EDIT: I need to sign off now. Thank you for all the great questions, I had a great time!

Hi Reddit,

I am Rob Crooke, Intel Vice President and General Manager of the Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group and I am here to answer your questions!

The NVM Solutions Group is responsible for everything Solid-State Drive (SSD) that Intel offers and here's a little insight into what we are doing to improve the world of data storage.

Proof Bio

If you happen to be an Intel employee, please do not release Confidential Information.

Comments: 122 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

Crrrrraig14 karma

A few questions:

  • How long do you think it will take for high-capacity SSDs (1TB and above) to become mainstream and affordable?

  • Is speed the only reason I should be looking into an Intel SSD?

  • Are there any other functional perks of owning an Intel SSD, like the exclusive WiDi tech built into Intel CPUs?

RobCrooke17 karma

  1. Affordability depends on your use. In cloud data centers 1TB is already affordable given the capability they deliver (faster searches...) For individuals the sweet spot seems to be between 180 and 240GB. If you use Moore's law (doubling every ~1.5-2 years) it would take 4-6 years for the sweet spot to move to 1TB
  2. The Speed of SSDs is Awesome!!! They are also generally much more reliable and enable lower power.
  3. Our new Pro series SSDs bring new security and manageability feature for the IT Pro.

brownboy1314 karma

What do you think the next 'big' storage medium will be (after SSDs)?

RobCrooke22 karma

Something Intel invents... but we can't tell you now. :)

slickdick1011 karma

How do you like the culture at Intel? Do they allow alcohol on campus like many other competing tech companies?

RobCrooke11 karma

I have worked at Intel a long time and stay because I really like it. You work on cool new technology with really smart people on a scale that changes the world. As far as Alcohol goes we allow it at events, but don't serve it in the cafeteria (in the US.)

uberlad9 karma


RobCrooke21 karma

You will likely spend a lot of time at work. Find a job where you get to work on things you are excited about as you will inevitably be good at it and it will be fun. Once there... look for a good manager.

IMHO_GUY8 karma

What keeps you up at night?

RobCrooke7 karma

As a General manager I am responsible for all the aspects of the business... so I have plenty of worries... but I sleep pretty well anyway.

internethertspert7 karma

Hi Rob, 1)What did your career path look like to be at the position you are now? For those who don't know, maybe you can give a little background on your expertise in SSD's. 2)What was your biggest turning point at Intel that put you in a big leadership position? Thanks for the AMA!

RobCrooke6 karma

I am a computer engineer by training and worked as one, then sales, then marketing, then General management then engineering management, then general management... I have been the SSD GM for the last two years.

I was in the right place at the right time and worked hard.

iTz_SLammi7 karma

Hey Rob,

How do you like/make your coffee at the Intel cafe?

RobCrooke15 karma

Very Bold and Black. I drink coffee all morning.

bubbaeremite6 karma


RobCrooke7 karma

They are a very real solution for people with a small working set of data, but a large capacity need. As SSDs get more cost effective they will cover more of a user's data requirements

migit1286 karma


RobCrooke3 karma

Not sure who the colleague is... my advice is to understand the strategic direction of Intel, then your group and focus on work that helps us achieve that.

ouibjamn4 karma

What's the likelihood of the following:

  • NSG being sold to Micron?
  • NSG being spun off by both JDP partners into its own entity?
  • NSG California sites being relocated to a central location, either Boise or Lehi?

RobCrooke1 karma

All of these items are very low probability.

internethertspert4 karma

After watching the video, a more important question comes to mind. How is your hair so perfect? Whats your secret?

RobCrooke7 karma

Video magic.

wto6053 karma

Hi Rob, former NSG intern.

I loved working with the group and our (ssd) products, but moved on since I wanted to pursue logic/physical design and had opportunities with a CPU group.

My question is where our relationship with Micron is going, especially with respect to future memory technologies. Will Intel have an active engineering role in the design of future NVM die, or will we mostly provide capital and/or production support?

RobCrooke1 karma

Our relationship with Micron is great. We have a joint development program on technology and expect it to continue.

puredemo3 karma

Hi Rob, nice video.

  • What RAID system do you recommend with your SSDs for enterprise server use?

