Intel's Folsom lab has an area dedicated to testing and validating SSDs. Intel follows the ethos of measuring reliability, not predicting it. Engineers accomplish this by testing 1000's of drives for 1000's of hours. Engineers place drives in temperature-controlled cabinets to test the SSDs at the various temperature extremes of their specifications. The cabinets also test drives as they transition between different temperature ranges (thermal cycling) to find any design weaknesses.
To the right is a door that leads to a cage that holds a sample of literally every single batch of Intel SSDs to make it through validation. This allows Intel to go back and reference the actual drives if any problems crop up in the future.
Engineers blast SSDs with heavy workloads while simultaneously exposing them to temperature extremes in this cabinet. Other cabinets fulfill varying functions as the SSDs are tested to the end of endurance. Intel follows JEDEC standards for their testing, but their own internal guidelines are usually stricter than the minimums required by JEDEC (JESD476/JEP22) and other standardized approaches.
Endurance is measured by the length of time data is retained during certain temperature ranges. This small oven keeps these test samples at a very high temperature for extended periods, and then engineers examine the data to ensure it remains uncorrupted.
Ensuring compatibility expands upon the mantra of a '1000's drives for 1000's of hours' by adding a new element - on 1000's of systems. Intel tests compatibility on a massive scale with real-world servers and applications. The compatibility lab is constantly growing, and this is just one of many rows of servers that test Intel SSDs around the clock.
Interoperability begins with membership on standards committees, such as SNIA, NVMe, SATA-IO, and PCI-SIG. Plugfests start the process prior to finalizing product designs. Once Intel finalizes designs, they test with a broad variety of enterprise applications, and operating systems, in each platform to guarantee broad compatibility for their products after design. Intel also shares information with ISVs, IHVs, and OEMs, and continually monitor any problems in the field.
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