News Column

Patent Issued for Network System, Network Management Server, and Configuration Scheduling Method, Using Summed Processing Time

August 26, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- Hitachi, Ltd. (Tokyo, JP) has been issued patent number 8805976, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Ozawa, Yoji (Kokubunji, JP); Yumoto, Kazuma (Fuchu, JP); Miyata, Tatsuhiko (Inagi, JP); Kawai, Eri (Yokohama, JP).

This patent was filed on December 15, 2009 and was published online on August 12, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "In recent years, a corporation has vigorously used a virtual private network (VPN) to connect bases of operations with each other through an independent network. The VPN is logical networks, each being separated from each other, and formed on a physical network.

"A communication carrier providing service using VPN (VAN service) provides a variety of network functions such as, for example, access control list (ACL) and quality of service (QoS) which enable a fine flow control, and a user virtual local area network (user VLAN) which is a function to group communicable circuits by ID in a VLAN tag, with which a user provides a frame. An end user can directly request setting (request for setting the VPN, for example) to change setting of these functions. Providing a user with a user interface for setting the VPN can increase the number of requests for setting the VPN.

"Request for configuration of a network system providing the VPN service includes the following types, for example. First, it is the abovementioned request for setting the VPN, for example. This is setting in unit of VPN and does not affect other VPNs. Items that can be set are limited to items related to the VPN. Mainly the end user makes a request for setting the VPN. A carrier operator who is requested to set the VPN in writing by the end user can make a request for setting the VPN.

"Secondly, it is a request for setting a physical network device, for example. This is a direct request for configuration of the physical network device providing the VPN service and a request for configuration of all the items of the network device, for example. Since plural VPNs are generally formed on the network device, the setting of the network device can change the relationship between the VPN and the network device. The term 'relationship' refers to the relationship between the unit of a logical network of the VPN and each physical network device forming the VPN, for example. The request for setting the network device is triggered by increase or decrease in apparatus and failure therein.

"The following describes the flow of the processing for setting the VPN and the network device.

"The request for configuring the VPN is changed to configuration of plural physical network devices in which the VPN is actually formed. The contents of the request for setting the VPN are set to plural target network devices at the same time not to cause the mismatch of setting as the VPN. In general, a content can be only sequentially set to the network device, so that the right to set all the target network devices (the right to enable the configuration to be modified), for example, is previously obtained and then the content is set.

"For the request for setting the network device, as is the case with the request for setting the VPN, the right to set the target network device is previously obtained and at the same time a content is set to the target network device.

"There is disclosed a method of scheduling for processing reservations for using a transmission line and a method of configuring a network device at the time of receiving the request for configuration (refer to JP-A-2008-131247, for example). According to the disclosure thereof, if the transmission line #1 is competitive with the transmission line #2, for example, and if both the reservations for using the transmission line request the use of the transmission line at the same time zone, a competitive control and a preferential control are performed between the two reservations."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "If the technique disclosed in JP-A-2008-131247 is applied to setting for the VPN and the network device, the following problems occur.

"One of the problems is that reservations for setting time are not taken into consideration. The technique disclosed in JP-A-2008-131247 relates to reservations for a transmission line. Since configuration data can be only sequentially set to the network device, if a large number of configuration requests are received, waiting time for setting may increase. For this reason, reservations for setting time to the network device may be required.

"Another problem is that the setting of the target network device is changed until setting about the VPN is performed, which may not enable the requested setting about the VPN. When the request for setting the VPN is received, the target network device is identified, the configuration data for the target network device is generated to make configuration reservations. However, another setting may be performed to the network device before the generated configuration data is actually set to the network device according to configuration reservations, so that a relationship between the VPN and the network device may be changed. For example, the network device configuring VPN by receiving the VPN configuration request to make reservations for configuration may be different from the network device configuring the VPN at the time of actually configuring according to the configuration reservations. In this case, the target network device or a configuration in the network device is changed, so that setting related to the VPN is stopped and design needs to be made again. Hereinafter, the processing for identifying the target network device from the request for setting the VPN and the processing for creating the content set to the target network device are referred to as design (or reservation processing).