  • How does ERC work on SSDs? Is it still necessary for enterprise?

  • Is worrying about life expectancy with SSD still a problem, since SSD endurance is based simply on the number of times an individual cell can be written?


RobCrooke2 karma

  1. We validate with a ton of different RAID cards (virtually all of the newer ones for sure.) It would depend on what you are using it for. You might look at our support site for more specifics.
  2. We still use various forms of ERC in all products.
  3. People had many concerns in the early days of SSDs, but today it is not really an issue. At Intel we have >100,000 SSDs deployed in our notebooks and haven't seen this as an issue. We have an SSD toolbox available for our SSDs that lets you look at this if you want. I have had my notebook for 6 months and still have >99% life left on the drive (I just checked.)

sharilhamlin3 karma

What's your favorite thing about your job?

RobCrooke3 karma

The diversity of the challenges. One day it is about marketing, the next about manufacturing and another about R&D for technology.

5under62 karma

When you get to the level you are at within Intel, how do you manage it all? How do you keep focused on your duties and responsibilities? What skills did you master to get to your position? How do you understand a business so complex and reaching?

RobCrooke3 karma

The key is to prioritize your work and focus on the most important things (as opposed to the easiest.) the key to understanding the complexity is to listen to the people that are the experts in your group and learn from them.

midnightblade2 karma

Hi Rob,

  • How does Intel expect to compete in a market where SSDs have begun to become commoditized? Does Intel intend to continue to pursue the consumer market? From a quick perusal of newegg, Intel's SSD products are not priced very competitively against the competition. This is a market worth pursuing for Intel or are the margins too low?

  • How has the Ultrabook push affected sales of Intel NAND devices? Are companies generally buying SSD's/NAND from Intel or are they buying them from 3rd party companies? Why does Intel not implement some sort of requirement for an Intel based SSD for Ultrabooks the same way they did with Intel Wireless cards for Centrino?

  • Which Intel site do you think has the best cafe and why is it not Folsom?


RobCrooke2 karma

  1. The Storage market is very big and the SSD market segment is fast growing as the attach rate is still quite low for SSDs. We are working to cover all market segments within SSDs, but have been focusing on Data Center and Corporate clients. We get great feedback on the quality of our drives from consumers.
  2. The Intel Ultrabook program has really reinvigorated innovation in the PC segment. SSDs enable new and innovative form factors because they are lower power and not constrained by mechanical, rotating media dimensions.
  3. I eat at many Intel Cafes and don't really have a favorite. I do really appreciate the salad bars.

EvilTech51502 karma

I heard a joke once, from an old Intel employee that went something like. "We build logic here, we don't USE it!"

Has the culture that spawned this joke changed for the better, or just mutated into something else?

Honestly though, I think it's funnier than Microsoft's unofficial slogan of "Change the World Or Go HOME!!!"

RobCrooke3 karma

I actually haven't heard that one. My view is that we are very data based in our decision making.

richie_m_nixon1 karma

Hey Rob, how much do you see Intel's SSD sales helping the company as a whole? Any new, exciting products on the rise?

RobCrooke1 karma

SSD is a fast growing market so we are helping. We recently launched out third generation products for the data center that are consistently amazing. We also launched our new Pro series product that are built for business and engineered for IT.

roaring_peanug1 karma

2 questions. 1) What attributes served you best in getting to where you are today? eg. technical expertise? interpersonal skills? 2) What is the core responsibility of a VP? eg. what is directly under your jurisdiction/influence.

RobCrooke1 karma

  1. Intel is a technology company so it is a huge benefit to be technical. I think this biggest "attribute" is being curious and willing to listen and learn from others.
  2. VPs can have different responsibilities, but as a general manager my role is to make sure we have a solid long term strategy and look across all functions and make sure we are operating well as a holistic business and team.

checho41 karma

How closely tied is Intel's SSD business to its processor business? How does declining PC sales affect the Intel SSD group? Does Intel provide any SSD/memory solutions to products with competitors (Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Samsung, etc)?

RobCrooke1 karma

SSDs break the I/O bottle neck and unleash the CPU to deliver a better user experience (helping make PCs and servers better products.) The attach rate to the PC market is quite low so there is plenty of growth left for SSDs.