“Listen to your customer before you start talking to him.”
TECODI offers an elevated number of consulting topics all around the storage media business.
Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) or Solid State Disks (SSDs), what to pick?
One of the most popular and dominating factors within the IT industry:
- what is the predominant factor taking a SSD, when is HDDs the better choice?
- which usage model or application UFM devices are made for?
- how do storage media influence my operating costs? what are the options?
- do I have balanced TCO with my current storage media solution?
- data security granted or data loss possible?
- when to update or exchange my storage media solution?
Each one of those questions are well placed and need proper answers tailormade for you and your application.
TECODI-we owe you an independent answer.
Conceptional and Design Review for HDDs
“Every HDD has it´s tradeoff” (Alan Shugart, Co-founder Seagate Technology)
Ultimate true. TECODI is coming a long way to be able to understand what tradeoffs for a HDD were made for the sole reason of understanding the intercepts of those with the customer target system.
During a conceptional review the main basics of an upcoming HDD are discussed and what new technologies go into it. Further down the introduction process, the Design Review with very concrete layouts of the head/media design, the data chain, the servo circuitry and basic achievements, the mechanical spacing and the interface firmware feature set is reviewed via a long term developed DESIGN OF ELEMENTS catalog.
Think of it as a pie chart with 5 pieces, all dependent and interacting to each other. (trivial example: If fly height goes down, read/write parametric run probably better, but mechanical disk spacing suffers).
By far we aren´t any better than HDD designers, but we can help to bring deficiencies to daylight and translate tradeoffs being made into target system intercepts.
The ultimate goal remains to understand design – and manufacturing margin of the upcoming device. Being independent, we can compare for the same technical challenge the different answers from HDD vendors.
TECODI-work with us, we make you think.
Storage media analysis support on complex malfunctions
Memory hardware can unintentionally be harmed through seemingly little environmental stress factors. In the final extend this may lead to data loss of your valuable data. Na matter if this is for HDDs, SSDs or equivalent storage components, there are cases where it does not take much to comprise data security.
TECODI does run a “as is status” first. Following that we undergo a joint effort with the storage media vendor to evolve a containment action plan and simultaneously validate it.
Corrective actions can range from firmware updates, workarounds, screenings or any appropriate action to avoid cost intensive loss of data.
TECODI-“challenge” isn’t just a word for us.
I/O access and wear out monitoring
In future, IT managers will have to monitor the I/O access profiles directed onto storage memory very closely. The asymmetrical distribution of the I/O traffic and it´s wear out associated can cause extra costs per TCO measures.
Not only SSDs can wear out, also business critical HDDs, spinning at 7.2 k RPM tend to wear out over time, depending the amount of write cycles being applied.
TECODI- “divide et impera”, also true for I/O traffic.
Decrease DEBUG area turnaround time on HDDs
Especially during early burst builds the manufacturing yields are considerably low. What´s needed is a fast and precise system making a call for most of the malfunctions and error codes of a failed device. Having a call made, a very high hit rate of it is expected to minimize the DEBUG area material costs.
We can help to optimize such tools making a call for the “next step” in your DEBUG area.
TECODI-helps to drive TCO down.
We integrate a given storage memory component into a pre-defined target system per dedicated test plans while execution and documentation run hand in hand.
Content, scope and level of test depth will be coordinated with you.
A sample out of our elevated offer listing:
- Tests of your complete storage solution with all soft- and hardware inside: controller, cabling, backplane and storage media (HDD, SSD, PCIe SSD, NV DIMM, etc.)
- It comes with all desired operating systems, utilization testing scenarios and restart test cycles to validate overall system maturity.
TECODI – all puzzle pieces’ line up.
Different swim lanes of Storage Devices are very unique when it comes to environmental susceptibilities. Temperature, humidity, vibration excitation, signal integrity and a set of other parameters are the challenges for a high-class system integration.
As for the traditional HDDs, it´s more the susceptibility on linear and rotational vibration and the temperature rise rather than SSDs, which need to be integrated focusing on I/O stress levels from the application layer and for sure for sustained I/O levels as defined.
If PCIe SSDs or NV DIMM need to be integrated, the ECO system overall is under focus. Very often, the full I/O capabilities from these aren´t deployed, given the leak of some target system enablement factors. (for instance: power override, TRIM, BIOS setup etc.)
So, it remains imperative to understand for each Storage Device the challenging environmental parameters and how to integrate those seamless into your target system whereas target applications and -systems are as different as you.
TECODI serves you with the end-to-end integrators view of either updating your storage solution or starting from scratch.
Test as a Service (TaaS)
“Kick the tires” means to check out your car before buying it, and it´s you doing it, not the car seller, even though he is believed to be much more familiar with the car then you are.
