News Column

Patent Issued for Network System and Method for Operating the Same

August 12, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Nakama, Hironori (Tokyo, JP), filed on December 6, 2012, was published online on July 29, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8793373 is Hitachi, Ltd. (Tokyo, JP).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Recently, along with the increase in demands regarding cloud services in the society, the amount of information handled in network systems are increasing, and along therewith, the capacities of storages required for storing data are also increasing significantly.

"Storage service providers (SSP) have introduced additional storage systems for satisfying the capacity of storages requested from end users, and have enhanced the network systems. In SSP, the simple additional introduction of storage systems for increasing capacities is not enough, and it is necessary to provide requested amounts of storage resources satisfying conditions such as performance and reliability required by the end users in a speedy manner.

"Patent document 1 discloses methods and systems for providing storage virtualization of physical storage system when allocating storage resources to a virtual machine (hereinafter abbreviated as VM) operating in a physical host system. The present methods and systems allocate to the VM storage resources satisfying the requirements of the performance and the capacity (quota) of the storage required in the storage resource allocation request from the VM.

"Further, patent document 2 discloses a technique for efficiently assigning storage resources to storage areas in a well-balanced manner in terms of performance and capacity. The art disclosed in patent document 2 relates to a storage system and a method for operating the same, in which the disclosed storage system retains performance information representing the I/O performance of storage devices such as HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) constituting array groups and capacity information representing the storage capacity of storage devices, wherein the system receives a performance requirement information and a capacity requirement information requested in the storage area, and selects a storage device satisfying the requirements."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Technical Problem

"In SSP, for example, the cost related to additional introduction of storage systems must be reduced as much as possible, but in an environment where the storage system is used by a mixture of users requesting high performances and those requesting low performances, it is necessary to satisfy the requests of users requesting high performance. Therefore, the SSP must introduce an expensive storage system for realizing high performances. The costs for introducing such expensive storage systems and the costs related to maintenance thereof are high, and the fees charged to users for use of the system are also necessarily increased, so that from the viewpoint of users requiring low performance, the storage resources that he/she is using has excessive performances and requires high fees.

"Prior art approaches for solving this problem includes methods for separating network domains among users requesting high performances and users requesting low performances, or methods for independently setting the details of assigned storage resources for each user. According to these methods, however, the management operation becomes difficult and complex. Further, it is common to create a large amount of VMs within a short time these days, and in such environment of use, it requires difficult and complicated operations to set conditions of use of the storage systems independently for each user.

"On the other hand, the use of distributed file systems is adopted as a method for enhancing the performance of the storage systems. There are many methods for realizing distributed file systems, but one of the standard methods is called a pNFS (parallel NFS). The pNFS has been studied by many companies and researchers, and was added as a protocol standard of NFS (Network File System) (Registered Trademark) version 4.1 by a standardization organization called IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). The pNFS is expected to be used widely in the future, together with other distributed file systems.

"The performance of the distributed file system can be improved by adopting pNFS. According to pNFS, however, the specification of independent storage systems constituting the data storages of the data storage destination or the types of the storage media disposed in the storage systems are not considered. Therefore, pNFS has a drawback in that the characteristics of the respective storage systems and storage media cannot be fully utilized.

"Therefore, in an environment where a distributed file system is adopted in a network system, the present invention aims at improving the performance of the system by providing to a host system storage resources capable of fully utilizing the characteristics of independent storage systems constituting a data storage or the independent storage media disposed in the storage system.

"Further, the present invention aims at allocating appropriate storage resources to VMs according to the characteristics of the VMs operating in a virtualization structure of a server in an environment adopting a server virtualization structure in a host system.

"Solution to Problem

"In order to solve the problems, the network system according to the present invention gathers the storage configuration information of storage resources as the data storage destination and the VM resource information related to the VMs as allocation destination of storage resources. Then, based on the gathered storage configuration information, a storage area per storage tier having different characteristics is formed, and the storage tier of the storage areas to be allocated to the VMs is specified based on the VM resource information.

"Advantageous Effects of Invention

"According to the present invention, an appropriate storage resource can be allocated to a virtual machine operating in a host system in a distributed file system, so that the overall performance of the system can be improved. The problems, configurations and effects other than those described above will become apparent based on the following description of the preferred embodiments."

For additional information on this patent, see: Nakama, Hironori. Network System and Method for Operating the Same. U.S. Patent Number 8793373, filed December 6, 2012, and published online on July 29, 2014. Patent URL:

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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