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Flash Storage Solutions for Embedded Designs
High Reliability Flash SSDs, Cards and Modules for Industrial Applications

Improving Flash SSD Endurance - Dynamic Data Wear Leveling

Posted by Biraj Jamalayam on Monday, 10 Feb 2014

As previously described, Flash memory inherently has limited endurance (number of program and erase cycles) before it starts to fail and information is no longer reliably retained. The intrinsic component endurance is specifically stated in the respective component data sheet. Typically, the inherent endurance is 3000 cycles for MLC NAND Flash and 60,000 cycles for SLC NAND Flash. In managed Flash storage devices such as SSDs or Flash cards, the expected life of the device is further reduced due to a Write Amplification phenomenon. To reverse this rapid degradation a Dynamic Weal Leveling algorithm was introduced.

At initialization, the Flash controller allocates all the formatted (unused) memory blocks into a unused block pool and sets up the usage counter for each block. With Dynamic Wear Leveling, every time a host would write new data to the storage module, Flash controller would select the block with least amount of usage and write the new data to it. Every time a host would erase a file, the Flash controller would free up (format) a block and place it in the unused block pool ranked by the amount of usage this block had gone through. This way with every new write or erase sequence the block usage would adjust and spread the memory wear from highest used block to the lowest use block. While this algorithm is highly beneficial to the dynamic (updated and erased) data, it doesn't improve the Flash wear for drive usage with large static partition, as with OS system files which are written once and don't typically get moved or updated, A complementary algorithm to spread the usage of the Flash blocks that store static data is called Static Data Wear Leveling.

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Sochi Security Cameras Require High Reliability Flash SSD

Posted by Samuel Nakhimovsky on Monday, 10 Feb 2014

Security Camera in Sochi

The installation of Security Cameras and other Surveillance equipment in 2014 Sochi was unprecedented. Protecting the most popular sports event in a politically unstable region became a critical priority to the Russian Politicians. In one of the the most controversial comment Dmitry Kozak, Russian deputy prime minister responsible for Olympic preparation, revealed that authorities have video from hotels showing what people do inside their hotel rooms. While comments like this add to the fear of unwanted personal intrusion, outside surveillance cameras are now the norm. In the name of protection, safety and security the installation of outside cameras has been extensive and unprecedented.


Unprecedented Olympics Security a Boon for SSD and Flash Storage Business

Posted by Samuel Nakhimovsky on Sunday, 09 Feb 2014

This week the world has turned it's attention to the sports greatest spectacle to come every four years - 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Winter sports fans from all over the world are tuning in to follow and support over 2800 athletes from the record 88 nations. As this spectacular sports extravaganza is destined to entertain and awe millions, the security concerns to keep the games safe and uninterrupted were of gigantic proportions. By rough estimates over 37,000 security personnel were deployed around Sochi to protect the venues from any threat of terrorist attack or other unwanted disruption. Additionally the 2014 Olympic Games will be in the undisputed gold medal category for the amount of surveillance, computing, drone and other top end electronic equipment to secure the venues, athletes, organizers and fans. The on site reporter explains the formidable security challenge in the hands of event organizers.

As the data feed is collected from every video and audio source, it is then quickly and efficiently analyzed by thousands of file servers equipped with the latest face and voice recognition software, extensive data bases, sorting algorithms, etc. All of this high tech computing might is a boon to the Flash memory industry. The external security cameras that are now ubiquitous on every street corner utilize and Flash card or module for file code storage. The pilot-less drones embed Flash SSDs to store critical code to drive and monitor drone operation. Huge servers include multiple racks of Enterprise SSDs for fast data access and processing.


Wear Leveling - Simplest Way to Increase SSD Life

Posted by Samuel Nakhimovsky on Thursday, 06 Feb 2014

The most concerning question lingering with most SSD customer is how long with the Flash drive last. Even Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) which have been used in ubiquitous computing applications for over 50 years and went through many generations of technical improvements are well known for frequent errors and even catastrophic failures. SSDs which are appreciated by the Industrial Application market segment for it's superior environmental and temperature specifications are also expected to offer greater reliability and useful life expectancy.

The major drawback that all Flash based storage solutions inherently possess is a limited number of write cycles that can be performed on any specific memory sector. This limit is uniquely specified in the data sheet for each memory component. Ranging from 3Kcycles for an MLC NAND Flash to 100Kcycles for an SLC NAND Flash, this finite threshold is a stated limit of the component's ability to perform as expected.

To overcome the component technical limitation, the Flash Controller developers have devised various system level solutions to improve the overall usage and life expectancy of the whole drive. A major part of this improvement solution is a Wear Leveling algorithm that spreads the uneven usage of specific memory block across the full memory address space.