US 20080134200 A1
Hot deployable video management modules maintain a video device management platform by integrating independently developed support for new or updated video devices at runtime. A video device module loader builds a management interface for the new or updated video device associated with the management module based on attributes and operations of the video device defined by an XML descriptor and based on access instructions. The management interface is used to create a video device instance in the management platform for each video device under management. The management platform manages a variety of different types of video devices with a video device management module added as a given video device is added to the management platform or an already managed video device is updated.
1. A system for managing video devices through a network, the system comprising:
a video device management platform having plural video device instances, the video device instances operable to communicate through the network with video devices under management;
a video device management module having a video device description and device specific access information; and
a video device module loader interfaced with the video device management module and operable to detect the addition of a video device to the network and to generate a video device instance for the added video device from the video device description and device specific access information.
The present continuation application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 to application Ser. No. 10/212,400, filed on Aug. 5, 2002, which is incorporated herein by reference. This application is also related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/919,538, entitled “System and Method for Managing Video Network Devices” filed on Jul. 31, 2001, and incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates in general to the field of video conferencing, and more particularly to a method and system for managing video devices.
2. Description of the Related Art
Video conferencing devices have improved in both the quality of communication provided between the parties of a video conference and in reduced complexity of video devices to configure and initiate a video call. A number of manufacturers produce many disparate types of video devices that are generally capable of interaction with each other in video conference calls but are typically controlled and managed by a variety of protocols and proprietary management applications. Thus, one type of video endpoint sold by one manufacturer typically interacts in a video call with a different type of video endpoint sold by a different manufacturer in a transparent manner as long as both manufacturers comply with industry standards such as H.320 or H.323. However, the two different types of video endpoints are typically managed with different types of management applications and communication protocols. Further, other video devices, such as gateways, gatekeepers and MCUs, are each typically included in a video network and are also manufactured by a variety of producers with different types of management applications and protocols. If a video network, such as a network owned by a business, includes many different types of devices, then administration of the network can be quite complex and use a number of different types of protocols, applications and interfaces for managing the different types of video devices.
One solution developed by Forgent Corporation for managing disparate video devices is to use a common management platform that provides access to disparate video devices through a common interface. The common management platform interacts with management applications through a uniform or standard protocol and then translates application requests for data or operations into device specific protocols in a manner that makes management of disparate devices transparent to a video network administrator. A difficulty with using a common management platform is that different types of video devices from a variety of manufacturers are frequently introduced to the market. Further, existing video devices are often updated with new features and functions. Thus, keeping a common management platform up to date with support for new and updated video devices is a difficult task both in tracking new releases by a variety of manufacturers and in the incorporation of support for new releases in the common management platform. For instance, updating software on a common management platform may take an extended time to develop, test and deploy. Constantly building new and updated video device support in attempt to keep up with new video devices and changes in existing video devices may leave common management platforms perpetually behind.
Therefore a need has arisen for a method and system which provides a framework for maintaining a common video device management platform's ability to support new and updated video devices.
A further need exists for a method and system which detects a new or updated video device and automatically updates the common video device management platform to support new or updated video devices.
In accordance with the present invention, a method and system are provided which substantially reduce the disadvantages and problems associated with previous methods and systems for managing disparate types of video devices. A video device management framework updates a video device management platform to provide support for new or updated video devices by deploying a video device management module with information to build a management interface for the management platform to support the new or updated video device.
More specifically, the video device management module is independently developed to define attributes and operation for an associated video device and is hot deployed to integrate with an active video device management platform. For instance, a management module includes an XML descriptor and one or more device specific access modules. The descriptor identifies attributes and operations of the video device and accessors from the device specific access module or other standard access modules that support access to the attributes and operations. The device specific access module includes any custom instructions specific to the device to provide access to attributes or operations of the device. A video device module loader detects the deployment of a management module and parses the XML descriptor to build a management interface for the video device associated with the management module. If a video device of that type is detected as interfaced with the video device management platform, the module loader copies the management interface to a video device instance to support interaction of the video device with video device management platform. Applications, such as management applications that schedule and configure the video device for video calls, interact with the video device through the video device instance of the management platform.
The present invention provides a number of important technical advantages. One example of an important technical advantage is that it provides a framework for maintaining a video device management platform's ability to support new and updated video devices. As a new video device or an update to an existing video device is released, a video device management module is defined for the new device or update. The module provides the information and access instructions for the management platform to build an interface and add a video device instance for the new or updated video device. Thus, a management platform is more easily kept up to date without having to prepare a new release or patch to the management platform by simply adding a management module for each video device that the management platform should support.
