|Publication number||USRE42703 E1|
|Application number||US 11/394,326|
|Publication date||Sep 13, 2011|
|Filing date||Mar 30, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 23, 2001|
|Also published as||US6715098, US20020133746, WO2002075543A1|
|Publication number||11394326, 394326, US RE42703 E1, US RE42703E1, US-E1-RE42703, USRE42703 E1, USRE42703E1|
|Inventors||Sheng-Wei Chen, Stephen Anthony McNulty|
|Original Assignee||Falconstor, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (51), Non-Patent Citations (59), Referenced by (5), Classifications (9), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/792,873, filed Feb. 23, 2001 now abandoned, entitled “Storage Area Network Using A Data Communication Protocol,” and is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/925,976, filed Aug. 9, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 7,093,127, entitled “System And Method For Computer Storage Security,” the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention concerns “port spoofing,” which allows a computer to “fail over” to its secondary fibrechannel connection if its primary fibrechannel connection should fail.
Fibrechannel is a network and channel communication technology that supports high-speed transmission of data between two points and is capable of supporting many different protocols such as SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) and IP (Internet Protocol). Computers, storage devices and other devices must contain a fibrechannel controller or host adapter in order to communicate via fibrechannel. Unlike standard SCSI cables, which can not extend more than 25 meters, fibrechannel cables can extend up to 10 km. The extreme cable lengths allow devices to be placed far apart from each other, making it ideal for use in disaster recovery planning. Many companies use the technology to connect their mass storage and backup devices to their servers and workstations.
In addition to being able to protect data through disaster recovery plans and backup, another requirement for a computer data communications network is that the storage devices must always be available for data storage and retrieval. This requirement is called “High Availability.” High Availability is a computer system configuration implemented with hardware and software such that, if a device fails, another device or system that can duplicate the functionality of the failed device will come on-line to take its place automatically and transparently. Users will not be aware that a failure and switch-over had taken place if the system is implemented properly. Many companies cannot afford to have downtime on their computer systems for any length of time. High availability is used to ensure that their computer systems remain running continuously in the event of any device failure. Servers, storage devices, network switches and network connections are redundant and cross-connected to achieve High Availability.
In the configuration of
The present invention is a system and method of achieving High Availability on fibrechannel data paths between an appliance's fibrechannel switch and its storage device by employing a technique called “port spoofing.” This system and method do not require any proprietary software to be executing on the file/application appliance other than the software normally required on an appliance, which includes the operating system software, the applications, and the vendor-supplied driver to manage its fibrechannel host adapter(s).
The invention includes a system for appliance back-up, in which a primary appliance is coupled to a network, whereby the primary appliance receives requests or commands and sends a status message over the network to a standby appliance, which indicates that the primary appliance is operational. If the standby appliance does not receive the status message or the status message is invalid, the standby appliance writes a shutdown message to a storage device, which is also coupled to the network. The primary appliance then reads the shutdown message stored in the storage device and disables itself from processing requests or commands. Preferably, when the primary appliance completes these tasks, it disables communication connections and writes a shutdown completion message to the storage device. The standby appliance reads the shutdown completion message from the storage device and initiates a start-up procedure, which includes causing the address of the standby appliance to be identical to the primary appliance address and processing the requests or commands in place of the primary appliance. The primary appliance can include a fibrechannel adapter having associated therewith the primary appliance address, and the standby appliance can have a fibrechannel adapter having associated therewith the standby appliance address. The standby appliance can include a standby application, which is identical to a primary application in the primary appliance, for processing the requests or commands.
The invention also includes a method for appliance backup, which includes sending a status message from a primary appliance to a standby appliance indicating that the primary appliance is operational. If the standby appliance does not receive the status message or the status message is invalid, a shutdown message is written to a storage device. The primary appliance reads the shutdown message stored in the storage device and is disabled from processing requests or commands. The disabling of the primary appliance can include completing tasks, disabling communication connections, and writing a shutdown completion message to the storage device. The standby appliance reads the shutdown completion message from the storage device and initiates a start-up procedure so that a standby application, included in the standby appliance, can process the requests or commands. A standby appliance address is changed to the primary appliance address and the standby appliance processes the requests or commands.
Another method for appliance back-up is disclosed which includes monitoring a primary appliance for an indication of a failure, the primary appliance having a primary appliance address. If the failure occurs, a message is written to a storage device and, in response, the primary appliance is disabled from processing requests or commands. The failure can be the primary appliance not sending the status message to a standby appliance. The standby appliance has a standby appliance address, which is changed to the primary appliance address so the standby appliance can processes the requests or commands. The standby appliance address and the primary appliance address are world wide port names. The monitoring can include sending a status message to the standby appliance indicating that the primary appliance is operational, or sending a status request message to the primary appliance and receiving an update status message from the primary appliance. The failure message is written if the standby appliance does not receive the status message or if the status message is invalid. Alternatively, the message is written if the standby appliance does not receive the update status message or the update status message is invalid. The disabling can include completing tasks, disabling communication connections, writing a shutdown completion message to the storage device (by the primary appliance), reading the shutdown completion message from the storage device (by the standby appliance), and initiating a start-up procedure. The standby appliance can include a standby application, which is identical to a primary application in the primary appliance, for processing the requests or commands.
