1 DATA STORAGE DEVICES HAVING IP CAPABLE PARTITIONS
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/425,867 Nov. 12, 2002 incorporated 5 herein by reference in its entirety.
The field of the invention is data storage devices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
There is a trend within the field of electronics to physically (i.e. geographically) disaggregate functionality, and to rely instead on networked resources. Of special interest are resources available over a packet communications network such as the Internet. In addition to the data being transferred, packets include header information such as type of data contained in the packet, i.e. HTML, voice, ASCII, etc., and origination and destination node information. The header information permits error checking, and routing across packet switched networks such as the Internet between devices that may be widely spaced apart. The header information also allows extremely disparate devices to communicate with each otherisuch as a clock radio to communicate with a computer. Recently published U.S. patent application no. 20020031086, (Welin, Mar. 14, 2002) refers to linking “computers, IP phones, talking toys and home appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, bread machines, blenders, coffee makers, laundry machines, dryers, sweepers, thennostat assemblies, light switches, lamps, fans, drape and window shade motor controls, surveillance equipment, traflic monitoring, clocks, radios, network cameras, televisions, digital telephone answering devices, air conditioners, furnaces and central air conditioning apparatus.”
Communications with storage devices has not kept pace with the trend to disaggregate resources. Disk access has always been under the control of a disk operating system such as DOS, or Microsoft® Windows®. Unfortunately, putting the operating system at the conceptual center of all computing devices has resulted in a dependence on such operating systems, and has tended to produce ever larger and more complicated operating systems. Now that many electronic devices, from personal digital assistants to telephones, digital cameras, and game consoles, are becoming smaller and ever more portable, the dependence on large operating systems has become a liability. One solution is to provide a stripped-down operating system that requires much less overhead. Microsoft® CE® is an example. That solution, however, sacrifices considerable functionality present in the larger systems.
What is needed is a storage device that can be directly accessed by multiple other devices, without the need to go through an operating system.
Preferred storage devices support spanning between or among partitions of the same device, as well as between or among different storage devices. Both multicast and proxy spanning are contemplated.
Combinations of the inventive storage devices with each other, and with prior art storage devices are contemplated, in all manner of mirroring and other arrangements.
In still other aspects of the invention, a given storage device can comprise one or more types of media, including any combination of rotating and non-rotating media, magnetic and optical, and so forth.
Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the inventive subject matter will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawing figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a schematic of a prior art disk drive split into multiple partitions, but where the entire memory is accessed using a single IP address.
FIG. 2 is a schematic of a prior art storage system in which three disk drives are addressed in their entireties using three different IP addresses.
FIG. 3 is a schematic of a storage device having multiple partitions that are separately addressed by different IP addresses.
FIG. 4 is a schematic of a storage device having multiple partitions that are separately addressed by different IP addresses, and some of the partitions are addressed using multiple IP addresses.
FIG. 5 is a schematic of a storage device having multiple partitions comprising different storage media.
FIG. 6 is a schematic of a storage device having multiple partitions, two of which are spanned using multicast spanning.
FIG. 7 is a schematic of a storage device having multiple partitions, two of which are spanned using proxy spanning.
FIG. 8 is a schematic of a storage system in which three storage devices are logically coupled using multicast spanning.
FIG. 9 is a schematic of a storage system in which three storage devices are logically coupled using proxy spanning.
FIG. 10 is a schematic of a storage system in which partitions of a first storage device are mirrored on partitions of one or more additional storage device using multicast mirroring.
Prior art FIG. 1 generally depicts a disk drive 10 that is split into multiple partitions 10 A, 10 B, 10C . . . 10N. The entire storage area is addressed using a single address IP 1, with individual blocks of data being addressed by a combination of IP1 and some other information such as partition and offset, or Logical Block Address (LBA). The data is thus always accessed under the control of a disk operating system that provides the additional information. For that reason drive 10 is usually located very close to the processor that runs the operating system, and is usually connected to a hard bus of a computer, RAID or other system.
It is known to format the various partitions 10A . . . 10N differently from one another, under control of different operating systems. However, the entire memory space comprises a single media type, namely rotating magnetic memory, even though there may be some sort of RAM buffer (not shown).