Storage devices, especially when they are just launching or when there is new technology inside do have in some cases significant infant mortality fallout.
Those high-performance devices are getting more and more complex and brought to market under extreme cost- and time pressure leaking the consequent long term maturity measures.
TECODI´s experience value does show a steady state increase of infant mortality DPPMs, especially when the technology being used is more complex than on the predecessor’s device.
As we all know, if there is any failure mechanism inherent on any given device, it´s better to find it as early as possible in the process to minimize Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). From one manufacturing step to the next one a factor of 10 can easily occur.
So, it´s essential to fully understand the outgoing DPPM levels of your storage media vendor, if it looks okay, you can limit the amount of testing accordingly.
TECODI has a full set of different TaaS suites and setups to verify the maturity level of a storage device:
- TECODI classical incoming inspection: test suites to grant a pre-defined minimal quality level to reduce infant mortality failure rates at the end customer. If needed, a pre-Failure Analysis (pre-FA) software can take over, once a device failed, to gather analysis data upfront. Note: In here the goal is to identify potential workmanship issues, NOT any design issues.
- TECODI Endurance Monitor: goal in here is to determine whether or not the NAND flash memory devices are worn out too early under a given customer application. Note: Not only SSD, but also 7.2k RPM HDDs can suffer WRITE I/O’s wear out as well.
- TECODI I/O Test Suite: what IOPS and MByte/s performance data can I expect in my target system and how will Quality of Service (QoS) look like?
Note: device history has a non-negligible influence of the test results, this is way beyond trivial “DAY-1 performance” effects.
- TECODI config manager: need a servo – or interface firmware update? need a configuration change of the persistent parameter set of the device? We can configure all interfaces (SAS, SATA, PCIe) and form factors up to the desired level.
Note: If you want us to, we can also suggest improved settings for your device.
This is just a snapshot on what´s possible working with us. TECODI TaaS had its roots decades ago, insights of the component design help us to develop customized test scripts.
Our measure: in minimal time, find out maximal information on the maturity of the device.
TECODI-TaaS you like, we kick tires for you.
Actio = Re-Actio (Sir Isaac Newton, 1643-1727). Storage Media do follow the 3rd law of the great pioneer as well. In modern IT world, it may take time to fully realize it though.
There are elevated numbers of examples following the term: little cause shows big effect.
Let´s take as a starter the influence of sound waves through the air into a computer system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDacjrSCeq4
Now this video has a very scientific background as it shows the relation between an induced level of vibration transported via sound waves into a HDD, which does increase it´s latency by spinning extra revolutions for untrack recovery. What this video does not show is, that only certain HDDs from certain vendors do exhibit such an effect.
TECODI made some approximation and did some calculations on this. The outcome says:
Starting at prox. 96 dB(A) sound pressure, A-weighted on dedicated HDD designs, some HDDs do tend to have the data heads moving away from track center of the user data such far, that on read back such data, there needs to be extra revolutions spent to get the data in.
The sound waves to induce a certain amount of vibration level, which the servo system tries to compensate for, if that is not achievable on the first take, extra revs need to be spent.
In a further extend: if Brendan Gregg would have shouted louder, eventually he could have made the data gone, data loss as the ultimate stop, if too much vibration levels are induced.
That leads to another interesting question:
How wide are those data tracks of modern HDDs and how does this relate for their susceptibilities against inner or outer sources of vibration?
High end HDDs spinning at 10k RPM to have prox. 400k Tracks Per Inch (TPI) or 157.5 k tracks per cm. These numbers do rise by 10…20 % per CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate).
Note: Don´t mix this number with the Areal Density CAGR of 15…20 % recently coming from 40 % the years before, when “Moore´s law did prevail for long. Areal Density (AD) = Tracks Per Inch (TPI) x Bits Per Inch (BPI) for simplicity.
So, these 400k TPI mean you have 15748 tracks on 1 mm, the bandwidth of a single track is consequently 63.5 nm (63.5x10E-09 m).
As for your imagination of such tiny mechanical spacing: Visible light wavelength does range from 380 to 780 nm, so equals 6 to 12 tracks of a nowadays 10 k RPM HDD.
Now, if during the storing (“WRITING”) user data, the data head is moving more than 10…20 % off track center, writing is inhibited, and a revolution later a retry is performed.
So, the challenge is to regulate the data heads with such an accuracy “on track”.
A bit complex mathematical derivation shows that the track density of a disk drive is proportional to the susceptibility square, which means:
If the track density is doubled the susceptibility (leaving away for a moment all counter regulations and compensations) is quadruple.
Given that, it remains very important to be focused on proper design discipline for new HDDs coming out.
TECODI does understand these relations and gives high attention on the review of the regulation technology, so servo design and it´s attributes is under focus.