Q. How do you increase the longevity of products?
A. All our products are based on open standards, which define the physical form factor and the connectivity of the product. This makes it very easy for the customer to source the next generation of a product in five or ten years’ time with just a slot-in replacement. This enables them to execute a technology transition when they want.
In addition, we have developed a rigorous process to manage the lifecycle of our products by selecting the components for our products very carefully. We make sure that we have multiple sources for each component. So if one component reaches end-of-life, we have an alternative for that. We also have strategies to work through end-of-life component issues.
Q. How do you deal with component end-of-life issues?
A. We have multiple strategies. We can buy components in a higher volume and store them. We can also develop fit, form and functional replacements for those components so that no change is needed in the software. So we try to get the best of both worlds: We enhance longevity of our products, and at the same time, we provide easier transition to new products using open standards.
Q. What are the technical challenges when working with the new-generation silicon?
A. It is not with the geometry of the products, but it has more to do with the speed of the memory and fabric interfaces. Clock speeds are significantly higher than they were a few years ago, and we need to make sure that our products featuring these chips are completely reliable for the lifespan of the products. So we do what we call environmental design verification testing, where we test our products slightly outside the temperature range that the products were designed for.
We also slightly vary the clock speed and frequency of our products so that we can make sure that small variations in the silicon will not actually detract from the performance of board-level products. By using this method, we are able to make sure that that our board or product will work in five years time as it does today.