(51) Int Cl.: H04L 29/06 ( ) G06F 9/445 ( ) G06F 13/00 ( )

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1 (19) TEPZZ_7486_6B_T (11) EP B1 (12) EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION (4) Date of publication and mention of the grant of the patent: Bulletin 2014/36 (1) Int Cl.: H04L 29/06 ( ) G06F 9/44 ( ) G06F 13/00 ( ) (21) Application number: (22) Date of filing: (4) Network-attached storage device having a connection to a local device Netzwerkangehängtes Speicherungsgerät mit Verbindung zu einem lokalen Benutzergerät Dispositif d emmagasinement attaché à un réseau, ayant une connexion à un dispositif local (84) Designated Contracting States: DE FR GB (30) Priority: US (43) Date of publication of application: Bulletin 2007/0 (73) Proprietor: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. Houston, TX (US) (72) Inventors: Szolyga, Thomas H., c/o Hewlett-Packard Co. Cupertino, CA 9014 (US) Mc Cullough, Mike, c/o Hewlett-Packard Co. Cupertino, CA 9014 (US) (74) Representative: Zimmermann, Tankred Klaus et al Schoppe, Zimmermann Stöckeler & Zinkler & Partner Patentanwälte Postfach Pullach bei München (DE) (6) References cited: DE-A US-A EP B1 Note: Within nine months of the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to that patent, in accordance with the Implementing Regulations. Notice of opposition shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention). Printed by Jouve, 7001 PARIS (FR)

2 1 EP B1 2 Description FIELD OF INVENTION [0001] The present invention relates to network technology, and in particular, to a network-attached storage (NAS) device configured to enable direct transfer of data to and from a local user device outside the network. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] Network-attached storage (NAS) devices are widely used in a network environment for storing data from, and sharing data with, network devices in the network. Typically, NAS devices include one or more disk drives for storing data to be used in the network. The connections or interface between NAS devices and the network is typically through Ethernet. Current implementations of NAS devices rely on the speed of the network interface to load and off-load potentially large amounts of user data. This requires the user device such as a computer connected to the network that is loading the NAS device with data, to remain turned on and execute the transfer application. When the user device is performing the transfer of large amounts of data (e.g., as when initially loading the NAS device) this process can take an unacceptably long time. For example, in a NAS device with a LAN interface having a speed of approximately 0 Mbps, the transfer time of a 20 GB data size could take as long as fourteen hours. In the consumer space, for example, waiting such a long time is unacceptable, and the consumer would likely decide the system is not operational. US-A-2003/ discloses a distributed computing network comprising several clients connected to a network. Several storage devices are connectable through a NAS control unit to the network. [0003] DE-A discloses a device for connecting a data storage device to a network. The device includes a data device interface and a network interface. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0004] The preferred embodiment of the present invention is directed to a network-attached storage apparatus which is configured to be in communication with a local device. The apparatus includes storage devices for storing data, one interface for establishing communication with the network and another interface for establishing communication with the local device. A processor enables the interfaces to alternatively establish communication with the local device or the network. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [000] FIGURE 1 is a block diagram of a network-attached storage device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a local device interface in the network-attached storage device shown in FIG. 1; and, FIG. 3 is a flowchart describing a connection process between a local device and the network-attached storage device. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0006] Broadly stated, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is directed to a network-attached storage (NAS) device for storing data shared by a network to which the NAS device is connected. The NAS device includes a local device interface, in addition to a network interface, for enabling direct connection, i.e., without going through the network, between the local device and the NAS device. The local device interface communicates with the local device through a high-speed bus connection (such as a USB 2.0 bus or an IEEE 1394 bus) that enables significantly faster transfer of large amounts of data to and from the NAS device, than through the connections (such as Ethernet) that are used between the network and the NAS device. The present invention is advantageous especially when initially loading the NAS device with a large amount of data, or any time a faster data transfer is desired. [0007] Turning now to FIGURE 1, a network-attached storage (NAS) device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention includes an NAS controller 12 and a number of storage devices 14 (three shown in the figure). The NAS device is configured to be in communication with a network 16, a local device 18 such as a PC or a workstation, and a peripheral device 20 such as a print server. [0008] The NAS controller 12 includes a network interface 22 for enabling connection with and transferring data to and from the network 16, and a local device interface 24 which enables transfer of data to and from the local device 18. A storage device interface 26 is configured to be in communication with the storage devices 14 for obtaining status information of the storage devices and facilitating data transfer between the storage devices 14 and the network 16 or the local device 18. A local peripheral interface 28 enables transfer of data to and from the network 16 or the local device 18 to the peripheral device 20. A NAS processor 30 overseas the overall operations of the NAS controller 12 and coordinates functions between various components 22, 24, 26, 28 of the NAS controller described above. A memory 31 is provided to store the necessary programs for enabling the NAS processor 30 to perform its functions. [0009] The NAS controller 12 also organizes the data in the storage devices 14 in several ways. These include but are not limited to JBOD (just a bunch of discs), RAID 0 (striping data across multiple storage devices to achieve higher capacity and/or performance), RAID 1 (mirroring data across multiple storage devices to 2

