Failure Analysis: Spotlight on SMART Features
No matter how rugged and robust a flash data storage device is, it will eventually fail. The time before an expected failure depends on many factors, such as the usage and storage temperatures, and the frequency with which data are programmed and erased. Even if you choose a remarkably rugged flash drive for your application, it is still important to conduct a proper failure analysis so that the time of failure can be anticipated and the drive or card may be swapped out before the failure occurs.
Potential Consequences of Poor Failure Analysis
Without proper failure analysis, SSDs and other flash storage devices can fail unexpectedly. This can lead to severe consequences for users. In the transportation industry, for instance, the unexpected failure of mission critical data may lead to the compromising of safety features that drivers rely upon to prevent accidents.
In manufacturing automation, unexpected data device failures can cause machinery to malfunction, potentially leading to a costly and disruptive cessation of production. A similar issue can be seen in the gaming industry. Customer dissatisfaction with console failures can reflect poorly on the company that provides the devices. The solution is better failure analysis through the use of SMART features on flash storage devices.
Definition of SMART
SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. Essentially, this feature performs self-diagnostic functions. It is an automated feature that can be enabled on a platform’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). The SMART function runs in the background, collecting data and detecting potential problems. Then, it transmits that information back to the BIOS. If the BIOS determines that the storage device is at imminent risk of failure, it will send a warning message to the user.
Customization Options for SMART
Certain components of the SMART feature can be customized to suit the needs of engineers and OEMs. For example, if a particular project requires a warning of device failure well in advance of the anticipated failure, the parameters can be adjusted so that the drives or cards can be swapped out far ahead of when the failure is expected to occur.
Delkin incorporates the SMART feature into a wide selection of flash storage devices. These include SSDs and CompactFlash (CF) cards, which are all customizable to suit the exact specifications of the project engineer or OEM. Contact Delkin’s Customer Applications team today to discuss the selection of appropriate flash data storage devices for your application.
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