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Cactus 2.5" rugged SLC SSD
military grade 2.5" SATA SLC SSDs
>2 million endurance cycles per block
-45C to 90C / quick erase 512GB in <15S
from Cactus Technologies

military SSD from Waitan
military SSD drives with secure erase
encryption and self-destruct
from Waitan

click here for more info about the Guardian SSD
highest integrity 2.5" military SATA SSDs
with SnapPurge and AES-256 encryption
TRRUST-STOR - from Microsemi

Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
2.5" removable military SSDs
for airborne apps - GbE / SATA / USB
from Targa Systems
Military & Rugged Storage

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor
Military projects started using SSDs as early as the 1970s because they were faster, more rugged and more reliable than hard drives.

By the late 1980s SSDs with standard 5.25" hard disk form factors and interfaces such as SCSI were easily available in the market (and evaluated for projects by the editor) but those were RAM SSDs rather than flash SSDs.

In the late 1980s some military manufacturers had started to offer special modules which could cushion hard drives from vibration. But wide deployments of HDDs in mobile applications were precluded by their unreliability (much worse than today), their inability to operate over extended temperature ranges or at high altitudes without significant data corruption.

Although flash memory products were widely used in embedded military systems - they were mainly used as arrays of chips which were directly compatible with the processor bus - rather than as virtualized hard drives.

By the end of the 1990s true flash SSDs (mostly with a parallel SCSI interface) were more commonplace (for those who could afford them) - and companies such as Adtron, BiTMICRO, Memtech and M-Systems had been evolving flash SSDs to directly replace hard drives in rugged and space constrained applications.

In 1999 - BiTMICRO launched an 18GB 3.5" flash SSD and in the years which followed military flash SSD makers expanded their capabilities with respect to capacity, performance, encryption and sanitization. And at price tags of $10k to $40k per unit they definitely weren't consumer products.

From about 2003 business managers in military SSD companies could see market reports which suggested that the market for SSDs would eventually be much bigger as the declining price of memory brought these products within the budgetary reach of more enterprise SSD users and later became cheap enough for consumers.

Although there are many similarities in the controller architecture and technology of consumer SSDs and military SSDs - because of a shared design heritage - there are important differences too. These go far beyond the MLC vs SLC endurance and data integrity issues which affect some heavy duty (high IOPS) commercial server apps.

What can be confusing, is that some manufacturers offer products for consumer, enterprise, industrial and military markets.

Because there is no standard method for defining what is an SSD and what features are included and what others are not - it's important for specifiers in this market to understand as many of the constituent parts of SSDs as they can - and what part they can play in a successful deployment. That should include a tick list of important features - most of which are not tested in performance evaluations.

I've long held the view that when it comes to reliability technologies - where the military leads- the commercial markets follow typically 5 to 10 years later.

Many of the techniques which are now widely used in enterprise flash SSDs such as wear leveling were pioneered by military and industrial SSD companies.

Other techniques such as SSD power management, thermal and EMI compatibility are lessons which came from rugged industrial and military markets and have a value and utility which many commercial systems designers don't yet fully appreciate. But I'm sure they will when they learn more about SSDs.

SSD ad - click for more info

This SSD rack smells somewhat fishy...
extracted from - an SSD conversation between and the founder of Texas Memory Systems - re fast high availability SSDs

I suggested that the SPOF concept (no single point of failure) in this (and competing systems) was in some ways misleading.

I said - "I bet if you immersed the whole rack in a tub of water - it would fail. And that's a single point of failure."

Holly Frost agreed that SPOF doesn't cover disasters like that.

But that reminded him of something that happened with a customer in the early 1990s.

They returned one of TMS's rackmount SSDs and aked for it to be replaced under warranty.

It was unusual so he was curious to see what they would find when they opened the rack up.

He sniffed around - expecting to get a whiff of burnt components (fast chips ran very hot in those days).

There was a funny smell. It was strong and damp - but not a living smell.

It smelled like seawater.

As it happens - the customer was the Navy.

Holly Frost said - when salt water gets into a system like this - it's not going to be reliable even if youi change the faulty chips.

So TMS replaced the unit (under warranty).

Returning to my suggestion about the tub of water - Holly said - take care to unplug the cables first.


past products from SSD market history

The product shown below, from Memtech (acquired by STEC in 2005) is an example of a 3.5" PATA SSD product featured here on in 2004 - the AT3550 Wolverine.

See also:- animal brands in the SSD market
low profile, high capacity  3.5" IDE military temperature range solid state disks from Memtech
3.5" low profile IDE
mil temp solid state disks
from Memtech

SSD ad - click for more info

more past products from SSD market history

Austin Semiconductor launched their SSD
on chip in September 2007 and advertised
it here on

Commercial temperature range true SSDs
designed to fit in 1 inch and smaller spaces
had been available from other vendors since
about 2002 - but in 2007 many new oems
entered the mil SSD chip market.

for details click on the links below
SSDoC from Austin Semiconductor - click for more info
Solid State Disk on Chip
from Austin Semiconductor

military SSDs -

industrial SSDs
security and SSDs
nand flash and other nvms
fast purge - secure erase SSDs
flash DIMMs and hybrid DIMMs
FITs and reliability models re SSDs
SSD endurance - myths and legends
hold up capacitors in 2.5" military SSDs
Themis ships rugged mobile datacenter platform

Editor:- November 17, 2015 - Themis Computer today announced immediate availability of a rugged Infiniband connected rackmount SSD system - called Hyper-Unity which integrates scalable SDS architecture software from Atlantis Computing with 4 ruggedized, 8 hot pluggable SSD drive, RES-XR5-1U rack mounted servers (MIL-STD-461) to run virtualized applications for rugged mobile datacenter applications.

