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Extensible Structure for Managing System Asset Information in a Non-volatile Storage Element: EAIA (Enhanced Asset Information Area)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123838D
Original Publication Date: 1999-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-05

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cromer, D: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Introduction The ability to effectively manage physical asset information is a fundamental attribute of a highly managed PC and is a key differentiator for the IBM CDT brand. Consistent with this attribute a methodology was needed for managing system specific asset information such as serialization data, configuration data, warranty data, and user data in a non-volatile storage area. Much of this information, such as component serial numbers, is only readily available during system manufacture and build. Current mechanisms of storing such information on a HDD are flawed since this data is often lost if the HDD is changed or the pre-load is modified.

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Extensible Structure for Managing System Asset Information in a Non-volatile
Storage Element: EAIA (Enhanced Asset Information Area)

   Introduction

   The ability to effectively manage physical asset
information is a fundamental attribute of a highly managed PC and is
a key differentiator for the IBM CDT brand.  Consistent with this
attribute a methodology was needed for managing system specific asset
information  such as serialization data, configuration data, warranty
data, and user data in a non-volatile storage area.  Much of this
information, such as component serial numbers, is only readily
available during system manufacture and build.  Current mechanisms of
storing such information on a HDD are flawed since this data is often
lost if the HDD is changed or the pre-load is modified.  An
architecture was developed for storing such information in a standard
EEPROM such that it is resident to the system motherboard and will
not be lost or altered by subsequent software and configuration
changes.  Furthermore, since this architecture can be applied to a RF
enabled EEPROM (PCID) this information is also available through a
wireless RF link.

   A mechanism for storing and retrieving system specific
information from a non-volatile storage element was designed such
that standard system management (DMI) code can be used to interface
this data.  Furthermore, the design was extended to accommodate other
user data such as location, lease information, warranty data, etc.

   Implementation

   The Enhanced Asset Information Area (EAIA) resides in a
EEPROM, which is a part of the PCID subsystem  and can be accessed
either through an RF link or through the system's SMBus.  The type
of access allowed (i.e. read or write) is determined by the system
BIOS.  Referring to Table 1, the EAIA is partitioned into 8 blocks
of 128 bytes each.  The first six blocks, 0 - 5, are reserved for
PCID data, which includes system and sub system serialization data,
system configuration data, and other system data that may be user
specified.  The six blocks are grouped into three areas of two
blocks each and are referred to as the Serialization Information
Area (blocks 0, 1), User Information Area (blocks 2, 3), and
Configuration Information Area (blocks 4, 5), respectively.  The
types of access allowed for both the RF and system links are also
given in Table 1.
  Table 1.  Enhanced Asset Information Area
  Address           Description           RF Access   Sys Access
   A8     Serialization Information Area  Read only   Read/Write
   AA          User Information Area      Read only   Read/Write
   AC     Configuration Information Area  Read only   Read/Write
   AE               Reserved               LockedLocked

   Data can be written (and read) through either the RF
interface to the system or the SMBus.  Writing and reading via the RF
interface will be re...