3 3 EP B1 4 achieve full redundancy and higher data integrity), and RAID (a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1). [00] Referring to FIG. 2, the local device interface 24 of the NAS controller 12 includes an interface 32 for establishing a connection and enabling communication with the local device 18. A processor interface 34 is provided for enabling the local device interface 24 to communicate with the NAS processor 30. A controller 36 controls the functions of the two interfaces 32, 34 to allow transfer of data between the local device 18 and the NAS controller 12, in accordance with a program embedded in a firmware 38. The connection between the interface 32 and the local device 18 is made through a high-speed bus 39 such as USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394, and the connection between the interface 34 and the NAS processor 30 may also be through a bus 41 such as PCI or PCI-Express, which are typically used in NAS controllers utilized in NAS devices. [0011] Referring now to FIG. 3, an operation for establishing a communication between the local device 18 and the NAS device is described. When the local device 18 is not connected to the NAS device, the NAS controller 12 functions as if the local device interface 24 is not present. In other words, the NAS controller 12 performs the typical functions with respect to the network 16, for example, transferring data between the network 16 and the storage devices 14, or transferring data from the network to the local peripheral device 20. [0012] When the local device 18 makes a physical connection with the local device interface 24, as when a bus 39 is plugged into the interface 32 of the local device interface (block 40), the controller 36 of the local device interface establishes a communication with the local device using USB 2.0 data transfer protocol, for example (block 42). The controller 36 then informs the NAS processor 30 of the connection between the NAS device and the local device 18 (block 44) via the processor interface 34. [0013] Upon receiving information that the local device 18 has been connected to the NAS device, the NAS processor 30 terminates communication with the network 16 (block 46), and provides information on the status of the storage devices 14 to the local device 18 (via the processor interface 34, the controller 36 and the interface 32) based on the information obtained from the storage device interface 26 (block 48). The status of the storage devices 14 might be information such as, for example, the capacity of the storage devices, the file structure of the storage devices, a fact table, or an NTFS table. In other words, the information enables the local device 18 to know the type of storage devices 14 that are available and their capacity. It should be appreciated that by providing information regarding the storage devices 14 to the local device 18 in this manner, the local device treats the storage devices 14 as being connected directly to the local device. The NAS device then transfers data between the local device 18 and the storage devices 14 (block 0) [0014] In one embodiment, the transfer of data between the local device 18 and the storage devices 14 is similar to a transfer of data between a computer and external disk drives. The local device 18 would see the local device interface 24 as a disk controller, and send packets of command and/or data as well as receive status and/or data to and from the local device interface 24. The NAS processor 30 in conjunction with a control program stored in the local memory 31 interprets these packets and executes a plurality of operations within itself and with the storage devices 14. The operations performed by the NAS processor 30 include, but are not limited to, RAID partitioning of the data, management of the data layout table (not shown) in the storage devices 14, allocation of blocks of storage in the storage devices 14 and creation of status packets of information to return to the local device 18. The operations with the storage devices 14 include, but are not limited to, obtaining storage device status, positioning the data to a specific read or write location in the storage devices, and transferring data to the storage devices. [001] Referring back to FIG. 1, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a switch 2 is connected to the NAS controller 12. Switch 2 has a network mode and a local mode for enabling the user to manually instruct the NAS processor 30 the mode in which to operate. In the network mode, the NAS controller functions normally, providing file access through the network interface 22. In the local mode, the NAS controller functions as a disk controller, accepting commands and data destined for storage device 14 from the local device interface 24, as described above in blocks 42 to 0. [0016] While various embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it should be understood that other modifications, substitutions and alternatives are apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. Such modifications, substitutions and alternatives can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, which should be determined from the appended claims. [0017] Various features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. Claims 1. A network-attached storage apparatus () configured to be in communication with a local device (18), comprising: a plurality of storage devices (14) for storing data; a first interface (22) for establishing communication with the network (16); a second interface (24) for establishing communication with the local device (18); and, a processor (30) for enabling said second interface (24) to establish communication with the 3