"With the Hyper-Unity solution, Themis and Atlantis Computing are changing the way that the DoD buys and consumes storage" said Bill Kehret, president and CEO of Themis Computer. "The DoD requires enhanced reliability, ultra-fast, cost-effective storage from a trusted source – on hardware built to survive the rigors of demanding environments..."

toughening up DWPD

Editor:- October 28, 2015 - DWPD ratings have become a useful shortcut to filter enterprise SSDs because there's consensus that the number should somehow map into recognizable application zones and price bands.

Now we're seeing more military SSDs wearing DWPD badges too.

Toughening up DWPD - is my new blog about this trend.

Solidata ships military grade 2.5" MLC SSD with IOPS attitude

Editor:- October 16, 2015 - Solidata recently announced shipments of a new rugged 2.5" SATA military grade industrial SSD with 1TB raw (972.5GB usable) MLC SSD - for high capacity, performance demanding applications in harsh environments. R/W for 4KB blocks is approximately 70K IOPS.

Solidata says the new Rana which has regular RAM cache (1GB DDR) and 3 seconds capacitor hold up time is available with all the features you'd expect from a military grade SSD (such as full drive auto erase in under 18S) but - as it uses MLC instead of SLC - it can be a more cost-effective alternative for many applications such as airborne/ shipborne digital recording systems, pipeline inspection and remote DVRs.

Microsemi fills key gap in TRRUST-Stor military SSD line

Editor:- August 14, 2015 - Microsemi recently added a low power MO-300 mSATA SLC SSD to its TRRUST-Stor® family of secure / military SSDs.

The MM3064AN2R-M001 can be sanitized according to the NSA 9-12 protocol in less than 2 minutes.
Microsemi rugged MO-300 mSATA SSD
"In the advanced deep sleep low power mode, the SSD is only using 150mW and can be 'instant on.' said Bill Sorrentino, tactical marketing manager for Microsemi's Memory and Storage business.

"This feature will enable longer field life for battery powered applications. In addition, it will cut down on cooling required for products where heat is a concern."

...Later:- 2 weeks later - Microsemi expanded their secure rugged SSD range still further with a new XMC form factor SSD - the MXMCM256 - which has upto 512GB SLC in an air cooled or conduction cooled XMC mezzanine. Details include:-
  • XMC x2 PCIe interface per ANSI/VITA 42.3-2014
  • XMC SATA interface (configurable)
  • R/W speeds upto 185 MB/s
  • Continuously running built-in self-test

rugged COTS NAS case study - real-time helicopter data - case study by Curtiss-Wright

Editor:- July 21, 2015 - Curtiss-Wright recently published an applications note (pdf) which describes an 8TB rugged flash SSD based data recorder providing real-time sensor recording and playback capabilities (with multiple 200MB/s channels) for a helicopter platform which uses the company's COTS network storage boxes. the paper (pdf)

Editor's comments:- The most useful thing about this paper is it gives you an idea of the physical size and throughput if you've got something similar in mind.

The main thing which has changed with this type of application for SSDs in recent decades is the size, storage capacity, power consumption and price. (Sensors stay pretty much the same.)

For a comparison (of memory types and interfaces in rugged "mobile" SSD based data recorders) take a look at this story from 1988 - TMS History of Working With the US DoD (pdf)

Microsemi announces availability of 900GB usable 2.5" military SSDs in 9.5mm for those who loathe supercaps but love SLC

Editor:- July 16, 2015 - Designers of military and secure industrial systems for whom SLC is the only flash memory good enough - but who also needed higher capacities in their 2.5" SATA slots have - until recently - had little choice but to consider SSDs with significant internal capacitor holdup for their toughest designs. And that, in turn means a complex qualification process and really getting to know the internal ad hoc internal details of SSD architectures and related firmware which might well change considerably over the lifetime of their projects.

Meeting the need for those who prefer a simpler and more predictable controller architecture roadmap Microsemi today announced the availability of a new enhanced capacity model in its TRRUST-STOR line of military SSDs.

Microsemi's new MSD01TAM3R provides 1TB raw (900GB usable) SLC NAND flash in a 2.5" 9.5mm high package in a US made product with all the features you'd expect from this established military SSD product line.
  • no super caps or batteries:- thereby improving reliability and enabling reset-to-ready time of 1.5s
  • fast purge:- TRRUST-Purge™ clears encryption key in less than 30mS.
  • Hardware based fast erase, erasing the entire drive in less than 10 seconds with validation.
  • endurance:- 16 petabytes written (equivalent to 8.7 DWPD for 5 years - as a comparison for the curious - although 5 years is a short stretch for this class of SSD).
Microsemi says that because this SSD family uses its own Armor memory processor technology this also enables long-term availability to its customers. Facilitating the promise of "no forced EOL from firmware/controller availability issues."

Nantero gets $31 million funding for 300º C retention nvram

Editor:- June 2, 2015 - Nantero today announced a $31 million Series E financing round for its NRAM technology which the company says is scalable to below 5nm and which has >1,000 years retention at 85º C or more than 10 years at 300º C.

Editor's comments:- Nantero was founded 14 years ago, and the last time I wrote about them was in 2006.

But the size and educational sophistication of the SSD ecosystem today means that designers (and investors) can appreciate the nuances of difference which might be useful in extreme boundary applications.

