Patent Number: 6,311,217

Title: Method and apparatus for improved cluster administration

Abstract: A cluster administration system that is capable of handling a clusterhaving one or more computing devices. The number of computing devices thatmay be included in a cluster is limited only by practical considerationsrather than software or hardware limitations. A cluster administrationsystem may include a cluster of computing devices, one of the computingdevices being an owner. The cluster further includes a resource. Directaccess to the resource by the computing devices is controlled by the ownerof the cluster. The cluster administration system also includes anarbiter. The arbiter and the cluster are in communication with each otherand a network, the cluster providing the network with access to thestorage device. The arbiter controls the admission of new computingdevices to the cluster when the owner of the cluster is incapable ofadmitting the new computing device. Having the arbiter outside the clusterprovides greater reliability. The arbiter is not affected by failureswithin the cluster. One or more of the computing devices of the clustermay fail, but the administration of the cluster is not affected. Thefunctions of the arbiter may also be distributed among several independentcomputing devices which can hand off the primary duties of the arbitershould one or more of the independent computing devices fail tosatisfactorily perform the duties of arbitration.

Inventors: Ehlinger; Early David (Houston, TX), Fletcher; Mark F. (Houston, TX)


International Classification:

Expiration Date: 10/32013