IRON Labs Certified Storage

Iron Systems had been building storage products since 1996 and builds storage platforms for some of the largest storage companies in the world. Storage systems are some of the most complex hardware systems to design and build. Each have exacting component compatibility issues, performance tuning and bottleneck considerations, component longevity and complex testing and manufacturing processes.

IRON Labs has developed through years of experience and shipping thousands of systems per year the technology to design, test and build systems with the latest break-through technologies, with solid durability and reliability at the most competitive price points.

  • Exact, Extensive and Comprehensive Testing Processes
  • Cost verses Performance analysis in designs
  • Durability designed ground-up
  • Leading-edge technologies in stable implementations
  • Reliability guaranteed through months long testing and analysis

Once a product has completed the process to guarantee high levels of standards and quality, it can then bare the label of "IRON Labs Certified". Storage components such as hard drives have industry standard tests and qualification requirements. Hard drives which pass the industry standard tests often fail the IRON Labs qualification process and are returned, likely to be used in someone else's products.

Component Design and Qualification

Each component specified into an IRON Labs design is selected by several criteria

  • Cost verses Requirements - to guarantee cost competitiveness, each component performance requirements is analyzed thoroughly. Over performing components which are not a bottleneck for performance raises the price of the complete solution unnecessarily.
  • Component Compatibility - storage products above most others have exact component compatibility issues, including the revisions of firmware.
  • Life expectancy - components each have a total and MTBF life expectancy, and the overall life and durability of the storage product rely on the complete set of components life expectancy.
  • Manufacturing Life - Components selected must be available from the original manufacturers since an end-of-life event for any component affects the storage product solution. All components are analyzed for availability
  • SPC Analysis - Statistical Process Control technologies, often used in manufacturing are used extensively in the testing and qualification processes.
  • Factory Test Automation - Specific tests used in the manufacturing process which are automated at Iron Systems manufacturing locations are developed specifically for each storage solution.

Component Testing

Storage products have a the standard server components including CPUs, Memory, Network Controllers, Chipset Firmware, Power Supplies, Chassis components and many others, each of these components are run through the same exacting processes as performed by the IRON Labs HPC and Super Computing test processes. Storage products also have the additional storage components including HBAs, special cables, RAID controllers, extenders, HDD, SSD and many others. IRON Labs has developed custom testing technologies for each of these components. Many of these components have performance and error counters with specific APIs and during performance, durability and stress tests, all of the counters are analyzed and recorded.

Power-Off Tests

Power-off tests are tests performed on systems to guarantee they survive environmental stresses, including shipping and storage, and day-to-day usage.

  • Vibration Tests
  • Drop Tests
  • Physical Durability Tests - For storage, these tests include physically removing and inserting disk drives.

Power-On Tests

Power-on tests are tests on running systems. These tests will run days to months on a certification process.

  • Thermal Tests - Tests performed in special heated thermal chambers which run typically 35 to 40 C degrees temperature
  • Cooling Pressure Tests - specific tests for the product cooling system. The internal fans must keep all areas inside the chassis at specific air pressures to guarantee all components are cooled adequately
  • Component Temperature Sensor Measurements - Every critical component is measured for temperature and cooling performance
  • Power Recycle Tests - Each product goes through thousands of external power on and off tests to test components can withstand power fluxuations in the field
  • Disk Hammer Tests - special tests which put the disk drives through excessive usage and stresses
  • Numerous Automation Tests - Hundreds of specific test scripts are run repeatedly

Disk Drive Specific Test Processes

Disk Drives are tested separately and run through numerous industry standard and unique custom tests developed by IRON Labs. The standard industry tests include surface scans, repeated read and write, random and sequential read and write IO and various performance measurement tests. Unique tests include

  • Inner Outer Track Perf Differential - a specific test which measures the performance of inner and outer tracks and compares this to a known threshold. This test identifies disk flaws which are not identifiable using other standard tests.
  • SPC Testing Analysis - Performance of drives should remain consistent from beginning to end of the tests. Any performance or test irregularities are analyzed using specific Statistical Process Control techniques and algorithms are identified and applied to the pass/fail criteria for each drive.