Offering a scalability roadmap below the current commercial limits of flash, and ruggedness way beyond flash - Nantero's technology has attractive features which might lure SSD designers out of their 40 year comfort zone of trapped charges in semiconductor cells.

repairable vertical architecture could result in bigger ReRAM

Editor:- May 27, 2015 - ReRAM has already been promised for delivery in military SSDs (see Jan 2015 news below) but forthcoming advances in repairable vertical architecture could increase the density to the point where it's attractive as an intermediate level of memory in servers too...

In various interview clips in a recent article - 3D NAND, MRAM, RRAM: Emerging opportunities and challenges in Solid State Technology - the author Paula Doe reports how some of the contenders to flash memory see their roles within the SSD ecosystem. the article

Adesto has 16Mbit flash for +125 degrees C operation

Editor:- March 30, 2015 - Adesto Technologies today announced new serial flash products available upto 16Mbit densities which are designed to operate between -40 to +125 degrees Celsius.

Adesto's Fusion Serial Flash chips have ultra-deep power down which operates at <300nA and (as you'd expect in a low capacity device) small 256-byte page erase.

0 to 3 S - aspects of extreme diversity in SSD design

Editor:- March 23, 2015 - zero to three seconds are 2 numbers which demonstrate some of the extreme diversity in SSD design.

The examples in my new blog today are the hold up times inside 2 different 2.5" SATA SSDs designed for the military market. more

Microsemi's new BGA SSD

Editor:- March 17, 2015 - Microsemi today introduced its 2nd generation highly secure, rugged 64GB BGA SLC SSD - the MSM064. Features include:-
  • TRRUST-Purge clears encryption key in less than 30ms
miniature SSDs approx 1 inch and smaller
tiny SSDs
  • hardware-based self destruct - renders media data forensically unrecoverable in less than 10 seconds
  • anti malicious attack technology
  • no super caps or batteries
  • write protect option for read-only applications
"Embedded computing applications have increased the need for compact small form factor, highly secure and trusted data-at-rest protection," said B J Heggli, GM for Microsemi's memory and storage business. "We introduced this latest 64GB SSD in our BGA package to expressly meet the data security and extreme reliability requirements of a growing number of embedded applications. And because Microsemi owns the processor technology, customers are also assured of critical long-term availability."

"the most reliable 2.5 inch MLC SATA III SSD"
paves way to new budget military SSD - from Cactus

Editor:- February 23, 2015 - Cactus Technologies today announced the release of a new military 2.5" SATA SSD - the 230S PRO series - a military adapted variation of the company's proven 230S commercial grade family which Cactus describes as "the most reliable MLC based 2.5" SATA III SSD on the market."

Describing application roles Joseph Chang, VP of Engineering said that -it meets the price budget for applications where intense writing or extreme temperatures are not prevalent. Features include:-
  • hardware AES256 Encryption
  • Jumper Triggered Write Protect
  • NSA 9-12 or Quick Erase (can eliminate 512GB of data in <15 seconds)
  • 64GB to 640GB MLC capacities
  • Fixed BOM
  • Altitude spec of 100,000 feet
  • 3,000G Shock; 20G Vibration
  • Powerful Industrial ECC and Defect Management

Waitan launches secure self destructible SSDs for drone and other hostile military zone deployments

Fast Purge flash SSDs directory & articles
Fast Purge SSDs
Editor:- February 19, 2015 - It's rare for me to hear about a new company in the military SSD market (I thought I knew them all already) - but an exception to that is Waitan which this week launched a 2.5" SATA SSD with 4TB capacity with special security options to protect and purge data if the SSD gets into the wrong hands - the StellaHunter.

"We believe the remote controlled secure erase and self-destruction functions are highly valuable for UAV, drone, and other remote controlled and unmanned systems where data on the systems' storage drives is confidential, which needs to be destroyed from afar during accidents or emergency scenarios" said James Zheng, Waitan's CTO.

Editor's comments:- Remotely triggered data destruction isn't a new idea in secure SSDs - but it hasn't really taken hold in the past due to the disruptive effect of false positives - such as when a security perimeter has been incorrectly set up or when a pacifier signal is lost for a short time for innocent reasons.

For those reasons Waitan's StellaHunter is triggered by 2 or more preset conditions. Users can also choose whether the SSD should be reusable after the secure erase or whether the SSD should have a destructive erase.

MSS wraps 2.5" SSDs snugly for surveillance drone flights

Editor:- February 3, 2015 - Mountain Secure Systems today announced it has recently shipped an order of hot swappable 2.5" SATA SSD modules to a leading defense contractor, which will be integrated into a pod system for the MQ-9 Reaper Drone - for use by the U.S. military to monitor U.S. borders and gather video surveillance intelligence.

The removable 2.5" SATA memory devices mate with a customized docking bay and are environmentally sealed for protection against rapid decompression, EMI, humidity, dust, salt fog, immersion and condensation.
news image  - rugged SSD pod from  Mountain Secure
The hot swappable device (pdf) includes mini mil-circular connectors (rated for 100,000 insertion cycles), +28VDC power, EMI filters, and captive thumb screws for docking.

"Mountain Secure Systems is proud to be a part of this important program," said Ken Dickson, GM of Mountain Secure Systems. "Our ruggedized data storage solutions have been extremely dependable for both commercial and military customers."

Microsem licenses DPA countermeasure technologies from Rambus

storage security articles and news
SSD security
Editor:- January 29, 2015 - Rambus today announced that Microsemi will serve as reseller in the government and military sectors for certain differential power analysis (DPA) technologies developed by Rambus's cryptography research division.

