The Importance of a Controlled BOM
For engineers and technical electronic OEMs, a controlled bill of materials—or Controlled BOM—is one of the most important features of an industrial Flash storage device. A controlled BOM reduces the risk of unexpected downtime, corrupted data, and sudden device failures. Why are controlled BOMs so highly sought after? Here’s why.
What is a controlled BOM in Flash storage?
For any product, a BOM is a list of the parts that were used to build that product. For Flash storage, the BOM refers to the controller, Flash, printed circuit board, connector, lid set, and discrete components. The controller in Flash storage is run by firmware, which is another key component of the system.
Having a controlled BOM means that none of the parts listed in the BOM will be changed without notification to the purchasers. Typically, if a controlled BOM Flash storage device is going to have a parts change, the entire product number will be discontinued as part of life cycle management, and current customers will be notified and given the opportunity to make a final purchase before any changes are made.
What makes a controlled BOM important?
Changing any part of a Flash storage device can inadvertently impact the way it acts in a system in which it is installed. When engineers choose Flash storage for use in a system, it may then be used in industrial grade products in highly sensitive industries as well as in a wide range of consumer products. A change in parts of the Flash storage can cause these systems to malfunction as they are being used in the field, causing downtime and data loss. Fixing lost data triggered by this change could be prohibitively expensive or not possible at all.
Changing the firmware of the controller can be an especially problematic issue, since it can introduce a range of bugs into the system and cause far-reaching compatibility errors. Because Flash products without a controlled BOM undergo routine firmware updates in order to conserve costs, engineers cannot be confident that they won’t experience these kinds of errors if they are not sure that their BOMs are controlled.
How can I tell if a Flash memory device has a controlled BOM?
This information should be verified with the manufacturer and is typically included in the product information. If a controlled or locked BOM is not listed as a product feature, the memory device almost certainly does not have it.