One of the primary advantages of the present invention is that additional software is not required to be running on the file/application server. Many system administrators prefer to only install the software that is necessary to run their file/application servers. Many other solutions require special software or drivers to run on the server in order to manage the fail-over procedure.
These and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which:
The present invention is based on a software platform that creates a storage area network (“SAN”) for file and application servers to access their data from a centralized location. A virtualized storage environment is created and file/application servers can access its data through a communication protocol such as Ethernet/IP, fibrechannel, or any other communication protocol that provides high-speed data transmissions. Fibrechannel is the protocol that will be discussed herein, although it is understood that the other previously mentioned communication protocols are also within the scope of the present invention.
As mentioned before, computers, storage devices and other devices contain a fibrechannel (FC) controller or host adapter in order to communicate via fibrechannel. In the present invention, FC hubs/switches are used to connect file/application servers to servers that manage the storage devices. Storage devices can be RAID (redundant array of independent disks) subsystems, JBODs Just a bunch of disks), or tape backup devices, for example. An FC switch allows a server with a fibrechannel host adapter to communicate with one or more fibrechannel devices. Without a hub or switch, only a point-to-point or direct connection can be created, allowing only one server to communicate with only one device. “Switch” thus refers to either a fibrechannel hub or switch.
Fibrechannel adapters are connected together by fiber or copper wire via their FC port(s). Each port is assigned a unique address called a WWPN or “world wide port name.” The WWPN is a unique 64-bit identifier assigned by the hardware manufacturer and is used to establish the source and destination between which data will travel. Therefore, when an FC device communicates with another FC device, the initiating FC device, or “originator,” must use the second FC device's WWPN to locate the device and establish the communication link.
Fibrechannel devices that are connected together by an FC switch communicate on a “fabric.” If a hub is employed, then the communication link is called a “loop.” On a fabric, devices receive the full bandwidth when they are communicating with each other, and on a loop the bandwidth is shared.
Although the manufacturers assign WWPN addresses, the addresses are not permanently fixed to the hardware. The addresses can be changed. Software can programmatically change the WWPN addresses on the fibrechannel hardware. The present invention employs this feature by changing the WWPN address on a standby FC adapter to the WWPN address used by the failed FC adapter.
The present invention employs storage management software that is capable of running within any kind of computing device that has at least one CPU and is running an operating system. Examples of such computing devices are an Intel®-based PC, a Sun® Microsystems Unix® server, an HP® Unix® server, an IBM® Unix® server or embedded systems (collectively referred to as “appliances”). The software performs the writing, reading, management and protection of data from its file/application servers and workstations, and is disclosed with more specificity in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/792,873, filed Feb. 23, 2001, the disclosure of which has already been expressly incorporated herein by reference. One of the protection features of the software is the ability to “fail over” to another appliance if a set of defined failures occurs. The failures are defined and discussed in the following paragraphs.
More specifically, the present invention creates a transparent secondary path for data to flow in the event that a primary data path to a storage device or storage server managing the primary path fails for any reason. The secondary path is a backup communication link to the same storage device. Each computer contains at least one FC host adapter connected to one FC switch. This operation is shown in
This standby appliance 530 can be implemented strictly as a fail-over appliance for one or more primary appliances. If its only function is to standby, then standby appliance 530 must wait for one of the primary appliances to fail so that it can become data active. If a standby appliance 530 is a fail-over appliance for more than one primary appliance 525, then it must contain one dedicated standby FC adapter 517 for each primary appliance 525, and it must have a dedicated connection to each storage device 550 that it might need to manage. Standby appliance 530 itself can also be a primary appliance to its own set of SAN clients and storage devices 550. The operations of being both a primary and standby appliance are multitasked.