Among other things - this agreement includes DPA Resistant AES cryptographic cores that offer chipmakers an easy-to-integrate solution to protect against side-channel attack vulnerabilities.

As the first major FPGA company to license DPA countermeasures, Microsemi has identified DPA as a significant vulnerability in chip security, specifically for the mission-critical applications found in government and military settings.

Flash Memory
flash & other nvm
Tezzaron designing ReRAM military SSDs

Editor:- January 23, 2015 - Tezzaron Semiconductor recently announced it will use Rambus's ReRAM technology in forthcoming storage-class 3D memory devices for military, aerospace and commercial applications. The first of these designs is scheduled for production in 2016.

"military SSD feature sets" - as distinct from "industrial"

Editor:- December 19, 2014 - What are the essential requirements of SSDs in military applications? You may think it's obvious. But if you're trying to summarize this in a list of attributes - you soon find that must-have assumptions which seemed safe a few years ago or in another project are starting to get a bit slippery. And when you're researching possible new suppliers of military SSDs - you may get attracted by one feature you saw in a news story or search result - and then later have to drop it from your list because of another (less advertised) feature - which is missing.

You know you're safe with hard military suppliers - who don't do anything but military SSDs - but many industrial SSD makers offer some products which also suit military applications too. But navigating through their product lines with your military needs filter - isn't always as easy as it should be.

That's why I was interested to see a new guide - Military SSD Feature Sets - from Cactus Technologies which is a clear set of statements about what the company can offer in the way of military variants adapted and enhanced from its embedded 2.5" SATA SSD product lines.

Within its industrial SSD product line - Cactus uses 43nm, 32nm and 25nm SLC NAND devices - more than are mentioned in its educational whitepaper - SLC vs MLC NAND and the Impact of Technology Scaling (pdf). The company told me they are going to update it - and when the new edition is available I'll let you know - but the original still makes good reading.

XES says FPGA based controllers are better for delaying EOL

Editor:- December 8, 2014 - For SSD specifiers in military applications - the biggest pressure on BOM stability has always come from obsolete components.

XES made some interesting comments about this in a press release related to the SSDs used in the company's rugged flight proven secure SSD based storage modules.

XES says "An important feature of these high-density, high-performance storage products is that they use an FPGA-based storage controller. This directly addresses EOL and Obsolescence issues commonly associated with foreign-designed and manufactured storage controllers, which often are discontinued before a system can go into production."

Foremay says MIL designers can now have 8TB in a 2.5" secure, rugged SATA SSD

Editor:- November 19, 2014 - How much capacity do you need in a 2.5" SSD?

That depends on the economics of your application and what other alternatives you have. But 2.5" SATA is emerging as a safe roadmap form factor for high capacity embedded projects in the rugged / military market - and if you are a designer with a mission critical app you can now stretch your capacity beyond the tame limits of the consumer and enterprise markets with a COTS (or soon to be off the shelf) SSD.

Jack Winters, CTO - Foremay said "When we asked our customers what we should do for the next step in SSDs, most replied with capacity, capacity and capacity."

That's why Foremay announced this week it is now offering 8TB as a variation in its encrypted, secure rugged SSD range.

Editor's comments:- I spoke to Foremay yesterday to clarify the availability versus "unveiling" status of the new 8TB SSDs.

Foremay said - We are accepting orders for small quantites now. Mass production is expected in Q1'2015

Skyera's skyHawk and the mobile center

Editor:- October 29, 2014 - Size weight and power (swap) savings and new opportunities for using efficiently designed high capacity rackmount SSDs in the mobile data center (specifically - hundreds of terabytes of flash in a Hummer for example) were among the things I discussed recently with Skyera's CEO - Frankie Roohparvar. You can read more about it in archived SSD news - Skyera's new skyHawk FS

A3CUBE will use military connectors in datacenter fabric

Editor:- August 4, 2014 - A3CUBE today announced that its emerging PCIe compatible distributed shared memory architecture - the RONNIEE Express - is supported by a military grade rugged connector technology. A3CUBE teamed with a specialist connector manufacturer AirBorn Inc on this aspect of the implemenetation.

A3CUBE says that RONNIE RIO is the first network adapter card designed with carrier-grade and military-grade reliability and is designed to bring mission-critical features to the standard data center interconnection network and data plane.

is there a market for I'M Intelligent Memory inside SSDs?

Editor:- June 4, 2014 - Are there applications in the SSD market for DRAM chips which integrate ECC correction inside the RAM chip - and which plug into standard JEDEC sockets?

That was the question put to me this afternoon by Thorsten Wronski - whose company MEMPHIS Electronic AG distributes I'M Intelligent Memory in Europe.

Thorsten told me he's had a good reaction from the SSD companies he's spoken to - which is why he phoned.

But in a long conversation about the economics and architectures of end to end error correction in SSDs and the different ratios of RAM cache to flash in SSDs - I told him that my initial reaction was he should look at embedded applications - which depend on the reliability of a single SSD - rather than enterprise systems in which the economics analysis for arrays point to a system wide solution rather than a point product fix.

The interesting thing is he said he's done tests on the new I'M memory as drop in replacements for unprotected memory designs- in which he accelerated the likely incidence of error events by increasing the interval between refreshes and raising the temperature.

Here's what he said.

"We assembled a standard 1GB unbuffered DIMM with 8 chips of 1Gbit ECC DRAM. Then we put this into a test board and ran RSTPro (a very strong memory test software). No error found.

Next we put the whole board into a temperature chamber at 95°C, which normally requires the refresh rate to be doubled (32mS instead of 64mS). No error found.

