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The autonomic determination of master-slave relationship between embedded controllers by means of a shared hardware access switch

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000020741D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Dec-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Dec-11
Document File: 4 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The basic idea of the invention is the principle to determine and reassign the controller mastership role with the help of state information and specific operational capabilities of the shared hardware switch in an autonomic and embedded fashion. There are specific operations that can be invoked by each controller to test the ownership of the shared hardware switch. Based on the results it can be determined if a running master controller exists or has failed. If not, a slave may capture the ownership of the hardware switch and based on that, also capture the master controller role.

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The autonomic determination of master-slave relationship between embedded controllers by means of a shared hardware access switch

The basic idea of the invention is the principle to determine and reassign the controller mastership role with the help of state information and specific operational capabilities of the shared hardware switch in an autonomic and embedded fashion. There are specific operations that can be invoked by each controller to test the ownership of the shared hardware switch. Based on the results it can be determined if a running master controller exists or has failed. If not, a slave may capture the ownership of the hardware switch and based on that, also capture the master controller role.

    The main advantages of such a solution is that it adheres to the principle of locality and embeddedness which yields very fast turn-around and recovery timings for highly available applications. No third party instance is required to be involved. This solution enhances the degree of autonomic self-control and self-healing of the embedded system composed of a plurality of embedded controllers.

Elements of invention
1. A collection of embedded controllers (we do not restrict to pairs of controllers).
2. All controllers share a common local hardware access switch that interconnects to hardware to be monitored and controlled, for instance, consisting of filed replaceable units (FRUs). We can speak of a network of embedded controllers (the network is external to this patent and not of interest here, can be a conventional Ethernet), and a network of hardware elements connected by the hardware switch.
3. The following operations on the common local bus or hardware switch must be supported:
a. A sense operation of the bus ownership.
b. A request for the ownership.
c. A force operation of the bus ownership.
e. A release of the bus ownership.
4. Firmware or microcode instances are not explicitly mentioned but the implicit assumption is that these operations are issued by such codes executing on the control...