4 EP B1 6 local device (18); wherein said processor (30) enables said first interface (22) to establish communication with the network (16) when there is no communication between the second interface (24) and the local device (18). 2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said second interface (24) comprises: a third interface (32) configured to establish a direct connection (39) between said second interface (24) and the local device (18); a fourth interface (34) configured to establish communication between said second interface (24) and said processor (30); and, a controller (36) for enabling said third interface (32) to establish a connection (39) between said second interface (24) and the local device (18), and said fourth interface (34) to establish communication between said second interface and said processor (30). 3. The apparatus as defined in claim 2, wherein said connection (39) between said second interface (24) and the local device (18) is through a high-speed bus third means (30) for enabling said second communication establishing means (24) to establish communication with the local device (18) when there is no communication between the second means (24) and the local device (18). 9. The apparatus () as defined in claim 8, wherein said second communication establishing means (24) comprises: fourth means (32) for establishing a direct connection (39) between said second communication establishing means (24) and the local device (18); fifth means (34) for establishing communication between said second communication establishing means (24) and said third enabling means (30); and, sixth means (36) for enabling said fourth direct connection establishing means (32) to establish a connection between said second communication establishing means (24) and the local device (18), and said fifth communication establishing means (34) to establish communication between said second communication establishing means (24) and said third enabling means (3). 4. The apparatus as defined in claim 3, wherein said connection (39) between said second interface and the local device is through one of a USB 2.0 bus or an IEEE 1394 bus.. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising a switch (2) for instructing said processor (30) to enable said second interface (24) to establish communication with the local device (18), and enabling said first interface (22) to establish communication with the network (16). 6. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising a storage device interface (26) for accessing data stored in said plurality of storage devices (14). 7. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising a peripheral device interface (28) for transferring data between the network (16) or the local device (18) and a peripheral device (20) connected to the network-attached storage apparatus (). 8. A network-attached storage apparatus () configured to be in communication with a local device (18), comprising: Patentansprüche 1. Netzgebundene Speichervorrichtung (), die dazu konfiguriert ist, mit einem lokalen Gerät (18) in Verbindung zu stehen, umfassend: eine Mehrzahl von Speichergeräten (14) für das Speichern von Daten; eine erste Schnittstelle (22) für das Herstellen einer Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk (16); eine zweite Schnittstelle (24) für das Herstellen einer Verbindung mit dem lokalen Gerät (18); und einen Prozessor (30), der es der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) ermöglicht, eine Verbindung mit dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen, wobei es der Prozessor (30) der ersten Schnittstelle (22) ermöglicht, eine Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk (16) herzustellen, wenn keine Verbindung zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) und dem lokalen Gerät (18) vorliegt. 2. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die zweite Schnittstelle (24) Folgendes umfasst: means for storing data (14) ; first means (22) for establishing communication with the network (16); second means (24) for establishing communication with the local device (18); and, eine dritte Schnittstelle (32), die dazu konfiguriert ist, eine direkte Verbindung (39) zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) und dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen; eine vierte Schnittstelle (34), die dazu konfigu- 4