Finally we wrote a software to change the refresh-register of the CPU on the board, so we were able to set higher values. The highest possible was 750mS, so the DRAM did almost not get any more refreshes. Still it continued working in RSTPro without a single error for 24 hours.

We tried the same with Samsung and Hynix modules, but none of them came even close to those results. Most failed at refresh-rates of 150 to 200 mS, which is not bad indeed. Many more tests will follow."

Editor's comments:- the reason I mention this - is because adapting the refresh rate was one of the things mentioned in my recent blog - Are you ready to rethink RAM?

However - most of the leading SSDs in industrial markets don't have RAM caches for other reasons (to reduce the physical space, power consumption, hold-up time, or because don't need the performance). So I told Thorsten I don't see an industry wide demand inside SSDs. But some of you might already have thought of applications.

See also:- I'M ECC DRAM product brief (pdf)

Virtium promises 4 years "no requals"

Editor:- May 14, 2014 -Virtium today announced that its new 2nd generation industrial SSDs (SATA 3 compatible) can deliver upto 4x the read performance of its 1st generation StorFly models.

They're available in in 2.5", 1.8", M.2, mSATA, Slim SATA, and CFast form factors.

Commenting on the high amortized cost per unit of requalifying SSDs in embedded industrial markets Scott Phillips, director of marketing at Virtium (who recently joined the company from HGST) said about the issue - "With its 2nd generation StorFly SATA SSDs, Virtium is able to guarantee that its SLC-based StorFly PE class products will not cause a requal for at least 4 years."

Cactus adds write disable switch to industrial CFast

Editor:- April 10, 2014 - Cactus Technologies today announced that it has introduced a new security option - of having a physical write protect switch - in its 900S series of industrial SLC CFast SSDs.

It works like this. When the write protect switch is in the disabled position, the CFast card reads and writes as normal. When the switch is enabled, the card will read as normal, but all write attempts are ignored. Data already stored on the card is safe from overwrite.

"This write protect feature has already been successfully implemented in the gaming, military and other markets" said Sai-Ying Ng, President of Cactus Technologies.

See also:- SSD Security

we killed SLC faster than MLC

Editor:- March 14, 2014 - I've been talking to the experienced founders of an SSD company which is currently emerging from "under the market radar".

They had some interesting things to say about the reliability aspects of SLC, MLC and 3D nand in the context of designing rugged and reliable SSDs.

See more in my article - Who's who in SSD? - getting to know a Full Metal Jacket SSD maker

Conduant's new 3U 8TB PXIe SSD

Editor:- February 10, 2014 - Conduant today launched a 3U single slot PXIe module which can be populated with upto 8 mSATA SSDs. The Big River DM-8M-3U has a PCIe Gen 2 interface which connects to the flash array via an on-board Marvell controller. See also:- test systems

EOL and gone-away SSD news

Editor:- January 20, 2014 -Eventually - for every new SSD product which gets launched and every new startup which enters the market in a blaze of news glory there comes the day (maybe without the same fanfare) when the product is end of lifed, or the company is acquired.

What happens then? Or long after... Some of you still need to know.

9 years ago in March 2005 - if you were in the market for industrial SSDs and looking for a supplier of PATA SSDs or PCMCIA SSDs designed for embedded applications - then obtaining such products was about to get much easier - because Bell Micro had just announced a distribution agreement for SiliconSystems SSDs.

But - if you've still got legacy systems installed - which use those products where would you look today in 2014?

One of the companies which services those needs for plug compatible functional replacements of this kind is PCcardsDirect which recently published an alternative parts numbers list for PCMCIA Type II ATA SSDs.

Michael Furtado, Director of Sales at PCcardsDirect told me recently he collaborated with some former engineers from SiliconSystems to design a guide which enables you to locate competitive new replacements for many of those old hard to get drives.

SBU NAS SSD from Curtiss-Wright

Editor:- September 30, 2013 - I learned a new (to me) acronym today in an incoming email: - SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) - used to describe a 2TB rugged NAS file server made by Curtiss-Wright for transporting removable military data between a base station and aircraft or mobile vehicle.

The product concept itself isn't new, and it looks like "SBU" itself has been around for a while too - but it shows there's still a lot you can learn - even when you think you already know a market well.

The different degrees of SSD security classification are one of the many signs of multiple use-case inspired product segments within SSD markets which outsiders mistakenly regard as being simpler and homogeneous. It's not just the enterprise SSD market which is growing in SSD product diversity.

See also:- SSD jargon, military acronyms A to Z

WhipTail announces new channel for defense customers

Editor:- July 24, 2013 - ViON announced it will now serve as an authorized provider of maintenance and support services for the entire WhipTail product line.

"This partnership took off primarily due to the great success at WhipTail with the defense and intelligence communities and ViON's clearance and track record of successfully providing first level support for other vendors." said Dan Crain, CEO of WhipTail.

Microsemi's new SSD for vetronics can erase 256GB in < 8S

Editor:- May 23, 2013 - Microsemi today announced that it has secured multiple design-wins for its new Series 200 TRRUST-Stor (rugged self encrypting, 2.5" SATA SSD with 256GB SLC capacity and fast purge).

The company says a full hardware-based erase takes less than 8 seconds. The 200 model has R/W throughput which is twice as fast as the company's earlier TRRUST-Stor due to a new generation of the company's Armor processor.

Developed to endure harsh environments the new SSD - which has hardware-implemented AES 256 encryption - can withstand up to 3,000G shock and 30G rms of vibration.

new SSD module for mobile military systems

Editor:- April 22, 2013 - Curtiss-Wright today announced the availability of conduction cooled secure 1TB SATA SLC SSD modules for use in its rugged 4 port NAS module which is designed to fit on an ARINC tray.