"Thus, if re-generation occurs, the setting of the VPN requested in the reserved time is not performed. It is not clear until just before setting whether the re-generation occurs, so that the time for executing the setting cannot be previously calculated. Therefore, it is not clear for the end user when the configuration of the network device which the end user uses is changed, so that it can be difficult for the end user to form a plan for changing the network device.

"The present invention has been made in view of the above problems and a first object thereof is to previously calculate time for finishing the setting of the VPN and the network device by reserving time for configuration of the VPN and the network device even if the network device is set before the setting related to the VPN is performed.

"A second object of the present invention is to notify the user of a scheduled period by performing schedule so that setting related to the VPN is simultaneously made to a physical network device. A third object of the present invention is to automatically re-generate and re-reserve the reserved configuration request if a relationship between the VPN and the network device is changed, to reduce schedule of a large number of configuration requests and working load of re-generation of a carrier operator.

"A network system includes plural transmission apparatuses for transmitting a packet and a management calculator (a management server) and a network is formed by the transmission apparatus.

"Plural logical networks, each being separated from each other, are formed on the plural transmission apparatuses.

"For example, the management calculator receives configuration request and configuration desired time for the logical network or configuration request and configuration desired time for the transmission apparatus from the operator terminal of the network system or the user's terminal of thereof, generates configuration data for the transmission apparatus from the configuration data for the logical network, refers to the reservation table of setting time for each transmission apparatus, confirms whether free time is available in the same period with respect to all the transmission apparatus to which setting is made, makes configuration reservation if free time is available in the setting time, and performs configuration of the target transmission apparatus in the reserved time.

"For example, the management calculator receives configuration request for the logical network from the user's terminal of the network system, refers to corresponding information of a logical network and plural the transmission apparatuses related to the logical network to change the configuration data for the logical network to the configuration data for the transmission apparatus.

"For example, the management calculator refers to the processing time information to calculate the processing time of the configuration data for the transmission apparatus created from the configuration data for the logical network or of the configuration data for the transmission apparatus requested from the operator terminal, refers to the configuration reservation table to determine whether free time for the calculated processing time is available, performs setting for the transmission apparatus to which setting is made and then updates processing time information based on the executed processing time.

"For example, the management calculator makes the configuration reservation in a period shorter than the configuration desired time requested from the terminal and notifies the terminal of the configuration reservation as the scheduled period.

"For example, the management calculator reserves the configuration request for the transmission apparatus requested from the operator terminal on the configuration reservation table, then updates corresponding information of the logical network changed by the setting for the transmission apparatus and plural the transmission apparatuses related to the logical network, generates a new configuration data for the transmission apparatus with respect to the reserved logical network according to the updated corresponding information, confirms whether free time is available in the same period with respect to all the target network device with reference to the reservation table for the setting time for each transmission apparatus, and makes configuration reservation if free time is available in the setting time.

"For example, the management calculator stores the configuration desired time included in the configuration request to be requested, generates a new configuration data for the transmission apparatus if the configuration request for transmission apparatus is received from the operator terminal, confirms whether free time for the processing time is available in the same period in the stored configuration desired time with respect to all the transmission apparatus to which setting is made with reference to the reservation table for the setting time and makes configuration reservation if free time is available.

"According to a first aspect of the present invention, a management server in a network system which has plural transmission apparatuses for transmitting a packet and forms a logical network including the transmission apparatus, the management server includes:

"a relation information storage unit configured to previously store an identifier of a logical network and an identifier of one or plural transmission apparatuses forming the logical network with the identifiers corresponding to each other;

"a configuration reservation information storage unit configured to store reservation information for each predetermined time zone and each of the plural transmission apparatuses, the reservation information indicating whether configuring the transmission apparatus is already reserved in a time zone or the configuration is not reserved in the time zone (or in a vacant state); and

"a processing unit; wherein

"the processing unit receives configuration request for a logical network including the identifier of the logical network from a user management terminal,

"executes a reservation processing including:

"(a) obtaining the identifier of the corresponding one or plural transmission apparatuses with reference to the relation information storage unit based on the identifier of the logical network included in the configuration request; and

"(b) identifying a time zone in which corresponding reservation information indicates vacancy with respect to the obtained identifier of the transmission apparatus with reference to the configuration reservation information storage unit and setting the reservation information corresponding, to the time zone and the identifier of the transmission apparatus to a reserved state; and

"transmits a scheduled period notice including the identified time zone to the user management terminal.

