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Method of prioritizing adapters in BIOS menus based on link connections

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000179949D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Mar-03
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Mar-03
Document File: 5 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue



This disclosure presents a method of prioritizing the listings of network adapters in the BIOS or SMS menus based on the determination of a link presence on the adapter. In large systems, such as high end servers, or systems with a significant number of adapters, this will reduce the overhead and present users with a robust method to identify which network adapters have an active link to a network.

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Method of prioritizing adapters in BIOS menus based on link connections

This disclosure presents a method to prioritize the adapters in BIOS/SMS menus based on adapters that have a link available.

In high end server systems like HE or IH, there can be many network adapters present in a full resource or individual logical partition. When these adapters are presented to the user in Service Management Service (SMS) or BIOS menus, it is not possible from the menus to determine the network adapters that have an actual link associated with them. In order to determine if there is a link on a particular adapter, the user needs to physically check the cabling, or run a ping test on each adapter. Alternatively, if the user is familiar with the location code of the adapter, they can use that to determine if the adapter has been connected to a network. Each of these methods either take a huge amount of time, or require prior knowledge of the hardware location codes. Also, if the network cable is moved to another adapter, the user then needs to re-run ping tests or manually go and check to find the newly connected adapter.

During partition IPL the code scans the device tree for devices that match the type specified - network, cdrom, disk, etc. At the end of this ipl probe, a linked list of all the possible devices is obtained. In the current SMS menus, there are multiple locations that the network adapters are presented to the user. The network adapters appear in the set up of remote IPL menu, and also in the boot menus. In each case, the device tree is traversed to obtain the information on the adapter. Currently, the adapters are presented in the menus as they are found in the device tree. By modifying the traversal of the device tree, and applying prioritization to the adapters with a link, those adapters that have a link can be obtained first and presented in each menu at the top.

To account for changes that may take place if a cable is removed or added, a stub method will be added to the traversal of the device tree to run a short initialization on those adapters that do not dynamically update when a link is available or removed. This stub method would initialize those adapters like King to determine the presence of a link.

Below is a simplified example of how this prioritization would work. Data is from an IH system with 4 adapters, with the assumption that adapters 2 and 4 have a link on them.

Partial Device Tree from an IH system

000000f73728: /pci@800000020000232
000000f7dc28: /pci@2,6
00000128ad58: /scsi@1
000001291ee0: /sd
0000012938f8: /st
000000f87278: /pci@2
000000f90a18: /pci@2,2
0000012954e8: /usb@1
0000012b24f0: /hub@1
0000012b3b50: /usb@1,1
0000012d0b58: /hub@1
0000012d2198: /usb@1,2
0000012d2b58: /hub@1


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000000f9a1b8: /pci@2,4
000000fa3958: /pci@800000020000278
000000fade60: /pci@2,4
0000012d3ab8: /scsi@1
0000012dac40: /sd
0000012dc658: /st
000000fb74b0: /pci@2