The Vortex SSD - designed for applications such as helicopters, UAVs and mobile radar systems - is certified to FIPS 140-2 and provides 4 modes of key management.

Crocus gets funding for x8 multibit magnetic semiconductor memory

Editor:- April 8, 2013 - Crocus Technology today announced it has been awarded a contract from IARPA to develop an 8-bit per cell memory based on its Magnetic Logic Unit technology.

This will greatly reduce the energy consumed per written-bit compared to any other memory technology, including DRAM, Flash, SRAM and MRAM.

Douglas Lee, VP, product development at Crocus compared the 8 bits per cell which the company thinks it can get from its MLU technology with the state-of-the-art in nand flash - which is 3-4 bits per cell and also compared to alternative magnetic semiconductor technologies like MRAM - which is still only 1 bit per cell storage (SLC).

Editor's comments:- here's some context.

If it were possible to do x8 MLC flash - then Samsung's model 840 SSD would have 16TB capacity instead of the 512GB which it has using x3 (TLC) - which is the state of the art bits per cell shipping in a regular 2.5" SSD. But don't get too excited by this comparison as x8 flash currently exists only in the realm of science fiction.

Having multibit capability in a magnetic semiconductor cell will undoubtedly be a breakthrough for that type of non volatile technology. But the density of such x8 MLU memories would still be 100x smaller than today's flash. The good news is that unlike flash - MLU will operate at very hot ambient temperatures - past 200 degrees C.

experimental technique eliminates flash endurance limit

Editor:- December 2, 2012 - An article in IEEE Spectrum - Flash Memory Survives 100 Million Cycles - summarizes a recent research paper by Macronix - which described an experimental technique to redesign flash cells to improve endurance.

The technique - which does not think is feasible to scale for commercially competitive memory densities - involves designing addressable heaters in the memory array which can pulse upto 800 degrees C for a few milliseconds. This thermal "refreshing cycle" anneals the chip material and heals common wear-out defects while also enabling the cells to be run faster.

"Afterward, we realized that there was no new physics principle invented here, and we could have done this 10 years ago" said Hang-Ting Lue, the project director at Macronix

temperature related data rot in flash SSDs... a blog by WD

Editor:- July 26, 2012 - A good analysis of temperature affects on flash data integrity can be seen in a recent blog - about intrinsic temperature related data rot in flash SSDs - by Eli Tiomkin, Director, Business Development, WD Solid State Storage who says (among other things) - "Over time, NAND cells may lose enough charge and flip enough bits to overwhelm the ECC capability of the drive controller and cause data loss."

Eli Tiomkin's useful table lets you look up the SSD storage temperature and see how much more quickly the native flash will corrupt - if a suitable controller or healing process isn't in place to detect changes and fix the article

CWCDS offers 5TB version of SANbric SSD JBOD

Editor:- June 19, 2012 - today Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions announced a new version of its FC compatible SSDs the SANbric which supports just under 5TB and weighs about 5 lbs and is designed for deployment in high speed rugged data streaming apps such as on-board wide body aircraft, and helicopter platforms.

Microsemi eliminates weakest link in high capacity SATA SSDs

Editor:- April 9, 2012 - Microsemi today announced it is offering a new type of ruggedized SATA connector option for its its TRRUST-Stor SSDs which provides a complete vibration-resistant solution which eliminates pin fretting and intermittent disconnects to assure long-term dependability.

"The weakest link in many embedded applications is the connector, which can sabotage the operation of critical hardware," said B J Heggli, VP of Strategic Development for Microsemi. "Our new connector family protects against the effects of severe shock and vibration, which safeguards the flow of data. As a result, we can now offer customers what is perhaps the most secure and rugged SSD available on the market."

TCS ships 200GB fast erase MIL-STD-810 2.5" SSD

Editor:- January 24, 2012 - TCS today announced shipments of a rugged 200GB 2.5" SLC SSD which has has been verified by outside labs to meet MIL-STD-810 requirements for shock, vibration, temperature range, temperature shock, humidity and altitude.

The new Galatea SSD has 40K IOPS performance, includes 128-bit AES encryption and can fast erase the full drive in less than 15 seconds.

"Few solid-state drives combine the quality, data capacity and ruggedization features of Galatea," said Michael Bristol, senior VP and GM of TCS' Government Solutions Group. "It is ideal for a wide range of extreme industrial and defense applications, including oil and gas exploration, avionics and data logging in a variety of air, land and sea vehicles. Galatea combines superior access latency and power consumption performance with long-term reliability."

Editor's comments:- I hadn't heard of TCS before in the SSD market - and I feel uncomfortable when I see a significant new SSD product pop out from seemingly nowhere. But then I recognized one of the legacy products names - Triton and sure enough TCS is the new identity for Trident Space & Defense - which was acquired a year ago.

I googled "Galatea" - and I'd like to think it was named after one of the Harry Potter characters - who taught defence against the dark arts.

Later today:- Charlie Cassidy who is Director of the Advanced Products Group at TCS contacted me to say - "I thought I would let you in on the "secret" of the Galatea name. No Harry Potter involved, we didn't even realize that connection. Our SSDs (Triton, Proteus, Galatea) are named after themoons of Neptune - paying homage to the Trident heritage."

Conduction cooled rugged NAS SSDs find seats in war-planes

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - Curtiss-Wright today announced that it has received a contract from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to provide its rugged conduction cooled NAS SSDs - Vortex CNS products - to the U.S. Air Force's HC/MC-130J Super Hercules aircraft program.

