Director of firmware development was my position at an ambitious start-up seeking to redefine the storage industry. The underlying storage technology seemed capable of leapfrogging magnetic drive densities by at least a decade (including HAMR drives). I was hired to be responsible for SATA drive firmware development, but ended up with heaps more 😉
On the business side, my responsibilities included creating technology demonstrators (for investors), wear testers, predictive models, patents, contract negotiation, planning, schedules, and liaison to design, manufacturing, Q/A, and test. The people at DVI were competent, skilled individuals with many years of disk drive development & manufacturing experience, and were a joy to work with (for the most part).
On the development side, some of my tasks were to create developer specifications & environments, hire & integrate engineers and developers, compartmentalize specialized (FPGA) firmware and general (C) code development, specify/purchase IP, develop prototypes, create (HIL) test frameworks to quickly test & validate changes, specify and purchase test equipment & software, and code/mill/solder/design, as necessary (to name some of the tasks).
Doing all this required more than a few (late) nights at the office (note plaid covered cot):
The company had a great start, and we accomplished, with a relatively small amount of capital, what had not been done before. Unfortunately, raising the second round of funding was delayed (for a number of reasons), and the company stalled.
I’d like to give a note of thanks to Hiren Patel at Intelliprop for all his help with the SATA IP; he has a great group of folks there.
Also noted is Eli Billauer, freelance Electrical Engineer. His tech blog is great, and he was very helpful with embedding microblaze soft-core processors running linux(!); He is personable, very knowledgeable, and I highly recommend him. His site contains a treasure-trove of FPGA information & experience. If you’re looking for IP that allows you to easily DMA over PCIe on windows or Linux, then check out Xillybus.