NVMe Plugfest Achieves its Goal

On May 13, 2013 the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) hosted the first ever NVMe plugfest. The NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) plugfest was a four day event which comprised of ten companies coming together to test their NVMe Hosts and Drives for the first time. The ultimate goal for many of these companies is to have their company’s product placed on the Integrators List, which lists devices that have gone through compliance and interoperability testing and will confidently work well in a multi-vendor environment.

One of the compliance tests was run using the UNH-IOL’s very own IOL INTERACT software. The IOL INTERACT software is built on top of the tNVMe tool developed by Intel and available on the Github website. IOL INTERACT software’s lead developer, Jeffrey Masucci, an employee of the UNH-IOL’s NVMe consortium and a junior at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), describes the tool as "a new way to test NVMe; it is a quick, efficient and easy way of testing versus the alternative. The tool got its debut during the plugfest hosted at the UNH-IOL, allowing us to uncover bugs and consider other approaches and features that will be implemented in the future. A few issues were addressed with the GUI, such as the logging capabilities, and have since been fixed in the new version that will be released soon. All in all, the GUI proved extremely useful in testing numerous NVMe devices very quickly.”

Kasra Dalvand, graduate student working in the UNH-IOL NVMe consortium, assisted at the plugfest and shared his experience. “The NVMe plugfest was a very good experience for me, because as a student the plugfest was an opportunity for me to communicate directly with the industry and talk with engineers from different companies.” He went on to describe the use of the LeCroy PETracer along with then UNH-IOL test scripts throughout the event. “I think the LeCroy PETracer is a very powerful and useful tool. Using LeCroy PETracer and Excerciser along with UNH-IOL test scripts, one can see traces of each command transaction (i.e., READ, WRITE, IDENTIFY), which is issued to the device and see what happens after issuing the command to the device. The objective is to make sure that an NVMe device is able to support NVMe protocol.”

Due to the success of the first NVMe plugfest, plans for a second are in the works. Vendors are looking to show suppliers confidence in their devices. Test events, like this NVMe plugfest, help foster interoperability and compliance for products that can be listed for suppliers to see on the NVMe Integrators List. This list will continue to grow as awareness of the importance of testing and participation of testing become mainstream.

The NVM Express Workgroup described the plugfest in this press release.

Kerry Auchterlonie, Operations Manager