My latest trip to the US has been especially interesting, I’ve been over here as part of the G33k Council, every 6 months a selection of Pure Storage technical employees from the global sales organisation are selected to meet with Engineering and Support to provide feedback about what’s going on in the field.
As part of this trip (thanks again to MC) I got the chance to visit a nearby manufacturing facility that makes many different type of flash products for local and international companies, I can’t mention who specifically but let’s just say the application ranges from consumer goods like memory sticks/usb keys/SD or CF cards through to enterprise SSD’s and DRAM.
It was amazing to get on the factory floor (overalls ready!) and see the designing of custom Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), the way capacitors are printed directly onto the boards, flash memory chips are then mounted and finally the finished product is baked! Throughout this production process there’s a constant level of Q&A continually conducted to make sure quality is maintained before the finished product is shipped out of the factory.
What I think was really interesting was that although a lot of the steps were fully automated by industrial machinery (we all need a bit of automation!), human intervention was still required to oversea a lot of the Q&A (thank goodness we’re still needed!)
While unsurprisingly all the flash memory is actually imported from overseas, the PCBs themselves are custom designed and built onsite to customer spec before all the components are assembled along with the various quality assurance steps. It was really fascinating to follow the production line from bare components all the way through to the finished product.
To top off the night we were fortunate enough to get a ride in a Maserati! Although the crowed freeways of the bay area meant we were not going that fast, it sure was a stylish and comfortable ride back to the hotel!
I have to say I was quite surprised to see flash devices being manufactured in Silicon Valley, but it really bought home the fact that hardware will always be needed, even in an SDDC world! It goes to show that even technology can be locally made right in the centre of Silicon Valley!