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Why standards?

It's built right the first time

You can eliminate the expense and costly delays of corrective updates with our help. Finding design errors later in the product cycle gets very expensive, about an order of magnitude for each step in the process. We will help you find and correct these errors early, so that your engineering cycle is faster, and more predictable.

Everything works better

It's simple; things just work better when everybody agrees how they should work. There are standards in automobiles that make it so you can slip behind the wheel of a new car, and most things will be right where you expect them to be. Of course every thumb drive or other USB device "just works"; for the same reason. The same can be said for many other situations you don't ever consider- like airmasks in the operating room, elevator operations, or power outlets in your house/apartment.

What makes life easier for the consumer, makes life easier for every market stakeholder as well. Support costs drop, and profits go up. That brings a smile to everyone on the product chain, from the Original Vendor, to the ODM, then the importer, distributor, dealer, and finally the end user. This holds true, no matter what the product or market is. Of course, the shareholders of each entity along the way benefit as well.

Compatibility must be seen as a normal part of the engineering (design) process, just like reliability and security. At Illuminosi, we put an emphasis on compatibility and security. We will spend significant time with your product teams to help them understand what the latest best practices are and how they will impact your engineering, manufacturing, and support efforts.

Your customers are there

Standards participants fall in to two categories: vendors and customers. That means that the most influential customers will be present. If you are a vendor, that will give you an early indication of what features are the most important to your customers. These customers will be presenting new features to the standards committees before they show up in a procurement spec. Quite often, we will work with these companies on your behalf to draft new proposals and give your firm the credit and influence for these efforts. For every participant, it will give you clues about your competitors strategic directions.

Customer confidence increases

Your customers want reassurance that your products meet all the latest compatibility tests. One way to do that is by active involvement in industry standards groups. Letting your customers know that Illuminosi is involved gives them confidence in your compatibility and design choices.

If this makes sense, or if you need more information, contact us.

Levels of Engagement

In the standards world, there are four different levels of involvement that are used by all. Each one has it's advantages, drawbacks, and expense level. We will explain how each one operates, and give a list of the benefits, drawbacks, and expenses involved with each. We will work with you to define which methods work best for your needs, and we can craft any mix of engagement levels you want. Let's discuss this because it might make sense for your firm to undertake a mix of engagement strategies, that vary according to the standards group, or the market. Contact us if you have any questions on this.

The first is Gatherer, and this level of involvment is the most basic. All that is involved is to gather the latest release of each published standard and hand them off to your engineering department. The expenses for this are minimal, as most of these standards are publicly available once published. The main drawback with this approach is the increased time to market. Your development cannot begin until the standard is published, yet your competitors who are engaged directly with the standards will have their designs complete on the date of release. That puts you at least 15 months behind the rest of the market. Companies following this strategy will always be two generations behind their competition. A secondary risk of this approach is that the person gathering the information may not be aware of all the documents needed and where to find them. Your engineers could be designing with outdated documents. (OMG! Where is the errata?) A minor improvement on this idea is to join the groups, but not actually attend the meetings. We do not advise this approach for anyone.

The lowest level of involvement that most of the industry follows, we refer to as Observer. This level of involvement ensures that you will receive timely updates to all the standards that are "in process". That means that your engineers will be receiving updates to the standards as they occur. This gives a good lead time for little expense. You will need a representative to attend all the weekly meetings, and publish regular reports on what is changing in each area of the various specifications. She (or he) should understand the design issues that are being discussed in each meeting, although the normal situation here is for a clerk to simply copy the published meeting minutes and call it good. The key disadvantage here is that your firm will have no control over how the specifications are developing. Another problem is that important changes can fall through the cracks because of the technical level of the standards representative. There are a number of low-key firms who operate like this in the standards world.

The next rung on the standards ladder is the Influencer. This firm has decided it needs all the benefits of the Observer class, but they also want to help influence the specification by more active involvement in the standards committees. A vote is the simplest and most common method of influence. We are far more active at this level. We will work with the authors of proposals as they are being drafted, and constantly offer gentle suggestions to improve each proposal as they are being discussed in committee. Excellence in proof-reading is very important here, as well as a clear understanding of the dialect of Standard-ese being used by each standards group. The vast majority of firms involved in standards will fall into this category.

At the top of the standards ladder is the Leader class. This is the group that recognizes the importance of shaping the standards for the future. They have their own ideas about where the industry should be going; and how they want to lead this. They put strong leaders into the groups that matter to them, and give them autonomy to run as they see fit. Of course there are rules of engagement- there always are. Each company has their own Code of Ethics to follow, and so does Illuminosi. This group will not only do everything in the Observer category, but they will offer their own ideas as well. Quite often (but not always) they are listed as the lead author on new proposals. These proposals will closely mirror their own product roadmaps. Companies that operate as Leaders include: Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Western Digital, Toshiba, Nvidia and Synopsys. This is the most expensive role to take in the standards world, but the rewards of being seen as a market leader are manifold. To properly support this role, there is a larger than normal group dues budget, as there will be peripheral groups that must be engaged simply for the "hallway chatter" that goes on there relating to the groups more of interest. Then there is the increased headcount and travel budget need to support this correctly. Top-level leadership will include Board of Directors membership and those dues are higher as well. Also, workgroup chairs require extra time, which is a financial commitment for the employer.

Storage Standards Organizations

This is a list of the standards organizations we have been most active in with the computer storage community. If there are others you need access to, contact us, we may already be there.


The Non Volatile Memory Express organization has defined a high performance storage interface that is the current gold standard for performance.


The Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group defines the wire level protocols used by all computer peripherals including NVMe drives. Anyone who wants to produce NVMe drives needs to be active in this space, as it is constantly being improved.


The Storage Networking Industry Association is a strong organization that encompasses a wide variety of groups and topics all related to the storage industry. The most active area involves Form Factor standards by the SFF Technical Affiliate group, but there are others as well, such as Computational Storage and Object Drive that also have lots of innovation going on.


The Trusted Computing Group is responsible for the security design of all storage devices- NVMe, SAS and SATA.


The Joint Electron Device Engineering Council has been around since the days of vacuum tubes and is a major player in semiconductor device standards. There are special subgroups that are of interest to storage vendors that specialize in reliability testing and form factor specifications.


The master of all storage industry standards, the T10 Technical Committee is where the most influential firms in enterprise storage meet. This is where the SCSI commands are defined, as well as the SAS protocol. The primary marketplace for this work is enterprise storage.


The T13 Technical Committee is responsible for the SATA storage interface standard. There is some cross-over with the SATA-IO organization.


The Serial ATA International Organization provides the storage industry with guidance and support for implementing the SATA specification. There is some overlap with the T13 organization.


The Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum is responsible for the USB standards. If your firm is involved in retail or consumer devices, this group is one you will want to be involved with.

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