An Interview With Anil Gupta, President And CEO At OakGate Technology

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Below is our recent interview with Anil Gupta, President and CEO at OakGate Technology:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to OakGate Technology?

A: OakGate Technology is the #1 Validation and Analytics solution for solid state storage and the recognized leader for these tools worldwide. OakGate’s highly-capable and flexible platforms support all popular storage protocols and are based on advanced, proprietary software, and industry standard hardware. OakGate’s products have been deployed by top tier components suppliers, drive manufacturers, storage system OEMs and data centers worldwide. OakGate Technology was founded in 2008 by industry veterans from the storage and server industries. The company is headquartered in Loomis, California.

Q: How exactly do you help data centers?

A: OakGate is helping our data center customers on two-fronts: one, helping them to validate enterprise-level SSDs before deploying in production, and two, providing deep Workload Analytics to help them to identify and characterize production workload performance challenges in order for them to improve performance in the data center.

OakGate Technology offers a comprehensive, cost-effective solution, that includes software and hardware products to fully test and validate enterprise-level SSDs. OakGate’s fourth-generation software suite, Enduro with Storage Validation Framework (SVF) Pro, provides customized, easy-to-use software that brings unprecedented control and efficiency to any development, validation, and manufacturing test plan. OakGate’s hardware products include high-performance desktop and rackmount appliances, plug-in modules, external enclosures, and add-ons, providing a means to test a few SSDs for development to hundreds of SSDs for high-volume production.

Among the benefits for qualifying SSDs before deploying them in production environments are:
• Knowing the performance, reliability, stability, and functionality of selected SSDs
• Helping decision-makers to make well-informed decisions on future SSD purchases and configurations
• Reducing TCO (saving money and time) by finding problems before SSD products are deployed in the production environment
• Improving customer satisfaction with quality services and products

Additionally, OakGate Technology is working closely with its SSD suppliers and data center customers to deliver Analytics and Replay tools for testing real-world workloads before SSDs are deployed into data center environments. This is a great benefit for data center managers who purchase large volumes of SSDs for their production data centers.

On the Workload Analytics front, our current SSD and storage OEM customers are demanding “real-world” production workloads they can use to test performance and functionality in a data center. Similarly, our hyperscale customers are asking for help in validating maximum performance and efficiency on their data center infrastructure. This synergistic relationship has created an opportunity for OakGate to leverage its deep understanding of storage architectures to develop tools to help both these segments identify performance issues and then fix them.

Our strategy is to extend our leadership position and tackle our Data Center customer problems by providing Workload Monitoring, Analytics and Replay technology. There is a shared value proposition and mutual benefit for Data Centers and SSD suppliers to work together to optimize performance of SSDs for Data Center applications. To that end, our new WorkloadIntelligence software portfolio lets Data Centers identify and characterize real-world production workloads and then use this information to improve the performance of enterprise-level SSDs in production settings.

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Q: What types of products do you provide to your clients?

A: OakGate Technology offers two distinct, but adjacent technology platforms:

1. Our 4th generation SSD validation software platform, SVF Pro with Enduro, to help SSD suppliers, storage system OEMs, and Data Centers validate the performance and functionality of their SSD drives. Additionally, we provide an application called Greenlight, designed for manufacturing and reliability testing with high-density solutions and large test chambers. It runs on the SVF Pro engine
2. Our WorkloadIntelligence software portfolio helps Data Centers and SSD suppliers identify and characterize real-world production workloads and then use this information to improve the performance of enterprise-level SSDs in production settings.

Q: Can you tell us something more about The Storage Validation Framework? What makes it perfect?

A: OakGate Technology’s biggest competitive advantage is the comprehensive nature of our storage validation platform. The platform provides “three key pillars” of functionality surrounded by an additional rich set of features. The three pillars are:

1. Product Validation is designed to test functional integrity of the product and uncover bugs. The user can do so via complex traffic generation and error injection.
2. Protocol Conformance provides a large set of built-in tests that helps verify conformance with a specific protocol that the device supports. The user can of course add his own unique tests as well.
3. Performance Benchmarking allows the use to measure the true performance of the device under various workloads and generate all kinds of graphs and histograms.

Around these three core pillars, SVF incorporates a number of advanced capabilities. We have a built-in command level analyzer that records each command and lets the user go back analyze what led to a specific error. Through the SVF GUI, customers can perform power cycling and power measurements on an individual DUT basis. For Reliability and Production, SVF controls these functions in chambers and testers offered by our partners.

Last but not the least, we have a number of ways our customers can their write their own scripts to exercise specific functionality. For example, customers can write Python test scripts and run those through our REST APIs.

Additionally, the breadth of our customer set gives us insight into the direction of the industry and its best practices which are reflected in our products.

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Q: What makes you stand out from your competition?

A: OakGate Technology’s biggest advantage is its employees. The company was founded by a team from HP’s enterprise storage division. Many in our engineers pioneered key storage I/O technologies that later became de-facto industry standards. In addition to this world-class engineering team, we have a management team that has built start-up businesses as well as provided leadership to large technology organizations worldwide.

Additionally, our validation platform is the most advanced and most widely used test software for SSDs and flash storage. Moreover, the breadth of our customer set gives us insight into the direction of the industry and its best practices which are reflected in our products. It’s customer inputs that led us to develop our new WorkloadIntelligence analytics and replay product line that will help hyperscale data centers optimize their storage infrastructure and SSD suppliers optimize the enterprise SSDs that are sold into these data centers.

Q: What is on the roadmap for OakGate Technology moving forward?

A: OakGate Technology has a solid track record of delivering cutting edge functionality for our customers. For NVMe protocol validation, OakGate has been a clear industry leader. We were the first to deliver support for key NVMe 1.2 features such as dual port, multiple namespaces and MI when we rolled out our third generation SVF in late 2016. We followed that up in late 2017 with implementation of NVMe 1.3 functionality such as streams and added several other enhancements. In 2018, we launched our fourth-generation SVF Pro with the industry’s most user friendly, flexible application called Enduro. There is no other solution on the market that matches Enduro’s rich feature set, robustness or functionality such as multi-tasking, powerful drag-n-drop windowing and on-screen help.

For 2019, we have been working on several pioneering areas of storage including NVMe over Fabric, Zoned Name Spaces and MI. Additionally, we are delivering our leading-edge WorkloadIntelligence Workload Analytics and Replay technology which will have a profound impact in helping hyperscale data centers optimize their storage infrastructure.