Flash Storage Solutions for Embedded Designs
High Reliability Flash SSDs, Cards and Modules for Industrial Applications
Posted by David Chen on Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014
Friends frequently ask me, "What is an Industrial SSD, and how does it differ from the one I buy on Amazon and Ebay ?". This question is quite loaded. From the first look, the Industrial and what I call "Consumer" versions of SSDs or Flash cards seem to be rather similar. Both made of semiconductors and Flash memory, both have similar capacity and the performance of the "Consumer" devices oftentimes is better than that of the "Industrial" type. On top of that, the "Industrial" SSDs typically cost more than twice than the "Consumer" ones. So what is the difference ??????
The answer is, however, quite elaborate. Industrial SSDs and Flash Cards are manufactured with the sole focus of providing superior reliability. This focus drives every facet of product development, from design considerations, component selection, test methodology, product tracking and Failure Analysis. Lets have a more detailed understanding:
Industrial Storage products are designed with a major focus on product reliability, this involves implementing higher layout tolerances than typically vendor recommended, considering ±20% of the temperature, voltage and power draw corners in the PCB design, fattening up ground and power traces, separating critical nets to reduce system noise, crosstalk and other potential circuit hazards.
Industrial grade products typically utilize highest reliability components. The Flash controller is usually selected by the highest ECC capability to give added protection against flash bit failures. The selected NAND flash components are specifically screened and rated for the end-product temperature requirements and not just sampled tested. The connector is chosen to meet the maximum number of insertions and enclosure casing is selected to reduce the EMI impact of the device operation.
Production release testing involves not just electrical continuity, but extensive endurance cycling, power on/off cycling, accelerated aging in environmental chamber, and industrial standards compliance. As part of environmental testing, the device is typically verified per MIL spec standards including, shock, vibration, humidity, warpage, ESD and EMI. In addition, Fortasa Memory Systems' product engineering measures the Write Amplification criteria and provides product life expectancy estimates for every production released device.
Every manufactured part is assigned a unique manufacturing part number which is derived from manufacturing date code, component selection, Firmware Version, etc. This unique number is programmed in the device firmware and can be retrieved for potential Failure Analysis.
In addition to product tracking, Fortasa products have unique firmware that tracks the device memory usage, block counts, memory failure condition, etc. This transparent device operation recorder enables detailed analysis in case of device failure.
Additionally every Fortasa device marketing part number is locked to a unique Bill of Material (BOM) of critical components such as Connector, PCB, Flash Controller, Firmware and Flash Component. Once the customer qualifies a Fortasa part any subsequent order with the same Marketing part number guarantees an identical device with the qualified product. Any changes to the critical components in the BOM mandate a Process Change Notice (PCN) with sufficient time for the customer to qualify the replacement device.
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