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Method for Pseudo On-line Firmware Updates for Critical Subsystems on PC Servers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015376D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Dec-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 1 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for performing pseudo on-line firmware updates of critical subsystem such as storage adapters (e.g. RAID, fiber channel, SCSI adapters, etc), storage devices (e.g hard drives, tape drives, etc), network cards, and other devices on industry-standard PC Servers. Typically these subsystems require any running operating systems to be shutdown and the server restarted before and after applying firmware updates.

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  Method for Pseudo On-line Firmware Updates for Critical Subsystems on PC Servers

Disclosed is a method for performing pseudo on-line firmware updates of critical subsystem such as storage adapters (e.g. RAID, fiber channel, SCSI adapters, etc), storage devices (e.g hard drives, tape drives, etc), network cards, and other devices on industry-standard PC Servers. Typically these subsystems require any running operating systems to be shutdown and the server restarted before and after applying firmware updates.

This method uses a Service Processor to transmit the updates to the server and coordinate the update process. It leverages the power management capabilities and the hot-swap capabilities of the server to be able to perform the updates. To perform an update, the Service Processor will first suspend the operation of all operating systems using power management capabilities to quiesce and flush data buffers and halt the main CPUs. Next, the Service Processor will perform the actual update of the subsystem (for example, by transferring the update directly over the system bus, or by staging the update to be completed by the System BIOS on resume). If necessary, the Service Processor will then reset the subsystem (for example, using hot-plug capabilities for controlling power to the device). Finally, the Service Processor will bring the CPU and all operating systems back on-line using a resume command. During the resume, the System BIOS will have the opportunity to perform any operations necessary to complete the update before the operating system...