5 7 EP B1 8 riert ist, eine Verbindung zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) und dem Prozessor (30) herzustellen; und eine Steuerung (36), die es der dritten Schnittstelle (32) ermöglicht, eine Verbindung (39) zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) und dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen, und die es der vierten Schnittstelle (34) ermöglicht, eine Verbindung zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle und dem Prozessor (30) herzustellen. 3. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Verbindung (39) zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) und dem lokalen Gerät (18) über einen Hochgeschwindigkeitsbus erfolgt. 4. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Verbindung (39) zwischen der zweiten Schnittstelle und dem lokalen Gerät über entweder einen USB 2.0- Bus und einen IEEE 1394-Bus erfolgt.. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend einen Schalter (2) zum Anweisen des Prozessors (30), es der zweiten Schnittstelle (24) zu ermöglichen, eine Verbindung mit dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen, und es der ersten Schnittstelle (22) zu ermöglichen, eine Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk (16) herzustellen zweite Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung Folgendes umfasst: ein viertes Mittel (32) für das Herstellen einer direkten Verbindung (39) zwischen dem zweiten Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung und dem lokalen Gerät (18); ein fünftes Mittel (34) für das Herstellen einer Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung und dem dritten ermöglichenden Mittel (30); und ein sechstes Mittel (36), das es dem vierten Mittel (32) zum Herstellen einer direkten Verbindung ermöglicht, eine Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung und dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen, und es dem fünften Mittel (34) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung ermöglicht, eine Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung und dem dritten ermöglichenden Mittel (30) herzustellen. Revendications 1. Appareil de stockage rattaché à un réseau (), configuré pour être en communication avec un dispositif local (18), comprenant : 6. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend eine Speichergerätschnittstelle (26) für das Zugreifen auf in der Mehrzahl von Speichergeräten (14) gespeicherte Daten. 7. Die Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend eine Peripheriegerätschnittstelle (28) für das Übertragen von Daten zwischen dem Netzwerk (16) oder dem lokalen Gerät (18) und einem Peripheriegerät (20), das mit der netzgebundenen Speichervorrichtung () verbunden ist. 8. Netzgebundene Speichervorrichtung (), die dazu konfiguriert ist, mit einem lokalen Gerät (18) in Verbindung zu stehen, umfassend: ein Mittel für das Speichern von Daten (14); ein erstes Mittel (22) für das Herstellen einer Verbindung mit dem Netzwerk (16); ein zweites Mittel (24) für das Herstellen einer Verbindung mit dem lokalen Gerät (18); und ein drittes Mittel (30), das es dem zweiten Mittel (24) zum Herstellen einer Verbindung ermöglicht, eine Verbindung mit dem lokalen Gerät (18) herzustellen, wenn keine Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten Mittel (24) und dem lokalen Gerät (18) vorliegt. 9. Die Vorrichtung () nach Anspruch 8, wobei das une pluralité de dispositifs de stockage (14) pour stocker des données ; une première interface (22) pour établir une communication avec le réseau (16) ; une seconde interface (24) pour établir une communication avec le dispositif local (18) ; et, un processeur (30) pour permettre à ladite seconde interface (24) d établir une communication avec le dispositif local (18) ; dans lequel ledit processeur (30) permet à ladite première interface (22) d établir une communication avec le réseau (16) lorsqu il n existe aucune communication entre la seconde interface (24) et le dispositif local (18). 2. Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite seconde interface (24) comprend : une troisième interface (32) configurée pour établir une connexion directe (39) entre ladite seconde interface (24) et le dispositif local (18) ; une quatrième interface (34) configurée pour établir une communication entre ladite seconde interface (24) et ledit processeur (30) ; et, un contrôleur (36) pour permettre à ladite troisième interface (32) d établir une connexion (39) entre ladite seconde interface (24) et le dispositif local (18), et à ladite quatrième interface (34) d établir une communication entre ladite secon-

6 9 EP B1 de interface et ledit processeur (30). 3. Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 2, dans lequel ladite connexion (39) entre ladite seconde interface (24) et le dispositif local (18) est à travers un bus à haute vitesse. 4. Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite connexion (39) entre ladite seconde interface et le dispositif local est à travers l un d un bus USB 2.0 ou d un bus IEEE Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un commutateur (2) pour donner l instruction audit processeur (30) de permettre à ladite seconde interface (24) d établir une communication avec le dispositif local (18), et permettre à ladite première interface (22) d établir une communication avec le réseau (16). 6. Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une interface de dispositif de stockage (26) pour accéder à des données stockées dans ladite pluralité de dispositifs de stockage (14). 7. Appareil tel que défini à la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une interface de dispositif périphérique (28) pour transférer des données entre le réseau (16) ou le dispositif local (18) et un dispositif périphérique (20) connecté à l appareil de stockage rattaché à un réseau () un quatrième moyen (32) pour établir une connexion directe (39) entre ledit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) et le dispositif local (18) ; un cinquième moyen (34) pour établir une communication entre ledit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) et ledit troisième moyen de permission (30) ; et, un sixième moyen (36) pour permettre audit quatrième moyen d établissement de connexion directe (32) d établir une connexion entre ledit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) et le dispositif local (18), et audit cinquième moyen d établissement de communication (34) d établir une communication entre ledit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) et ledit troisième moyen de permission (30). 8. Appareil de stockage rattaché à un réseau () configuré pour être en communication avec un dispositif local (18), comprenant : 3 un moyen pour stocker des données (14) ; un premier moyen (22) pour établir une communication avec le réseau (16) ; un second moyen (24) pour établir une communication avec le dispositif local (18) ; et, un troisième moyen (30) pour permettre audit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) d établir une communication avec le dispositif local (18) lorsqu il n existe aucune communication entre le second moyen (24) et le dispositif local (18) Appareil () tel que défini à la revendication 8, dans lequel ledit second moyen d établissement de communication (24) comprend : 0 6

7 EP B1 7

8 EP B1 8

9 EP B1 9

10 EP B1 REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader s convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard. Patent documents cited in the description US A [0002] DE A [0003]

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