Technical Success Stories: P/E Cycles and Utilizing SMART Technology
A common situation faced by OEMs is the challenge of balancing reliability and industrial specifications with the higher unit cost for industrial grade product. An industrial grade SD SLC Flash memory card is often simply above the price margin to justify using in an application that is priced under $200. Does this mean that OEMs have to accept that possible failures that may happen by going with a consumer grade Flash storage product if the application requires constant P/E cycles? Here is a look at one customer’s experience.
This customer had come to expect that a failure would happen about once every year as SD cards wore out. They assumed that this was the best they could do. After all, they were using MLC cards, routinely exceeding the TBW standard and writing to the card 24 hours per day. They also had hosts in harsh temperature environments, including the desert and tropical zones, which would cause the cards to wear out even faster. For years, the customer simply threw out cards as they failed and replaced them with new cards. After seeing a white paper from Delkin about Flash endurance, they wondered if there might be another way.
After quizzing the customer about their environment, application software, and OS, the Delkin team realized that the customer was creating bricked cards by overworking them. Routinely, the customer was exceeding P/E cycles and consuming spare blocks. The failures were inevitable with the way that the cards were being used, and the company needed to continue to rely on MLC cards. Although the failures were going to happen, the way that the customer managed them could be changed with a simple solution from Delkin.
What Delkin Recommended
The customer didn’t need to stop the failures from happening. They instead needed to predict when card failures were about to occur. Delkin recommended that the customer use Delkin’s SMART commands support. Through the Delkin SMART dashboard and library, the customer could regularly get data about the estimated life left in a card, how many blocks remained, and how many erase cycles had occurred. This information would let the customer identify cards that were approaching failure stage before they actually failed, so that they could be replaced without malfunctioning in the field. This would solve the customer’s problem without any need to change their spending on Flash memory.
There is more than one way to solve a problem. By working together, Delkin and OEMs can come up with customized Flash storage solutions that achieve necessary goals at a price that fits within each customer’s price margin. Working with a supplier who is driven to come up with solutions can help customers solve problems that might seem unsolvable.
Do you need a host storage solution? Contact Delkin’s Customer Applications Team to get solutions-driven advice that is customized to your specific requirements.