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An apparatus and method to minimize the mis-plugging of drive arrays and losing drive data during service

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000180887D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Mar-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Mar-19
Document File: 3 page(s) / 40K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) array will consist of two and more drives. During system service these drives will often have to be removed. For some systems, to preserve the Customers data, the drive must be re-installed in the exact same locations. If the drives are not properly re-installed all of the Customers data WILL be lost. Today, the best solution to minimize this exposure is: 1. To use a high-end system and monitor the RAID sub-system during drive insertion; 2. To clearly document and label all drives before removal. However, it is not always convenient to monitor the RAID sub-system and in the haste of a repair the service person may chose to not go through the trouble/time to add labels to each drive. Also, even high-end systems will not handle non-RAIDed arrays. Disclosed is a convenient solution to minimize this exposure.

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An apparatus and method to minimize the mis -plugging of drive arrays and losing drive data during service

The solution integrates a 7-segment display and a small microcontroller, such as a PSoC (Programmable System-on-Chip, from Cypress Semiconductor), into the drive tray. An MM (management entity) will communicate to the microcontroller to capture and store the slot number in its nonvolatile storage. When the tray is removed its slot position is maintained. If the tray is installed in a different position from which it was removed the management entity would write to the 7-segment display on the tray to fast flash with the previous slot number. This will indicate that the tray is plugged into the wrong position while displaying the expected position.

A switch on the tray or command from the management entity can initialize a new slot number in the tray.

Key aspects of this solution:

Use a PSoC with volatile store on the drive tray.

The management entity will read and write to the PSoC via an I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) connection.

The PSoC will operate under the command of the MM. Store the slot number; Display a couple of digits.

The MM will be in complete control; When to lock the slot number; What to display on the tray;

Auxiliary stored power (battery or Cap power) to enable the user to display the correct slot position before plugging...