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USB Port Proxy on a Service Processor

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000195679D
Publication Date: 2010-May-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Today's servers have USB (universal serial bus) ports on the front of the system unit that can be used for mice, keyboards and USB memory keys. They logically attach to the system processor and not to the service processor. Disclosed here is a scheme which allows a front or rear USB port to be shared between the system and service processors. This is accomplished by having the service processor intercept and control the front panel USB port, and pass detected system traffic on to the system I/O (input/output) controller. In this way a management peripheral will communicate with the management engine, and a system peripheral will communicate with the system processor.

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USB Port Proxy on a Service Processor

A server management subsystem usually communicates with the operator thru a rear-mounted dedicated LAN port, or thru an operator panel on the front of the server. The LAN port requires dedicated cabling and switching, and the capabilities of the operator panel are somewhat limited, as cost and space are legitimate constraints. A front panel enhancement is an I/O (input/output) connector that allows the management subsystem to communicate with the operator thru an external UIOD (ubiquitous input/output device), such as a cell phone with the ability to run applications. The rich display and interface capabilities of the UIOD give it a distinct advantage over a simple set of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and a few buttons.

The idea described here allows the management subsystem to share an I/O connector with the system, without having to provide a dedicated port that takes up space and could be misconstrued as a system I/O port. The figure shows the arrangement between the system, service processor (management subsystem) and shared connection. The code running in the service processor has the ability to route USB traffic to the system or keep it for itself. By inspecting the USB packets the service processor can decide if the traffic is for it or for the main system when the main system is alive. Service processor settings manage default configurations and routings of the port.

Several additional features can be enabled by the us...