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Compliance and Interoperability: Critical Indicators of Technology Success

2 min read
By: Jim Pappas, Director of Technology Initiatives, Intel and Mihaela Erler, Industry Enabling Manager, Intel Corporation

Today there are several standards developing organizations (SDOs) that create industry specifications for new technologies that meet the evolving needs of consumers. Some of the most successful technologies that have been broadly adopted into billions of devices include USB, Wi-Fi, and PCI Express®.

What did these SDOs do to achieve this level of success? There are many factors that must be executed properly in order for an initiative to succeed but there is one that particularly stands out. The most successful technologies share a high level of commitment to compliance and interoperability (C&I).

Why Compliance and Interoperability Matters?

In some SDOs there is the sentiment that their final goal is to create a good specification, but that is only the first step to enable a broad ecosystem. Nobody has ever written a perfect spec and it is unlikely anyone ever will. Various intelligent people can read the same specification and come to different conclusions. This is where compliance and interoperability become important.

Great SDOs comprehend compliance as part of the process of writing a specification. As they develop the spec, they are thinking about how they would test to make sure a product is compliant and build that into the specification. Not only does this give the industry what they need, but this leadership also sets the expectation that compliance is important.

However, compliance is not enough. Ultimately what end users really value is an ecosystem where products are interoperable, and compliance is only the first step. To deliver this, the entire industry needs to band together to test for interoperability between products. SDOs often host industry plugfests where companies test the interoperability of their products with other manufacturers, including their competition. Additionally, leadership companies augment formal SDOs programs with their own C&I testing. As the ecosystem grows, interoperability becomes even harder to achieve and compliance programs become even more important.

Compliance and Interoperability go hand in hand

CXL™ Consortium Compliance and Interoperability Program

The CXL™ Consortium believes that compliance and interoperability are core tenants in our commitment to creating a successful technology standard that will be deployed in commercially available systems from multiple vendors.

The Compliance Working Group (CWG) was established along with the launch of the CXL Consortium and it is currently creating our formal program. SDOs can take different approaches to launching a C&I program. One approach is to develop the specifications first, and then develop separate test specifications. For Compute Express Link™ (CXL), we are building C&I into our process and have included a chapter on compliance in the CXL 1.1 specification. We are planning to roll out our C&I program later this year.

Join the Compliance Working Group

If you’d like to learn more about our C&I program, we encourage you to join and get involved. The CXL Consortium offers two membership levels, Adopter or Contributor. As a Contributor, you can participate in the CWG, influence the direction of the technology, access the intermediate specifications, and more. You can learn more about the benefits of becoming a member here. Currently we have the following working groups: Compliance, Memory System, PHY, Protocol, Software & Systems, and Marketing. For more information, please contact


Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on our C&I program.

For more information on CXL, download our white paper: Introduction to Compute Express Link™