Browse Prior Art Database

Component compatibility management in a Blade Server environment via dynamic tables

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000032795D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Nov-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Nov-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A BladeCenter enclosure today defines a finite environment where it is feasible to manage/monitor via software compatibility of various components in that environment. For example, the daughter cards on a blade server may not be compatible with the IO modules that the daughter cards are routed to. It is up to the management module to query the function of each component in the environment and be certain of compatibility before allowing that component to power on. The management module needs to have knowledge of this compatibility table in order properly manage the enclosure. Today this table is integrated into the firmware image on the management module. The physical layout of the enclosure does not change, however new components may be designed, manufactured, and introduced into the enclosure after the firmware present on the management module was written. In order to prevent damage from incompatibility, the management module can not power on an unrecognized component. The inclusion of the compatibility table in the firmware image requires that the user download new firmware prior to installing the new component.

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Component compatibility management in a Blade Server environment via dynamic tables

Main Idea

     This article describes a method utilizing a public website accessible from the management module where the latest compatibility table is maintained. When a new component is installed in the enclosure, the management module will query its component function. If the function is unrecognized, the MM will contact the website to download the latest table.

There are several advantages this approach has over integrating the compatibility table in the firmware image. By maintaining them separately, the firmware in the MM does not need to be updated to have a new version of the table.

Users tend to select a version of firmware that they are comfortable with and will not upgrade without functional enhancements or problem fixes. Separating the table from firmware allows them to update data that the management module needs without changing the software executing on it.

Updates to the compatibility table can be done dynamically, as a policy driven action of the management module. Users generally want to test a new version of firmware in their environment prior to rolling it out to all of their systems. This precludes dynamic updates of the firmware image driven by the management module itself. However, it does not preclude downloading data such as the compatibility table. This eliminates a manual step in the process of installing a new component into a bladecenter enclosure.

Our invention consists of the following parts:
1) A publicly available web site accessible via an internet...