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Autonomous Updating of a Managed Server Cluster Using Update Express

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031367D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-22
Document File: 2 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Updating systems is commonly tedious, lengthy, but a required task. It is typically done by the system owner or administrator. The update packages must be obtained by the owner from a specific web location belonging to manufacturer of a system or systems. The version must be verified to be compatible and operational with the target systems before mass production distribution can be performed. As the number of systems and servers grows exponentially large, the task of maintaining and updating these systems becomes laborious. Disclosed is an autonomous method for performing the latest updates to an entire managed cluster without the need to know model types or any of the details about the individual systems.

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Autonomous Updating of a Managed Server Cluster Using Update Express

     The invention relies upon three building blocks in order to build the business method for the solution: Update Express, Next Generation Service Processor Storage Technology, and the Web Based Infrastructure to tie it all together.

     The first part of the invention is the Update Express CD which contains all of the latest drivers for IBM's entire xSeries server line of computers. The software can run autonomously and is released on a quarterly basis. Deploying this software on any system will update the software to the latest level offered by the CD.

     The second part of the invention relies upon a service processor or a dedicated management server. These service processors offer a new technology called Mass Storage Chaining (MSC) which allows a single CD, DVD, Diskette or USB key to be simultaneously connected to an entire managed cluster of servers or systems.

     The last part of the invention is the new feature that brings these technologies together into a unique service offering. A software task executing on the service processor receives notification of an Update Express CD update through a CIM based alert. The alert originates from a designated website that updates the CD image or from a customer owned server inside a firewall (completely configurable). As part of this alert, a pointer to the CD image as well as information briefly describing the CD image contents are sent. The software task inspects the alert and determines what action to take based on the alert. Possible actions would include a response to the alerting agent to request additional information on the contents of the alert. The software task would negotiate with other software tasks in the managed cluster to connect this image to the systems in the cluster and perform a simultaneous update.

     This automatic function brings about potential issues such as bringing down all servers in a customer network to install a patch. This is where the concept of managed clusters comes into being. The managed clusters are a collection of servers that can have redundancy built in as well as quality of service (QoS) for individual servers. The software tas...