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By PURPLELEC | 24 October 2023 | 0 Comments

Industrial Grade SSD Flash Controller

  The flash memory controller of industrial-grade SSD must support advanced flash memory management to ensure more robust operation and longer-lasting data through lower write amplification factor, higher data integrity and higher data retention rate. End-to-end data path protection provides a further means to ensure data integrity across the entire processing block. Preventing unauthorized access is another important feature of industrial-grade SSDs. This is provided by TCG Opal by encrypting data in accordance with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and supporting the Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) standard.
  Most consumer SSDs come with TLC or 3D QLC NAND flash memory. While most people still believe that industrial-grade SSDs should come with SLC or 3D MLC NAND flash memory, this is not absolutely necessary. SLC NAND flash was chosen because of its high endurance and retention compared to TLC NAND flash, especially in environments exceeding the commercial temperature range from 0°C to 70°C.
industrial-grade SSDs
  However, the growing demand for storage capacity often requires the use of lower-cost technologies - SLC flash may simply not have the required capacity, or the initial price may not seem competitive.
  Nonetheless, certain flash memory controllers support a feature that allows it to operate MLC or 3D TLC flash with comparable persistence and data retention capabilities to SLC flash - this mode is called pseudo-SLC (pSLC). It opens the possibility of choosing MLC or TLC flash memory, but at the same time, operating with availability close to SLC flash memory. Sophisticated controllers support pseudo operating modes that trade reliability for capacity.
  One of the most important characteristics of industrial-grade SSDs is power failure robustness. Embedded devices in industrial environments are expected to be immune to sudden power outages and maintain data integrity during such events. The high quality controller implements a series of internal voltage sensors to monitor the power supply. Depending on the manufacturer, it can be configured individually for each application.
  If, during a power outage, the power supply falls below the configured threshold, the firmware will immediately activate the flash write protect trigger and take further action to protect data and set the application to a safe shutdown. Again, the flash controller is responsible for handling such events, which is an essential difference from consumer devices.
  Although flash memory comes in different sizes, interfaces and capacities, the technology behind it is the same. It is inherently unreliable by design, and the redundancy of the controller and flash memory ultimately determines the life cycle and quality of the SSD. This is why industrial-grade SSDs must be compatible with the latest flash memories, provide highly reliable operating modes, powerful error correction units, and advanced flash redundancy management.

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