The Importance of “Exercising” SSDs

SSDs2021-05-06

The ATP Gym and Coach System: Exercising SSDs to Ensure Total Fitness

 

 

It's common knowledge that regular exercise provides several health benefits; however, to gain the most benefit, it is crucial to engage in the right type of exercise at the right frequency and with the use of the right exercise machines if needed.

A typical gym has several exercise machines. Each of them has a specific use — for toning muscles, strengthening specific parts of the body, increasing endurance — all for promoting overall health and well-being.

It is also important to get a fitness coach to provide guidance and make the most out of the gym experience. The coach will assess your needs, and then create an exercise plan that specifically targets weak or problem areas. The coach determines, for example how much, how often, and what type of weights you need to lift, cardio exercises to do, and so on.

No Pain, No Gain: The Importance of “Exercising” SSDs

The process of “exercising” solid state drives (SSDs) entails using stress accelerants, such as temperature and voltage, within a specific time period. Stress testing simulates real-life operating conditions by exposing SSDs to a wide range of extreme temperatures and other environmental challenges to screen out weak components, prevent early life failures, and ensure drive reliability throughout its entire service life.

To make sure that customers receive only products of the highest quality from ATP Electronics, ATP’s industrial SSDs go through the following tests:

  • Basic Checks, such as drive initialization and functional tests
  • NAND-Level Screening: Weak ICs are screened out and marked to prevent early life failures and ensure drive reliability throughout its service life. This is done through ATP’s own-designed/built Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) at high/low temperatures.
  • Drive-Level Screening: Involves burn-in testing using the Gym and Coach System, which we will discuss in this article.

 

Overview of ATP’s Gym and Coach System

Working out is never easy. With ATP’s meticulous testing process, SSDs go through all the pain so customers have everything to gain.

ATP uses what is called the “Gym and Coach System” to ensure the fitness of industrial SSDs according to defined parameters.

The system consists of:

  • Burn-in chambers used for thermally stressing our SSDs. Depending on the customers’ application requirements, SSDs are tested at room, high, low and extreme temperatures at various specified workloads.
  • Each chamber can accommodate several gyms. Each gym can fit several drives and several gyms can be connected together.The figures below show one of the chambers, which can accommodate 24 gyms. Each gym can fit:

 

  • 6x SATA drives for a total of 144 devices under test
  • 4x NVMe drives for a total of 96 devices under test

 

  • The Coach, which is basically a program on a console PC. It automatically issues instructions to all the gyms to “work out” the SSDs. Test items, procedures, temperatures and other parameters can be configured in a script file and testing is performed automatically.

 

Figure 1. One of the special burn-in chambers in ATP’s Gym and Coach System

 

Figure 2. A closer look at what is inside the chamber.

 

Capabilities and Benefits of the Gym and Coach System

This system is capable of:

  • Automatic control of harsh high/low temp testing conditions (-40°C to 85°C). All test items and temperature ramping up/down can be configured to perform automatically by the control of a console PC, the Coach.
  • SMART attribute check and logging
  • Comprehensive testing, such as Sudden Power Off Recovery Test (SPORT), input voltage margining, 4-corner testing, and SATA/NVMe Burn-In Test with configurable transfer size (random, sequential, queue depth read/write)

Figure 3. Sudden Power-Off Test (SPORT) error log example

 

By using the Gym and Coach System, ATP significantly reduces testing time. This translates to faster time to market, greater product reliability, lower product development costs, and lower total cost of investment (TCO.)

Conclusion

With the Gym and Coach system, ATP has dramatically improved RDT and the initialization process for functional test details. By making industrial SSDs undergo a lot of “painful” exercises through stringent testing, ATP makes sure that customers have everything to gain by receiving the most robust, reliable and enduring flash storage products for their applications.

For more information on the ATP Gym and Coach System and other testing capabilities, visit the ATP website or contact an ATP Representative.

 

 

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