"According to a second aspect of the present invention, in a network system which has plural transmission apparatuses for transmitting a packet and a management server and forms a logical network including the transmission apparatus, the management server includes:

"a relation information storage unit configured to previously store an identifier of a logical network and an identifier of one or plural transmission apparatuses forming the logical network with the identifiers corresponding to each other;

"a configuration reservation information storage unit configured to store reservation information for each predetermined time zone and each of the plural transmission apparatuses, the reservation information indicating whether configuring the transmission apparatus is already reserved in a time zone or the configuration is not reserved in the time zone (or in a vacant state); and

"a processing unit; wherein

"the processing unit receives configuration request for a logical network including the identifier of the logical network from a user management terminal,

"executes a reservation processing including:

"(a) obtaining the identifier of the corresponding one or plural transmission apparatuses with reference to the relation information storage unit based on the identifier of the logical network included in the configuration request; and

"(b) identifying a time zone in which corresponding reservation information indicates vacancy with respect to the obtained identifier of the transmission apparatus with reference to the configuration reservation information storage unit and setting the reservation information corresponding to the time zone and the identifier of the transmission apparatus to a reserved state; and

"transmits a scheduled period notice including the identified time zone to the user management terminal.

"According to a third aspect of the present invention, in a configuration scheduling method for scheduling the setting of a logical network in a network system which has plural transmission apparatuses for transmitting a packet and a management server and forms a logical network including the transmission apparatus, the method includes the steps of:

"a processing unit receiving configuration request for a logical network including an identifier of a logical network from a terminal;

"the processing unit executing a reservation processing including: (a) obtaining the identifier of the corresponding one or plural transmission apparatuses with reference to the relation information storage unit previously storing an identifier of a logical network and an identifier of one or plural transmission apparatuses forming the logical network with the identifiers corresponding to each other based on the identifier of the logical network included in the configuration request; and

"(b) identifying a time zone in which corresponding reservation information indicates vacancy with respect to the obtained identifier of the transmission apparatus and setting the reservation information corresponding to the time zone and the identifier of the transmission apparatus to a reserved state with reference to a configuration reservation information storage unit for storing reservation information for each predetermined time zone and each of the plural transmission apparatuses, the reservation information indicating whether configuring to the transmission apparatus is already reserved in a time zone or the configuring is not reserved in the time zone (or in a vacant state); and

"the processing unit transmitting a scheduled period notice including the identified time zone to the terminal.

"According to the present invention, it is enabled to previously calculate time for finishing the configuring of the VPN and the network device by reserving time for configuring to the VPN and the network device even if the network device is set before the configuring related to the VPN is performed.

"Furthermore, according to the present invention, it is enabled to notify the user of a scheduled period by performing schedule so that setting related to the VPN is simultaneously made to a physical network device. Still furthermore, according to the present invention, it is enabled to automatically re-generate and re-reserve the reserved configuration request if a relationship between the VPN and the network device is changed, to reduce schedule of a large number of configuration requests and working load of re-generation of a carrier operator."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Ozawa, Yoji; Yumoto, Kazuma; Miyata, Tatsuhiko; Kawai, Eri. Network System, Network Management Server, and Configuration Scheduling Method, Using Summed Processing Time. U.S. Patent Number 8805976, filed December 15, 2009, and published online on August 12, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8805976.PN.&OS=PN/8805976RS=PN/8805976

Keywords for this news article include: Hitachi Ltd., Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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