Technical Success Story: Life Cycle Management with SMART Technology
The technology that makes flash storage so fast and reliable also limits the amount of time it can be used effectively, as there are a limited number of reads and writes a flash storage card can complete. At Delkin, extending the lifespan of flash storage product is a core part of every product we design, as we understand that our customers need the longest life possible out of their industrial storage solutions, and SMART technology can help. Because all forms of flash storage, no matter the supplier, will eventually wear out, being able to predict when that end of life is coming is valuable to OEMs.
A solution to managing wear is SMART technology. The SMART command in industrial grade flash storage gives OEMs the ability to predict the end of the lifecycle of a memory card, so that they can plan accordingly. This technology cuts downtime and allows for more efficient scheduling of preventative maintenance. Here is a look at how Delkin used SMART capabilities to help one customer solve the challenge of life cycle management.
Digital signage is one industry that relies heavily on embedded flash storage—and one in which a storage failure is visible to everyone as soon as it occurs. Digital signage is used in traffic signs, stadiums, public meeting spaces, retail stores, transportation, and more. A single flash storage failure can cause chaotic or unsafe conditions or loss of sales. As such, OEMs who work with digital signage cannot afford to be lax about flash storage life cycle management.
This company assumed that they could avoid life cycle issues by choosing industrial grade flash storage cards. However, cards do not always outlast the hardware in digital signage, even if they are designed for industrial use. The customer needed a way to avoid the expense and hassle of a surprise life cycle failure by predicting when a card was nearing the end of its usefulness.
Delkin’s Customer Applications Team first worked to better understand the needs of the customer. Using the same usage models as the flash storage cards that the customer was using, Delkin identified the signs that a card was beginning to reach the end of its life cycle. The customer wanted to move so aggressively to avoid failures in the field that they wanted to replace cards that had 15% of their useful life left. Delkin was able to identify when this threshold was reached in the customer’s cards.
Using that information, Delkin was able to help the customer program their application to run SMART evaluations periodically to determine flash endurance using SMART commands. This data was then compared against five criteria identified by Delkin as indicative of a card reaching the threshold for replacement. As such, the customer was able to completely avoid unexpected data loss and to identify cards that were wearing out before they could cause any issues.
SMART technology provides valuable information about P/E cycles per block, spare blocks remaining, number of normal and abnormal startups, and much more. Delkin’s Customer Applications team can help you solve host storage failures and harness the power of SMART technology to meet your flash storage needs. Bring your concerns to the team to find out what solutions could work for you.