Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Torridon Test System?

The Torridon Test System from Quarch is an in innovative solution designed to greatly improve the testing of data storage systems. Torridon systems can reduce time to market by up to 30% whilst dramatically improving test coverage.

Torridon allows fully automated insertion and removal of drives, canisters, and cables, and low-level fault injection within a storage system. With Torridon you can find bugs more quickly and test more comprehensively, every failure is 100% reproducible reducing debug time.

The modular configuration allows cost effective testing of both large and small systems. Torridon solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly into your existing test environment.

By automating and expanding your test coverage, Torridon helps you to get to market faster and with a more reliable product.

Where can the Torridon system help me?

Design Verification Testing

A cheap and easy to use bench test setup allows you to test your system's hot-swap performance and resiliency through hardware level fault injection. Instead of manually hot-plugging a drive, you can automate the sequence with precise timing. This allows verification of boundary conditions where your hot-swap system might fail. Hot-Swap and timing related failures are notoriously difficult to replicate, the Torridon system will reproduce the exact same test case every time.

Fault injection is also greatly improved. Instead of physically altering hardware, broken circuit/short circuit and glitch faults can be created quickly and easily in a live system. Tests that were difficult and time consuming can now be performed in a matter of seconds.

Fault injection is also greatly improved. Instead of physically altering hardware, broken circuit/short circuit and glitch faults can be created quickly and easily in a live system. Tests that were difficult and time consuming can now be performed in a matter of seconds.

Regression Testing

Running a sequence of tests after each change to software or hardware is essential to maintain quality. The Torridon System can greatly increase the speed, consistency and coverage of these tests.

By removing the manual element from hot-plugs and fault injection, a system can be tested more thoroughly and much faster. Human error is greatly reduced and test engineers can be freed up from plugging drives to perform higher level testing and analysis.

Load Testing

This form of testing involves running a storage system under heavy data load while performing a variety of hot-swap and failure events. In this way is it possible to measure the effect of faults on a live system and how quickly it can recover from single or multiple drive failures. Due to the complete automation, large numbers of cases can be tested with no extra effort.

This form of testing is essential for the development and testing of RAID systems.

Quality Assurance (QA) Testing

Automation delivers huge benefits in large scale QA test scenarios where many standard tests are repeated over multiple releases, hardware revisions, drive revisions etc. The Torridon Lite Control Modules are optimized for mass automation and provide an extremely rapid return on investment.

How much time and money can I save?

Initial costs as low as $1000. Proven ROI in as little as 1-3 months.

A major advantage of Torridon is it's scalability. A small test system can cost from only $1000. This on it's own would be enough to save days of work each time a new piece of hardware is tested.

Customer Example: A regression test took two engineers about one hour to complete. Over one hundred passes of the test were required each time a new software build was released.

Two engineers at $12.5k/person month for 100 hours = approx 3 weeks work = $18.75k per build.

The Torridon system that replaced the manual testing cost $17.5k.

That would give a return on investment after the first build. That figure does not even include the substantial benefits gained in saved time. The automated test took only 2 days to run instead of 3 weeks, dramatically reducing the time to market.

A final benefit in this case was the ability of the system to perform more in depth testing. The automated test actually did far more than the original manual method. Several potential failures in the RAID controller were found and fixed. If manual testing only had been used, these would probably have reached the field.

What sort of companies use the Torridon System?

Tier 1 storage vendors use Quarch

The Torridon Test System has been on the market for over 4 years. We have test equipment in almost every one of the top disk storage companies. Here the systems are used in the various stages of development test and qualification.

Systems range in size from a few control modules on an R&D engineers bench up to 600+ modules in a warehouse of storage arrays. Torridon systems are testing RAID systems, JBOD's Drives and Storage infrastructure.

OEMs use Quarch

Companies such as Xyratex, the world's largest supplier of OEM storage Systems, use Torridon Test Automation.

Developers use Quarch

Torridon has also been used in a number of supporting industries. This includes the development of driver software for hard disks and verifying the silicon on RAID controller chips.

We have over many well known customers from silicon companies, mother board designers and SSD manufacturers to software companies and social networks.

What is the difference between module ranges?

High Speed Control Modules

These are advanced control modules. They include all the features of the standard module (except for power rail shorting). They also add full switching of the high speed SAS data signals and the ability to add glitches to any signal (down to a 50nS interval), this enables the engineer to create data corruption and SAS faults previously available only through the use of expensive traffic generators.

Lite Control Modules

Lite modules are designed for simple drive insertion and removal where cost is critical. They are normally used in large test systems and are available at a substantial volume discount. Lite modules start with the same feature set as the standard modules but do not support pin bounce or power rail shorting. Their smaller form factor and can also be an advantage. Lite modules are ideal for QA testing where a large number of simple, repeated tests are required.

Physical Layer Switch / Mux Modules

Mux modules allow multiple devices to be switched automatically into a host. They allow reconfiguration of a test system and many modules can also 'forward' signals to a scope or analyser. Mux modules are available for many standard interfaces, including: SATA, Mini SAS HD, PCI, Display Port and more.

Power Modules

Power modules allow an external device (normally a disk drive or SSD) to be powered for testing. The power modules can margin power (up to 20% above nominal), output complex ramps and patterns, and perform high speed measurements on the output power consumption.

How can I control the Torridon System?

The Torridon System is very easy to control. Simple ASCII commands such as "RUN:GLITCH ONCE" are easy to understand and can be sent to the system from any standard script, programming language or 3rd party automation software.

Torridon devices are normally controlled via a Serial connection from a PC or Terminal Server, or a Telnet connection from a remote PC.

Quarch can supply a range of example scripts in Perl and Python to get you started quickly.