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Patent for cloud data location management unveiled by IBM

Mon 11 Aug 2014

A patent has been awarded to IBM for a technique which helps customers automatically analyse and manage the location of their data stored in public and private clouds.

The IBM-designed system automatically manages cloud data stored by IaaS or SaaS providers across a range of geographical locations. It aims to help clients comply with data storage requirements and policies in specific regions and countries, which often present stumbling blocks for companies adopting cross-border cloud solutions.

“During the early years of cloud computing, it was evident that storing and accessing business data across geographically dispersed cloud computing environments could present logistical and regulatory challenges,” explained Sandeep Ramesh Patil, IBM’s master inventor of the patented method.

“Our team of inventors designed a system that will allow businesses to efficiently manage and move data in the cloud, while meeting required compliance mandates in different countries,” he added.

The patent, Geographic governance of data over clouds: #8,676,593, was first filed in September 2010 and finally published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March this year. However, IBM waited until August 8 to officially announce the technique.

In the abstract, the patent is described as:

“Methods and systems for controlling a geographic region of data in cloud computing […] A method implemented in a computer infrastructure including a combination of hardware and software includes: receiving a request from a local computing device to save data on a network including a plurality of data storage locations in a plurality of different geographic regions.”

The system is able to do this by analysing “file attributes associated with the data, or predefined rules, […] identifying one of the plurality of data storage locations within the specified geographic region” and also “routing the data to the identified one of the plurality of data storage locations within the specified geographic region.”

IBM added that the specialised method will be able to help companies ‘tag’ their data, and with the intelligent cloud management software, they can choose to store files in the best suited location. For example, companies would be able to easily choose or change the physical location of their stored data according to corporate policies.

Developed at IBM Laboratories, this latest system sits among 150 other cloud technologies, designed by Patil’s team, currently pending US patents.

IBM has revealed that the location management system is not yet built into a specific product, and neither was a specific date given suggesting a forthcoming commercial launch.

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