Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What it is I do for a living

I've had a few people ask me over the last couple of weeks what it is, exactly, that I do.

Currently, I am a DVT Engineer for a company that manufactures storage area network (SAN) hardware in the form of chips, host bus adapters, switches, storage services platforms and routers for iSCSI and fibre channel.

What this means is...

After development thinks they have a viable product, we get prototypes sent to us for testing. We make sure it:

a) works
b) performs within specifications
c) is reliable
d) is compatible with various vendors (including our competitors)
e) meets all compliance criteria
f) meets OEM requirements
g) meets standards

DVT stands for design verification testing.

We do this every time a driver, firmware or bios is updated, or a new product is released. And, you know those wonderful drivers that come in your Windows, Red Hat, SuSe, MAC, etc operating systems? Guess who gets to test to make certain that the ones my company makes work? Yeah - my team. So, yes, we have to be conversent in most operating systems - some the "normal" user would never interface with like Xen Source, VM Ware, Solaris and AIX.

Right now, I'm working on a beta operating system that is to be released soon. Verifying that the drivers work, that the boards do what they are supposed to do, that nothing hangs up or crashes the system. What I am not doing is testing their complete operating system - that's for them to do.

What I am doing is testing our driver and hardware with their operating system installed to make sure the stuff we are responsible for works. Now, if I run across bugs in their operating system while I do this, then I will submit a trouble to them for them to fix...but that's not part of my job if it doesn't conflict with our product and is solely an operating system issue. But, I use those products myself, when they hit the market - I kinda like them working. *grins*

Also, the two worlds overlap in a lot of places, so many times I can't verify that my stuff is working until their stuff gets straightened out. And sometimes, it's a combination of the two and how they are talking (or not) to each other that is the issue.

I live in a world of bits and bytes...

A world you come into every day if you use things like Flickr, Blogger, GMail, Google, Yahoo or play any online games (World of Warcraft anyone?)...everything that requires massive amounts of storage.

Your company (if it is of a fairly good size) probably even has a SAN setup somewhere to store all the backups of data, email, etc. And in that SAN, I can just about guarantee you will see the name of my company somewhere.