The initial order is valued at $800,000, with a potential lifetime contract value estimated at $7.5 million.

Editor's comments:- using ethernet connected rugged SSDs on-board transport is a well established idea. Back in 2002 we ran ads for an early NAS flash SSD - a product called the NAS-168F.

Some of the SSDs used in military projects nowadays are very sophisticated network devices as well as being very rugged. For example the TuffServ 480 - an iSCSI SSD system designed by Ampex .

Meanwhile if you're talking about luggable SSD storage for real-time data capture - Texas Memory Systems offers a 4U specially shielded variant of their enterprise rackmount SSDs for airborne applications - called the RamSan-640.

At the other end of the weight scale - Targa's 2.5" Removable DTU's are small enough to be panel mounted in cockpit systems.

SMART samples new MIL SATA 3 SSD

Editor:- October 26, 2011 - SMART today announced imminent sampling of a SATA 3 version of its MIL-STD-810 compliant 2.5" SSD family - which includes encryption and fast erase.

The new Xcel-200 provides from 60GB to 240GB SLC capacity, 500MB/s sequential R/W speeds and 60K/40K random R/W IOPS. It operates at standard industrial temperature ranges and is certified for operation at altitudes up to 80,000 ft.

Fusion-io can do secure erase in less than 60 seconds

Editor:- September 15, 2011 - Fusion-io today announced that its new SureErase data sanitization tool has been confirmed as meeting Department of Defense sanitization standards by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

SureErase enables users to securely remove/erase all data on any ioMemory-based technology, following DoD/NIST standards, regardless of capacity, in less than 1 minute.

Editor's comments:- although that sounds like a long time - relative to fast purge SSDs (and it is too long for some applications) nevertheless when you take into account that many of Fusion-io's PCIe SSDs have multi-terabyte capacities - it's impressive. See also:- disk sanitizers

I wish I had an SSD in Iraq

Editor:- August 23, 2011 - the problems caused by sand blowing into hard drives in the context of a desert war - is the subject of a recent blog by Mark Flournoy, VP of Government & Defense at STEC.

Among other things this article shows the consequences of data storage failures. It's the best blog I've seen so far on STEC's previously anemic SSD blog site. the article .

Emphase launches 2.5" MIL SSD family

Editor:- May 11, 2011 - Emphase today launched a new range of rugged, MIL-STD-810F compliant 2.5" SATA SLC SSDs - which are currently available with upto 128GB capacity.

The MIL-SPEC S5 SSD has R/W speeds upto 170 / 90MB/sec respectively and fast erase. Should the drive lose power during a protect, erase, or destroy command, the device will resume the operation as soon as power is restored. Standard product has high tolerance for high altitudes, shock, vibration, temperature, and humidity - options include conformal coating.

CWCEC launches new rugged XMC/PMC SATA SSD

Editor:- December 3, 2010 - Curtiss-Wright launched the XMC-552 - a rugged 256GB XMC/PMC form factor SATA SSD with 200MB/s throughput, fast purge (in 4 seconds), bad block blocking and 128-bit AES encryption - for defense and aerospace applications.

Dataram's SSD ASAP accelerates rocket defense science

Editor:- November 18, 2010 - ever since the first SSD ASAPs came to market just over a year ago - I've been curious to know what type of real customers would get a benefit from this new type of technology.

Dataram this week provided a clue. It says that Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has purchased and installed Dataram's XcelaSAN acceleration appliance for use in its missile defense research. Dataram also provides server and workstation memory products to JHU/APL.

Texas Memory Systems' founder writes about 20 years of DoD SSDs

Editor:- September 20, 2010 - Holly Frost founder of Texas Memory Systems has written a paper (pdf) which describes how variants of the company's newer SSDs like the RamSan-630 have been used recently by the US DoD and Intelligence Community.

In another article he describes some features of their 1st DoD SSD in 1988. The company launched its 1st commercial enterprise SSDs in 2001 - but has continued evolving its defense based array processing capabilities.

Update on the smallest PATA SSD

Editor:- August 18, 2010 - Micross Components indicated that a future version of its microSSD (the world's smallest PATA SSD - which has a footprint of 14 x 24 x 1.3mm and weighs only 0.8 grams) may be offered with extended operation upto 105 degrees C.

new directory of old style (parallel) SCSI SSDs

Editor:- July 10, 2010 - today published a new directory of (parallel) SCSI SSDs.

SCSI SSDs aren't exactly a new topic in the history of the SSD market. I benchmarked a SCSI SSD 20 years ago for use with an embedded SPARC server. And there was a time when 95% of SSD manufacturers made SCSI SSDs. Today that figure is 8%..

This is a market which has resisted the upward suction of the SSD market bubble. Despite that - I know from many reader inquiries that customers with legacy servers, and equipment designers with legacy products still search for SCSI drives - and in many cases SSDs are replacing HDDs - simply because the original hard disk manufacturers have end of lifed SCSI models. But many of the new SCSI SSDs available today aren't simply fossilized versions of old designs. They include new security, performance and reliability features.

As an editor - creating a new SCSI SSD list has been low on my priorities - because I thought the market had nearly gone away - and I hoped I wouldn't have to do it. I was wrong. More SCSI SSDs are being shipped today than at any time in the past. It's never going to be a huge market - but for those of you who have been looking - here it is.

flash SSD integrity architectures for space-craft

Editor:- April 13, 2010 - for those interested in flash SSD data integrity issues - Phil White, President of ECC Technologies has released a white paper - NAND Flash Memories for Spacecraft (doc).

