NVM Express Member Spotlight: UNH Interoperability Lab


The “NVM Express Member Spotlight” blog series highlights our diverse membership and how NVM Express members help to develop, advance and promote NVM Express® (NVMe®) technology in the industry. If your company would like to join NVM Express, you can learn more about joining NVM Express on our website.

In this blog, Carter Snay, Technical Manager at the UNH Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL), discusses why the UNH-IOL joined NVM Express, and how they contribute to the NVM Express working groups and the NVMe technology ecosystem.

Can you provide a brief overview of your company? 

The UNH-IOL is a collaborative and neutral environment for networking, data, telecommunications and storage technology partners to develop and perform product testing. We work with industry leaders and standards bodies to provide interoperability, conformance and certification testing in over 35 technology areas. As a part of UNH-IOL, students get the chance to work alongside experienced professionals, which gives them a unique experience and exposes them to advanced positions in the industry. The UNH-IOL works directly with the NVM Express Interop and Compliance Committee (ICC) to create the NVM Express organization’s test plans and is the only test tool that certifies NVMe products for the NVM Express Integrators List eligibility.

Why did your company join NVM Express?

UNH-IOL has been involved with the NVM Express ecosystem since its establishment, working on compliance testing specifications to benefit the greater storage industry.

This involvement with NVM Express has grown into crafting test specifications and performing interoperability and compliance testing. We are pleased to continue this effort and work together on updating NVMe technology test plans, as well as creating and maintaining the NVM Express Integrators List. Working with NVM Express, we have developed relationships with all members by attending working group meetings, all-members meetings, customer interactions, independent testing and hosting NVMe Plugfest test events for 10+ years.

What is the biggest advantage of NVM Express membership and how does your company participate?

As NVM Express members, we have the privilege of helping member companies streamline their product development process by creating the latest test plans and maintaining the NVM Express Integrators List. Both are a crucial part of this process, as they provide a new set of NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) technology test cases based on the latest development aspects released by NVM Express technical committees.

What expertise does your company bring to NVM Express?

We have developed a test tool called IOL INTERACT™ to test NVMe devices for compliance with the NVMe Base specification, multiple I/O Command Sets, and NVMe transports. NVMe Management Interface (NVMe-MI™) specification compliance is tested using a test tool from Teledyne LeCroy, which performs tests based on IOL written test plans. IOL INTERACT is commercially available directly to NVMe technology implementers, increasing the volume of pre-testing. This eliminates any surprises during compliance testing, which can only take place at the IOL during privately scheduled testing or at an NVMe Plugfest event—benefiting the industry. It also ensures that newly implemented tests and NVMe features are tested thoroughly, providing feedback on test procedures and feature implementations that benefit the NVMe ecosystem.

Which market segments and use cases benefit the most from NVMe technology?

NVMe technology has become the language of storage by significantly enhancing read/write speeds compared to previous storage technologies. Its impact has been felt across various industries, including consumer, hyperscalers, data centers and enterprise markets. The primary focus of UNH-IOL is to test NVMe products, including PCIe® SSDs, host platforms, switches, initiators and targets to qualify for the NVM Express Integrators List.

Interoperability testing gives members greater confidence that the solutions under test will interoperate with the various storage servers in the UNH-IOL test bed when deployed in the real world.

Which future applications of NVMe technology is your company most looking forward to?

Version 21 of the NVMe technology test plans is being developed and will be ready for our upcoming biannual Plugfest event in June 2024. We are proud to work with the NVM Express organization to create new test plans every six months in coordination with the NVM Express ICC. We develop test cases and tools before new NVMe-defined features are rolled out. In the latest test plans, we have added coverage for the NVMe Cross-Namespace Copy, Rotational Media Support and Flexible Data Placement features.

As NVMe technology advances and becomes more feature-rich, we are excited to see improvements in scalability and efficiency for fabric solutions. We hope to see improved fabric management services in NVMe-oF solutions through centralized discovery mechanisms and data center management improvements with the introduction of the major new feature NVMe Live Migration.

As part of the NVMe Plugfest 21, the UNH-IOL NVMe technology testing development team has created a rich set of tests for the Computational Programs and Subsystem Local Memory I/O Command Sets. We are looking forward to testing it during the Plugfest event.

Interested in participating in a future “NVM Express Member Spotlight? Reach out to nvme@nereus-worldwide.com for more information.