Browse Prior Art Database

A Method for Remote Screen Capture

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013601D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

As a function of IBM Netfinity's RAS (Reliability-Accessibility-Serviceability), remote screen capture has become a requirement on all current Netfinity Server systems. Original functionality (still existing today) gives the user the ability to control the system from a remote location; however, often requires a longer POST/BIOS completion time and does not guarantee complete remote POST/BIOS configurability. For example, the user will not be able to configure a Adaptec disk controller without the aid of service processor (typically Ranger or Wiseman). The reliability on a service processor is a problem as low end servers typically do not ship with service processors.

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A Method for Remote Screen Capture

As a function of IBM Netfinity's RAS (Reliability-Accessibility-Serviceability), remote screen capture has become a requirement on all current Netfinity Server systems. Original functionality (still existing today) gives the user the ability to control the system from a remote location; however, often requires a longer POST/BIOS completion time and does not guarantee complete remote POST/BIOS configurability. For example, the user will not be able to configure a Adaptec disk controller without the aid of service processor (typically Ranger or Wiseman). The reliability on a service processor is a problem as low end servers typically do not ship with service processors.

This invention solves the above problem without sacrificing speed of POST/BIOS completion. This method for remote screen capture will enable all current systems with industry standard south bridge chipsets, like the Intel PIXX4 and/or the Reliance Open South Bridge (ROSB4), to be completely configurable (from a POST/BIOS standpoint) to remote users.

There are two current methods of remote video screen capture incorporated on IBM Netfinity Servers; one requires a Ranger or Wiseman service processor and the other does not.

In both methods, POST/BIOS is able to "hook" the necessary software interrupts which are used to send text video data (software interrupt 10h) and keystrokes (software interrupt 16h). When these software interrupts occur, the POST/BIOS remote terminal software handles the interrupt and sends the captured video/keyboard data to/from the remote console. The disadvantage of this method is execution time. In this mode, a significant refresh time is noticed on the remote and host system resulting (30 seconds and longer can be added to POST in this mode). Also, this mode is not able to handle screen data which is sent to the video buffer without the "standard" interrupt 10h calls. This problem often occurs in PCI ROM execution as seen by the IBM ServeRaid adapter and Adaptec SCSI adapters. This problem prevents remote users from configuring these type of devices.

In order to handle the above mentioned problem, the service processor (if available) will issue a periodic System Management Interrupt (SMI) when it detects the user trying to configure one of these adapters (e.g. if the remote user presses CONTROL-I to get into the ServeRaid Mini Configuration Utility). The SMI Handler, which will be invoked from this interrupt, will detect the request for a screen capture and transfer the contents of the video buffer to the service processor. The service processor will then transfer the data to the remote terminal This method is faster than the pure software screen capture method and is not dependent on specific interrupt calls for displaying video data. However, a system must incorporate a service processor to provide this mechanism.

This invention is unique in that it can provide the same fast functionality as the later of

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