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Method to minimize the storage required to track the level of software associated with an object, and to quickly determine whether the level of software has been updated since the last time an object was accessed.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013116D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-13
Document File: 3 page(s) / 66K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This invention provides a method to minimize the storage required to track the level of software associated with an object, and to quickly determine whether the level of software has been updated since the last time an object was accessed. By maintaining this information, one can reduce the number of times one has to operate on the object based on level of software differences. Additionally, the invention provides a method to maintain this association at a portable/switchable media level, not just at a system level. Therefore, this would reduce the number of times one has to operate on the object based on level of software differences, even when the portable media is moved from system to system.

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  Method to minimize the storage required to track the level of software associated with an object, and to quickly determine whether the level of software has been updated since the last time an object was accessed.

  It will be easier to describe our invention by using an example. Our example will use scanning as the type of object access. Therefore, we will replace the terminology "object was accessed" with "object was scanned" and "level of software" with "level of scanning provided by scanning programs".

    Object scanning can be a costly overhead and can reduce the overall performance for a computer system. Normally object scans are performed blindly, whether they need to be or not. However, we have developed a method for minimizing the number of scans required for objects while at the same time minimizing the storage necessary to determine if a scan is required. This method allows a computer system to easily determine, based on the level of scanning provided by the computer system's current scanning programs, if an object requires scanning . The object can be stored locally (i.e. tape drive, hard drive, etc.) and/or on portable or switchable media devices that are moved from one computer system to another (i.e. CD-RW, floppy disk, independent Auxiliary Storage Pool, etc.). This invention helps to increase each computer system's performance as it relates to object scanning and helps to eliminate unnecessary scans on portable/switchable media.

    This invention can very easily be applied to scanning for computer viruses as it exists today. The term "scanning" can be replaced with "virus scanning" and "level of scanning provided by scanning programs" can be replaced with "level of virus scan protection provided by virus scanners."

    This invention achieves an advantage by quickly and easily determining if an object requires scanning. This will minimize the number of object scans performed by a computer system, thus, improving overall performance for the computer system as it relates to scanning. It is important to note that even though the number of object scans has been minimized, they will always be performed when required, thus ensuring the integrity of an object.

    Each computer system maintains a scan key list. An entry in this list contains a scan key, which corresponds to a scanning program which is responsible for actually performing the scan of an object. The entry also contains a scan key signature for the scan key. The scan key signature corresponds to the level of scanning provided by the scanning program. The scan key list is updated by a computer system to reflect the current level of scanning that its scanning program(s) provide. In addition to the scan key list, the computer system maintains a global scan signature which is incremented anytime its scan key list is updated. An update to the scan key list involves adding scan programs or updating the scan key signature for a scan program that is already in the scan key list. Ex...