Another example of an important technical advantage of the present invention is that it detects a new or updated video device and automatically updates the video device management platform to support new or updated video devices. Video device management modules are hot deployed to an active management platform without shutting down the platform. The video device module loader builds a management interface to support interaction by the management platform with the video device that is associated with the management module and provides the management interface to the platform for insertion into a video device instance. Since the management interface is maintained by the module loader, new or updated video devices detected by the management platform are promptly supported with an appropriate video instance.
The present invention may be better understood, and its numerous objects, features and advantages made apparent to those skilled in the art by referencing the accompanying drawings. The use of the same reference number throughout the several figures designates a like or similar element.
Management of disparate types of video devices through a single platform reduces the complexity of operating a video network by focusing video device management through a common interface. However, the addition of new types of video devices to a video network or the addition of updates to existing types of video devices are difficult to track so that the management platform stays current with the video devices that it manages. In order to aid in keeping a video device management platform current, the present invention provides a management framework that detects added device types or updated device features for existing device types and hot deploys support for the added device or feature without interrupting operations of the management platform. The video device platform management framework accepts added device support for a video device as an independently-developed video device management module and integrates the added support to the management platform at runtime. For each video device added to a management platform, an associated video device management module provides the information needed to build an interface with the video device.
Referring now to
Video device platform management framework 12 interfaces with video device management platform 10 to provide a framework for maintaining video device instances 16 to support added video devices 18 or added features. Video device platform management framework 12 provides runtime updates to video device management platform 10 with video device instances 16 having the added device support, thus reducing the complexity of adding support for added devices and features and avoiding video service shutdowns. A video device module loader 20 monitors video device platform management framework 12 to detect the addition of a video device management module 22. Upon detection of an added video device management module 22, video device module loader 20 uses information provided by video device management module 22 to build a management interface for a video device type associated with the detected video device management module 22 and stores the management interface in a loaded modules list 24. When a new video device 18 of that type is detected as interfaced with video device management platform 10, video device module loader 20 copies the management interface from loaded modules list 24 to create a video device instance 16 for the detected device and adds the device to the loaded devices list 26.
Video device management modules 22 are independently developed modules that interface with video device module loader 20 and provide information for supporting added video devices and features. Video device management modules 22 are written as independent modules for each type of video device so that insertion of a video device management module 22 to the video device platform management framework 12 does not interrupt the operations of video device management platform 10. Video device management module 22 includes information for an identified video device type to interface with video device management platform 10. An XML descriptor 28 describes the interface of the video device type associated with the video device management module, including the attributes available on the video device type and operations available on the video device type. Device specific access modules 30 include custom instructions for the video device type to allow access to attributes or perform operations for video devices of that type.
Video device module loader 20 builds management interfaces for a video device of the type associated with a video device management module by parsing XML descriptor 28 and including instructions for accessing the video device from device specific access modules 30. In addition, video device module loader 20 may incorporate standard device access instructions using standard protocols taken from standard access modules, such as SNMP access module 32 or HTTP access module 34.
Video device management modules 22 are added to video device platform management framework 12 as desired to add support to video device management platform 10 for new video devices or for new features for existing video devices. For instance, to define a video device management module 22 with an attribute to report connection status and another attribute to report jitter, the type of interface for each attribute is determined. As an example, connection status may be supported by a standard interface such as SNMP, thus allowing the video device management module to use SNMP access module 32 to define access instructions for the connection status. As a further example, the endpoint may need a custom interface for video jitter so that a device specific access module 30 is written to support reporting of jitter. Thus, attributes for reading and writing jitter are implemented so that the AttributeReadAccessor and the AttributeWriteAccessor each define a method to interface values with the video endpoint based on the values defined by XML descriptor 28.
Referring now to
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Once a video device instance 16 exists for endpoint X, the process continues to step 62 at which video device management platform 10 calls a get function to the video device instance for endpoint X to request the connection status attribute. At step 64, the management interface of the video device instance 16 for endpoint X determines the accessor corresponds to the connection status attribute and, at step 66, calls the accessor method to get the connection status. At step 68, the accessor communicates with the device according the protocol of the accessor method and obtains the requested value to return to the server at step 70 and then to the application 14 at step 72 for appropriate action. For instance, in the example described above, the accessor method obtains connection status with SNMP protocol.
Although the present invention has been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made hereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.