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A Secure Means of Memory Activation, Deactivation and Inventory for the Capacity-on-Demand Enviroment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000103669D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-18
Document File: 6 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The invention described herein provides a secure, encrypted scheme for using VPD EEPROMs to keep track of the inventory of memory DIMMs in a system. It also enables hardware-on-demand by including data that indicates which memory has been paid for and can be used in the system. This invention is very low cost since it requires no additional hardware. It requires space in existing VPD EEPROMs and system management code.

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A Secure Means of Memory Activation , Deactivation and Inventory for the Capacity-on-Demand Enviroment

BACKGROUND

     Hardware capacity-on-demand is a way of offering customers the amount of computing power they desire without the need to have service or information technology personnel change the hardware and software on the machine. This is accomplished by shipping the customer a fully configured machine capable of performing at its maximum computing potential. The customer then purchases the desired percentage of that achievable computing power dynamically without the need for field hardware and software installs, reinstalls or upgrades. Hardware and software already present in the box are enabled or disabled on-demand. This invention is predicated on the fact that the machine's hardware configures itself correctly per the customer's capacity-on-demand requirements by interacting with the system management hardware and software present in the system. The information in the system must be adequate to allow the system to boot in its current configuration without having to access a network or requiring operator interaction. If the customer wants more or less computing power, the system will need to interact with other systems set up to manage that process. The means by which the systems management hardware and software in the system interacts with remote ordering, billing and inventory systems is not addressed in this disclosure.

     This invention addresses how memory DIMMs are enabled and inventoried on a machine that may or may not be network connected at the time it is booted. Although servers are invariably network connected, network connections come and go so the server must be able to work under various conditions of network accessibility.

     This invention shows a method of enabling and inventorying memory dimms in a Capacity on Demand environment. The server may or may not be connected to a network and this invention addresses two major areas of potential misappropriation of the dimms when the server is not connected to the network. Both functions must be performed using data present on the system without requiring network interaction or operator intervention in the case of a normal boot of the system.

In many cases, the machine will have memory DIMMs which are present but not


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ordered by the customer. The allowed machine configuration must be stored in a secure fashion local to the machine to insure correct billing and correct system startup under various network conditions (eg. network down or disconnected). Memory enablement must be secure so that it cannot be circumvented by a knowledgeable person without going to extreme measures. There are ways of handling such extreme circumventions, but they are not within the scope of this disclosure.

Since the machine may have memory DIMMs which are present but not being used,


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it is important to keep track of those DIMMs so they are not removed and put on other systems, etc. thereby p...