MIS Alumni Profile
Michael E. Starling, BS '83
Michael S. Starling,
Senior Engineer Manager,
IBM Storage Technology Group
"My education at Eller - MIS
helpedme develop the skills and
confidence to use process controls
and advanced methodology to
approach complex tasks."
Congratulations to Michael as he and his co-inventors receive a patent for their new invention.
Method and Apparatus For Improved Storage Area Network Link Integrity Testing was co-developed with Louie Arthur Dickens, Olive Paige Faries, and David L. Binning.
Today's higher data rates and embedded clocks may result in greater susceptibility to link problems which include jitter and degrading bit error rate (BER) performance. Jitter is an unwanted variation of one or more signal characteristics in electronics and telecommunications. Jitter may be seen in characteristics such as the interval between successive pulses, or the amplitude, frequency, or phase of successive cycles.
The process of determining if jitter, signal integrity, or degrading bit error rates exist is very complex and requires a great deal of expertise in the area of electronics and signal analysis. Until Michael's patent, there was no way for one skilled in the art without complex equipment to determine if they have these problems.
Michael's invention uses a device that includes a Fibre Channel adapter card. The inventive device uses a device driver with a pass through mode and is configured to issue an echo extended link service with a payload of data patterns that are known in the art of fibre channel to produce jitter. The device may operate in several modes, including an automatic mode or a user select mode. In the automatic mode, the device is configured to send all possible random data patterns starting at 00 thru ff., using random frame sizes and random amounts of frames. In the user select mode, the user of the device may specify the data pattern or a range of data patterns to use, and how much data is to be sent in the echo extended link service. The device is configured to perform any setup required by the protocol in order to be able to send input and receive output. For example, the setup may include logins (fabric and port logins) and device discovery, as necessary.
The inventive device is configured to use the echo extended link service to send data with a specified data pattern. The data amount may be specified by a user or chosen randomly in the automatic mode. The data pattern may also be specified by the user or the data pattern may be sequential data patterns chosen by default in the automatic mode.
In an embodiment of the invention, failing data patterns are compared against data patterns that are known in the art of fibre channel to create jitter and the results may be presented to the user. In all modes, the end user may receive a report of success or failure and any other information that is applicable and available. [more]
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