Generated by Dot Hill's AssuredSnap snapshot software, which is part of the company's Data Management Services (DMS) suite, snapshots are versatile and useful tools for backup and data recovery operations. By reducing the number of operations required to access snapshot metadata, the invention disclosed in Dot Hill's 97th US patent, numbered 8,751,467, improves storage controller performance when using data snapshots, which can result in faster system recovery.
Abstract of the patent Method and apparatus for quickly accessing backing store metadata: "A method, device, and system are provided for accessing metadata in a data storage system. More specifically, a requesting application requests a cache application to allocate a cache page to retrieve metadata from a storage device. After metadata is written to the cache page, the cache page is locked by the requesting application. The cache page is maintained in a locked state by the requesting application. This allows the data stored within the cache page to be quickly accessed and updated by the requesting application without waiting for the cache page to be written back to the storage device after every update to the cache page occurs."
Traditionally, when an application on a storage controller wants to access snapshot data from a storage system, the application first needs to retrieve the storage device's snapshot metadata. The status quo approach of accessing metadata is inefficient since it involves multiple steps of copying cache pages. Using Dot Hill's patented approach the application can use the cache page address to access the metadata. A second application is allowed to access the cache page and can also update the metadata in this approach. After the application finishes its update, cache pages are mirrored to the remote system and written back to the appropriate storage devices. This patented approach streamlines the data recovery process.
"Our customers run demanding applications that require high-performance storage with rock-solid reliability," said Ken Day, CTO, Dot Hill. "Besides providing 99.999% data availability in all our AssuredSAN storage systems, we never stop innovating to set ourselves apart from the competition. Dot Hill's growing patent portfolio is a reflection of a world-class engineering team that develops highly differentiated storage solutions."