Testing ATA and SATA Drives

STB Suite | The Industry Standard in Peripheral Testing.

The STB Suite has powerful ATA and SATA drive testing capability which will allow you to completely test, diagnose, and profile the performance of any ATA, SATA drive. Of course the STB Suite will also thoroughly test SCSI, Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and SAS drives – but here we will focus on some of the unique ATA and SATA features.

From engineering use testing single task register commands (either 28-bit or 48-bit) and regression-testing firmware drops, to manufacturing burn-in, out-the-door final drive configuration and reliability testing, to interoperability testing and comparing the performance of one drive to another, to screening return drives from the field – the SATA features of the STB Suite are second to none!

Easy menu choices place common methods just a click away. For example, if you need to read the drives IDENTIFY data in order to ascertain if the drive supports the SECURITY FEATURE SET you simply ask the STB Suite to retrieve and interpret the drives IDENTIFY information. The interpretation of the IDENTIFY data instantly shows whether the drive supports Advanced Acoustic Management, whether 48-bit commands are supported – any and all FEATUREs, settings, and capabilities of the drive can be instantly determined.

If you find that a certain FEATURE needs to be changed for your testing environment a powerful GUI-based function allows you to view all FEATURE SETs which are enabled on the drive and allows you to quickly change any feature. You may notice that a drive has a slow write speed – checking the FEATURE settings shows that Write Cache is turned off. The GUI makes it a simple matter to turn WRITE Cache on. Any features which has associated count values, such as Advanced Acoustic Management or Advanced Power Management  allow the FEATURE to be toggled on and off and also allow the count field for the feature to be set to any value.

The STB Suite ATA & SATA command set also allows quick evaluation of all SMART parameters, displaying all SMART values such as the raw data, the thresholds, the parameter count, etc. Parameters are displayed both in raw data form and also translated into the English names for the parameters, making evaluation of all SMART parameters a quick and easy process.

In addition, it is also a simple menu click to retrieve all of a drives’ SMART Self-Test logs, which are also conveniently interpreted for the user. All of the different types of SMART Self Tests can be run from simple menu choices as well.

Drives may be tested in many ways, from fairly simple quick running “Go-No-Go” tests through highly complex test sequences which accurately simulate many real-world data environments. The multi-threaded architecture of the STB Suite insures that drives (including SSDs) will be run at their highest possible speed or I/O rate. The Multi-threaded architecture also insures that multiple CPUs or multiple cores will be take full use of. The STB Suite gives you complete control over setting desired queue depth (NCQ, TCQ) to achieve the highest possible data throughput.

During testing all performance and reliability metrics and statistics are logged for later examination or for doing performance comparisons between one drive and another.

The STB Suite has been in use at many sites world-wide, testing SATA drives literally around the clock for many years, screening out failed drives, sorting drives by performance, insuring that all drive settings such as proper firmware and FEATURES settings are all correct for each particular customer need. In addition, the STB Suites powerful SATA tests are used in repair depots, screening and classifying drives that are returned from the field. The STB Suite has also proven to be an invaluable tool to the customers who are working in the drive refurbishing arena.

The powerful SATA-oriented portions of the STB Suite Developers Toolbox programming API  – another powerful piece of the STB Suite – has allowed many manufacturers to quickly implement new SATA-specific tests into their existing test programs. While developing these tests the STB BAM or Bus Analyzer Module is used day-in and day-out capturing all ATA, SATA, SCSI, FC, iSCSI, and SAS I/O – giving quick confirmation to custom programming, allowing close-in macro view of all I/O (such as command and error/status task register values, inter-command latency times, and data analysis) which is essential to have at hand on all development workstations as new tests are developed.

STB’s service and support is second-to-none! Each license comes with 12 months of our Performa coverage which includes free updates as they become available – typically twice a year or so. Performa also gives you access to STB support and programming staff. We will provide interactive training via web-based conferencing as well as email technical support. In addition our web site has sections with training videos you may watch at your convenience, as well as a section of example projects illustrating how to use our API to create your own tests.

The STB Suite has been used in the storage marketplace continuously for over 20 years – it is the most solid and well proven peripheral test suite under the sun! Our 20 years of working in the storage marketplace also gives us a unique set of knowledge and storage “folk lore” than only comes from that much time actually working with real customers solving real problems. Our experience is yours to be shared as a STB customer, within the constraints of any particular NDA restrictions of course! If your secrets need to be kept secret we have an unblemished track record of honesty and integrity. Our company goal is provide the highest value to our customers, in our product, our support, and our dealings. We can say that with an 18 year track record we are interested in long-term relationships and will do everything within our power to provide you test tools which will help your company survive and thrive in the storage marketplace.

For more information, or to discuss your particular testing needs, please contact Sales.