on a file interface using the OS for file system (such as a search system or Windows). The main aspect of the present invention for solving the problems of the prior art is that the OS for block storage, which is a real-time OS, is separated from the OS for file systems.

"Further, since a plurality of OSs coexist within a single housing, the storage subsystem can have a plurality of OSs operate cooperatively.

"Further, in order to realize a unified storage subsystem taking full advantage of the superior functions of a high-end storage subsystem, it is necessary to allocate CPUs and memories that the high-end storage subsystem requires for operation. Therefore, the present invention provides a method for defining (allocating) hardware resources enabling the high-end storage subsystem to exert its superior performances.

"According to the present invention, a configuration is provided in which a plurality of OSs coexist. At first, the OSs are divided into a block storage micro-controller (block storage-side OS) and OS other than the block storage, wherein the OS other than the block storage is formed in a hypervisor. A hypervisor is a software capable of realizing a virtual environment for executing a plurality of different OSs in parallel.

"The processes of the block storage micro-controller and the hypervisor are performed in cooperative manner.

"The storage subsystem storing data constitutes a high-end storage subsystem, and the block storage micro-controller executes the processes.

"Advantageous Effects of Invention

"By performing hardware resource definition according to the present invention, it becomes possible to operate the system without wasting resources and without deteriorating respective process efficiencies and performances.

"Since resource is allocated first to the control of the block storage micro-controller, the performance of the storage micro-controller side can be ensured. This leads to ensuring the performance of the overall system. The ability of the process and the function of the block storage micro-controller side can be utilized effectively.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a conceptual diagram of the method for allocating hardware resources in a unified storage subsystem.

"FIG. 2 is a different conceptual diagram of a method for allocating resources.

"FIG. 3 shows an example of the overall configuration diagram of hardware in the storage system.

"FIG. 4A is a view showing an example in which a second storage subsystem is coupled to the unified storage system.

"FIG. 4B is a view showing an example in which a third storage subsystem is coupled via a SAN to the unified storage system.

"FIG. 5 is an image view of hardware and software for describing the operation of the storage system.

"FIG. 6 is a view showing the outline of the flow of I/O processing to the block storage side.

"FIG. 7 is a view showing the outline of the process when an FOS receives I/O as an example of I/O processing other than the block storage.

"FIG. 8A shows an example of a hardware resource management table, which is a hardware resource management information stored in a block storage micro-controller.

"FIG. 8B shows an example of a hardware resource management table, which is a hardware resource management information stored in a hypervisor.

"FIG. 8C shows an example of a hardware resource management table, which is a hardware resource management information stored in each OS other than the block storage.

"FIG. 9 shows an example of a directory device information table.

"FIG. 10 is a view for describing sharing of command with the block storage micro-controller side.

"FIG. 11A shows a process for allocating a hardware resource to a block storage subsystem side.

"FIG. 11B shows a process for allocating a hardware resource to an OS other than the block storage.

"FIG. 11C shows another process for allocating a hardware resource.

"FIG. 12 shows a process for defining configuration when a resource is added.

"FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a process for dynamically reallocating a hardware resource of the block storage to a target other than the block storage.

"FIG. 14 is a flowchart of the process for dynamically reallocating a hardware resource used by a system other than the block storage to the block storage side.

"FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing a write processing performed to the block storage side.

"FIG. 16 is a flowchart showing a read processing performed to the block storage side.

"FIG. 17 is a view showing the area where failure program exists within the storage subsystem.

"FIG. 18 is an overall configuration diagram of the hardware of the storage system according to another embodiment.

"FIG. 19 shows a flowchart of write processing performed to the FOS side.

"FIG. 20 is a flowchart of a read processing performed to the FOS side.

"FIG. 21 is a view related to the failure occurring in a block storage-side exclusive hardware.

"FIG. 22 is a view showing the failure occurring in a shared hardware other than the block storage side.

"FIG. 23 is a view showing an information management table storing information related to failure monitoring."

For more information, see this patent application: SATOYAMA, Ai; EGUCHI, Yoshiaki. Unified Storage System with a Block Micro Controller and a Hypervisor. Filed March 12, 2013 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=191&p=4&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Hitachi Ltd..

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Computer Weekly News


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters