Microsoft has applied for a new patent titled "Fast Machine Booting Through Streaming Storage" that it claims will speed up operating system boot times.
The application describes a series of local and networked storage systems that Microsoft calls "layers" that would be used to boot tablets, personal computers, set top boxes and other devices. Microsoft describes a cloud-based networked system that would allow an operating system like, say, Windows to be streamed into a PC and then stored into memory on that PC. The system sounds a little bit like how OnLive streams its PC games to be played by PC gamers with only a small download file and near instant playing.
The patent states, "The technology facilitates fast boot because the virtual disk is available for use immediately, rather than needing to download an entire operating system image before booting from that downloaded image. For example, during a boot operation, only a relatively small amount of data is needed from the boot disk, which is available from the far data and/or the near data."
Per Patent's abstract:
Described is a technology by which a virtual hard disk is maintained between a far (e.g., remote) backing store and a near (e.g., local) backing store, which among other advantages facilitates fast booting of a machine coupled to the virtual hard disk. Read requests are serviced from the near backing store (e.g., a differencing layer) when the data is available thereon, or from the far backing store (e.g., a base layer) when not. The near backing store may be configured with a cache layer that corresponds to the base layer and a write differencing layer that stores writes, or a single differencing layer may be used for both caching read data and for storing write data. A background copy operation may be used to fill the cache until the far backing store data is no longer needed.
Microsoft specifies "personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, tablet devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based systems, set top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, distributed computing environments" in the application.
Reference: Patent - Fast Machine Booting Through Streaming Storage