Means To Uniquely Identify Systems That Use Common Electronic Building Blocks
Original Publication Date: 2000-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Current system development is such that planar boards are shared between various system types. This causes a problem for management applications that use a unique system identifier to determine which type of machine is being managed and the associated functions. An example of this problem is in the server arena, where it is common practice to take a planar board developed as a high end desktop system and place it in server mechanicals and add adapters like RAID and service processor. The problem arises when a program like Netfinity director queries the unique identifier of the system, it comes back as a desktop machine so the management application will manage it like a desktop (draw desktop GUI's etc..). However, it is actually a server and requires different type of management. Also, the FRU for the box is common with the FRU for the desktop so any means of changing the unique identifier in the machine when it is manufactured as a system will not prevent a new FRU from being placed in the server mechanical in the field and it again looking like a desktop machine to the management application. The reason this problem exists today is that the system unique identifier for the model and submodel of the system resides in Non-Volatile memory on the planar board, which is the part that is being replaced. The design disclosed here is a means in which this information can be unique to the server or to the desktop machine. The design requires that the system unique identifier and model information be stored in a piece of Non-Volatile memory that is actually attached to the mechanical housing of the computer. It is less likely that the mechanicals change in the field and even if they do, they are not shared between desktop and server type machines. A design is needed that incorporates storing a piece of Non Volatile memory, typically an EEPROM, on the mechanical housing of the system. The Non-Volatile memory could house the system unique serial number, the machine Model Type information, as well as the UUID of the system. The Non-Volatile memory can be attached electrically to the planar board of the system by using a simple bus protocol like I2C along with power and ground. This type of design minimizes the cabling required to this memory.