NVM Express Integrator’s List 101: Your Guide to NVMe Interoperability and Compliance Testing

NVM Express proudly collaborates with the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) to conduct compliance and interoperability testing for the NVM Express® (NVMe®) specifications. As a vendor-neutral test lab, the UNH-IOL provides members with confidential and unbiased test results, helping companies get products ready to market, faster. NVM Express member products that pass UNH-IOL’s required testing can be listed on the NVMe Integrator’s List. The NVMe Integrator’s List consists of configurations that have proven to be interoperable and conformant to NVMe standards, which provides a reasonable degree of confidence that a tested product will work well in a multi-vendor environment.

Do you have questions about how the testing process works and how to get your product added to the NVMe Integrator’s List? Continue reading below to learn more about how you can achieve NVMe compliance and begin testing your products with UNH-IOL.

How can I get my product on the NVMe Integrators list?

The first step is to become an NVM Express member. NVM Express offers three types of membership, Promoter, Contributor and Adopter. Once your company is an NVM Express member, contact UNH-IOL or head to their website to join NVMe or NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) Membership to begin testing. Once you are a member of NVM Express and UNH-IOL, you gain access to exclusive IOL test software, IOL INTERACT™, which expedites and automates in-house testing of NVMe and NVMe-oF products. Next, schedule a test reservation with the IOL or attend a Plugfest where testing is performed to validate products and run official testing. Once your product has passed all mandatory tests, it is eligible to be listed on the Integrator’s List.

What is a Plugfest?

To achieve Integrator’s List status, members have the option to test products at UNH-IOL’s NVMe Plugfests which are held 2x year. Plugfests are the first opportunity for developers to test against the latest NVMe test plans and are a way for members to test their products when new features are added or become mandatory in order to be listed on the NVM Express Integrator’s List.

When is the next plugfest and what can developers expect?

The NVMe PCIe Plugfest #17 will be held June 6–9, 2022 and the NVMe over Fabrics Plugfest #17 will be held June 13–16, 2022. Both events will be held at the UNH-IOL in Durham, NH.

Registration is now open Plugfest #17 and the IOL is also hosting a webinar, on May 3 to prepare attendees for the plugfest as well as discuss the latest NVMe test updates.

What devices will UNH-IOL plan to test at the next Plugfest?

NVMe SSDs and hosts can be tested at the spring 2022 Plugfests. For NVMe-oF technology, UNH-IOL tests initiators, targets and switches.

Currently, the UNH-IOL’s testing software is available for the following product types:

  • NVMe SSDs
  • NVMe Management Interface (NVMe-MI™)
  • NVMe/Fibre Channel (FC)
  • NVMe/RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE)
  • NVMe/Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
  • NVMe Zoned Namespaces (ZNS)
What is the benefit of testing at a Plugfest vs. independently?

UNH-IOL recommends pre-testing devices using IOL INTERACT software, as it will give members peace of mind that their product will pass when they send their products to UNH-IOL or attend a Plugfest for official testing. Only products tested within UNH-IOL’s third-party lab can be verified.

Will UNH-IOL be forming new test plans and modifying test tools to align with the NVMe 2.0 specifications refactoring effort?

Yes. The new v17.0 test plans are available on the UNH-IOL website for public download. Before the specification refactoring, the NVMe conformance test plan was for both the NVMe over Fabrics and NVMe over PCIe specifications. Recently, these have been broken out so there is the NVM Express base specification, NVMe/RoCE, NVMe/TCP and the command set specifications. Now all the test plans align with what the specifications have listed.

How often are test plans updated?

Every six months UNH-IOL updates its NVMe test plans in conjunction with NVM Express. Sixty days before a Plugfest occurs, they are posted on the UNH-IOL website. Typically, there are two Plugfests each year, in June and November.

Which tests are mandatory?

All the mandatory or optional/FYI are listed in the test plans.

How do I get started with interoperability testing services?

Become a member of NVM Express and then join UNH-IOL’s NVMe testing service. Developers can run testing in their own facility or schedule a test reservation and send it to UNH-IOL or attend an upcoming Plugfest.

What testing tools does UNH-IOL use to test NVMe products?

UNH-IOL developed the IOL INTERACT™ conformance test tool for testing NVMe over PCIe SSDs or NVMe-oF technology implementations (RoCE, TCP, iWarp and Fibre Channel). The IOL INTERACT software expedites and automates the in-house testing of NVMe SSDs and NVMe-oF products. It is available for members of the UNH-IOL NVMe Testing Services. UNH-IOL also utilizes the Teledyne-LeCroy Summit PCIe Exerciser and Analyzer system software for a small number of PCIe compliance test cases and for NVMe-MI compliance testing.

How much time can I schedule for testing?

Test reservations are on a first come first serve basis. There is about a four-week lead time, so you can schedule upwards of five or six reservations per year. We also have expedited testing for an additional fee outside of the regular test reservations.

What is the benefit of my product being on the Integrator’s list?

Customers will have added confidence in your products and can see the products that have successfully completed verified third-party conformance tests. Combined with satisfactory operation in UNH-IOL’s interoperability tests, products on the Integrators List provide a reasonable level of confidence that the Product Under Test will function properly in many NVMe technology environments.

The UNH-IOL regularly maintains this list, and listed products have proven to be interoperable and conformant to the NVMe specifications, and the list is often referred to by companies when making purchasing decisions for NVMe-based devices.

What are the requirements of the NVMe Integrator’s list?

The version of the test plan defines eligibility for the Integrator’s List. UNH-IOL will be shipping version 17.0 of the test plans shortly. To pass, products must pass all tests defined as mandatory in 17.0.

How can I get my product listed on the NVM Express website?

If your product has passed the required testing with UNH-IOL, you may complete this form to have it featured on the NVMe Products Page. All submitted products are reviewed by the NVMe Marketing Committee. Approved products will be added to the NVMe Products Page and included in the NVM Express industry newsletter.

Learn More

Check out additional NVM Express blogs or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about the latest features and advancements to the NVM Express family of specifications.

Follow UNH-IOL on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates on the upcoming Plugfest and updates to test plans. View the NVMe SSD and NVMe-oF playlist on YouTube to learn more about NVMe testing at UNH-IOL.