Standby appliance 530 monitors the status or the “health” of its primary appliance 525 through a communications link called the health monitor link 535. Messages called “fail-over heartbeats” are sent from standby appliance 530 to primary appliance 525, and if the messages are properly acknowledged the status of primary appliance 525 is acceptable. A “heartbeat” system is disclosed with more specificity in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/925,976, filed Aug. 9, 2001, entitled “System And Method For Computer Storage Security,” the disclosure of which has already been expressly incorporated herein by reference. If the heartbeat is not properly acknowledged or not acknowledged at all, then standby appliance 530 will begin the procedure for taking over the tasks of primary appliance 525. The heartbeat can also be implemented such that the heartbeat is sent from primary appliance 525 to standby appliance 530; this simply is a choice based on the software's architecture and ease of implementation. If a standby appliance 530 is a fail-over appliance for multiple primaries, the communications link can be configured to be shared among all primary appliances 525 or one dedicated communications link can be connected from each primary appliance 525 to standby appliance 530. The communications link can be any type of medium or protocol such as, for example, an Ethernet IP connection, a fibrechannel connection or a serial connection. It is also possible that the health monitor can also function from standby FC adapter 517 along standby path 520 to monitor the status of the primary appliance.
The health monitor link 535 performs several tasks:
Standby appliance 530 also takes over its primary appliance's tasks if health monitor link 535 is broken or the heartbeat is not acknowledged. Health monitor link 535 may be broken due to a cut cable or “accidental” removal. The heartbeat may not be acknowledged because primary appliance 525 loses power, crashes, or incurs another similar event. Although a broken link 535 does not affect the ability of primary appliance 525 to perform its tasks, primary appliance 525 will be regarded as a failed appliance nonetheless, and standby appliance 530 will take steps to begin to take over the tasks from primary appliance 525. Since standby appliance cannot communicate to primary appliance 525 to shut itself down, a backup method is used to pass on the shutdown signal.
If primary appliance 605 initially becomes inoperative because of loss of power, system crash, or some other catastrophic event, standby appliance 610 writes its shutdown message to the common file 625 with the assumption that primary appliance 605 may still be active. Standby appliance 610 functions in this manner because it cannot be assumed that primary appliance 605 is totally inoperative. A predetermined time interval is given by standby appliance 610 for primary appliance 605 to respond to the shutdown message, and if the shutdown message is not acknowledged standby appliance 610 begins its procedures to become active to take over the tasks of the failed primary appliance 605. Standby appliance 610 monitors the common file 625 for the shutdown acknowledgement message, and as soon as this message is received standby appliance 610 waits for the shutdown completion message.
Blocks 720 through 760 detail the steps employed by standby appliance 610. At block 720, standby appliance 610 detects the lack of a response from the health monitor link. In step 725, standby appliance 610 next writes the shutdown message to common file 625. The program proceeds to blocks 730 and 740 to wait for a shutdown acknowledgment message from primary appliance 605. Block 730, which queries whether the shutdown acknowledgment message has been received from primary appliance 605. If the answer is “NO,” the program proceeds to decision block 740, which queries whether the predetermined time period has expired. If the answer at decision block 740 is “NO,” the program loops back to block 730. If the answer at decision block 740 is “YES,” the program proceeds to block 760 where standby appliance 610 begins procedures to become active and to take over the tasks of primary appliance 605. Returning to decision block 730, if the answer to the query is “YES,” the program proceeds to blocks 750 and 755 where standby appliance 610 waits for the shutdown completion message from primary appliance 605. In decision block 750, the program queries whether the shutdown completion message has been received from primary appliance 605. If the answer is “NO,” the program proceeds to decision block 755, which queries whether the predetermined time period has expired. If the answer at decision block 755 is “NO,” the program loops back to block 750. If the answer at decision block 755 is “YES,” the program proceeds to block 760 where standby appliance 610 begins procedures to become active and to take over the tasks of primary appliance 605. Returning to decision block 750, if the answer to the query is “YES,” the program again proceeds to decision block 760, as discussed immediately above.
After the shutdown completion message is received or after the time has expired waiting for the shutdown acknowledgement or completion messages, the standby appliance begins its procedures to become active. From
A flowchart in
Once the WWPN address is programmed into standby FC adapter 517, SAN client 500 will not be aware of the change in appliances. Standby appliance 530 will now receive all the data traffic that was bound for failed primary appliance 525. When a standby appliance is a fail-over appliance for one or more than one primary appliances, a table is kept to store and keep track of the information needed to emulate the primary appliances, which includes the WWPN addresses.
The technology of the present invention is not limited to one standby appliance that can act as a fail-over to a set of primary appliances. As illustrated in
It should be understood by those skilled in the art that the present description is provided only by way of illustrative example and should in no manner be construed to limit the invention as described herein. Numerous modifications and alternate embodiments of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention be limited only in terms of the following claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US9088609 *||Dec 24, 2009||Jul 21, 2015||International Business Machines Corporation||Logical partition media access control impostor detector|
|US9130987 *||May 8, 2012||Sep 8, 2015||International Business Machines Corporation||Logical partition media access control impostor detector|
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|International Classification||G06F11/00, H04L9/00, G06F11/16|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F11/2033, G06F11/2046, G06F11/2028|
|European Classification||G06F11/20P12, G06F11/20P2E|
|Sep 23, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
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|Aug 25, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
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