Phil has been working with ECC for almost 37 years and his company is developing future ECC designs to allow systems architects to develop NAND flash memories that are highly reliable and fault-tolerant even if the NAND flash chips themselves are not so reliable.

NASA is using ECC Tek's designs in multiple missions. 2 of the designs are in space at the present time and are working perfectly. Phil White recently wrote a document for NASA and JPL which outlines how to design NAND Flash memories for spacecraft. The 22 page "preview" document excludes confidential data but gives a taste of the technology available for licensing. the article

Radar buffs get 8GB XMC

Editor:- March 25, 2010 - Curtiss-Wright today announced it has doubled the memory from 4GB to 8GB on its MM-617 buffer memory XMC card - which is designed to provide volatile, deep storage for a wide range of military applications including RADAR, signal intelligence, and image processing.

Editor's comments:- customers always want more memory for this type of application. In one project I managed in 1991 - we designed a system which captured radar data and streamed it continuously to 16 x 6U of the fastest COTS memory cards then available at the maximum operating speed of the VMEbus. That required weeding out badly designed backplanes and memory cards - and playing with early generations of Altera FPGAs. It was similar projects streaming to hard disk arrays (and analyzing the data ASAP) where I learned a lot of useful things about storage too.

Viking's DOM MIL certified

Editor:- March 3, 2010 - Viking Modular Solutions today announced that its SATA Cube3 128GB DOM (launched in March 2009) has successfully completed tests pursuant to the MIL-STD-810F specification.

Aitech's new XMC SSD

Editor:- February 18, 2010 - Aitech launched a new model in its family of PMC/XMC SSDs.

The M224 has 128GB capacity, and hardware RAID options which support the onboard flash array. Sustained sequential R/W speeds are 170MB/s and 120MB/s respectively. The M224 is available in air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions as well as in 3 levels of ruggedization depending on shock, vibration and humidity requirements. OS support includes VxWorks, Windows and Linux.

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image shows Kiilibyte the mouse in a pose suggested by the 1960s tv series - the Avengers - click for larger image Killerbyte had a
"no surrender" attitude
when it came to attacks on
her personal data integrity.
Encryption can be defeated by brute force methods and also by master keys being stolen. These are unacceptable risks in war time for captured SSDs.
Fast Purge flash SSDs
SSD ad - click for more info
"for our applications, microseconds are not at issue but instead nanoseconds"
John Overton, CEO - Kove - in reply to - where do ultrafast RAM SSDs and companies like Kove fit in the market today?
a guide to data compression techniques and where to use them for designers of SSDs and memory systems
SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers
Editor:- May 26, 2015 - Inside the SSD controller brain the compressibility of data is one of the tools which can go into the mix of optimizing performance, endurance and competitive cost.

A recent paper - A Survey Of Architectural Approaches for Data Compression in Cache and Main Memory Systems by Sparsh Mittal and Jeffrey S. Vetter in IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems - reviews the published techniques available and places their relevance in the context of real and future memory types and applications.

The survey covers applications from embedded systems upto supercomputers.

In addition to being useful resource directory of related papers the article gives you a brief description of many compression techniques, where you might use them and what benefits you might expect.

See also:- list of articles and books by Sparsh Mittal which among other things covers caching techniques, reliability impacts and energy saving possibilities in a wide range of server architectures.
"the defense or medical industries have a limited market share of the overall market pie, in terms of the consumption of components. So if there is a substantial demand for newer technology and competitive pressures, the older (smaller) piece of the pie has to be EOLed since long term support takes away valuable resources that can be focused on the latest innovative products from the OEMs."
from GDCA's blog - COTS, EOL and Manufacturing, Obsolescence (June 2013)
Are you looking for really hard to find military storage drive suppliers or unusual form factors?

I sometimes think - yeah I know I read about that somewhere (and maybe even wrote about it) - but maybe it was 5, 10 or 20 years ago - which means that Google search (which is biased towards consumer pop subjects) is absolutely useless.

Well - another thing you can try is archived versions of this military storage page.

The formatting from those earlier times can look embarrassing - due to changes in web thinking - but the raw data is still there and might help you.

Good luck. - Zsolt Kerekes, publisher - 2000 to 2014 in the wayback machine - web archive
When the socket fits... but the datasheet doesn't. What are the roots of the problems in sourcing modern replacements for once popular but now end of life and obsolete embedded SSDs?
what's a standard SSD?

suggested articles and directories

1" SSDs - includes SSDs on a chip
2.5" SSDs
SSD reliability
SSD security
disk sanitizers
SSD controllers
industrial SSDs
the fastest SSDs
SSD buyers guide
SSD market history
memory channel SSDs
old style parallel SCSI SSDs
fast purge / secure erase SSDs
fault tolerant / high availability SSDs
surviving unexpected SSD power loss
endurance - the forever war in flash SSDs
adaptive DSP is going inside flash controllers
Soft errors can be disastrous for systems with large memories, critical applications, or high altitude locations. For example SRAM tested at 10,000 feet above sea level will record SERs that are 14x the rate tested at sea level.
Soft Errors in Electronic Memory (pdf)
by Tezzaron Semiconductor (2004)
"To avoid obsolescence in military systems, the design team must ensure that the die will perform at extreme temperatures and conditions. Therefore data from external silicon manufacturers isn't assumed to be dependable and instead parts are diligently characterized in sufficient quantities over a wide temperature range."
Michael Flatley, Product Application Manager, Microsemi in his blog - Solve obsolescence problems before they start (September 2013)
"...even at sea level - cosmic rays can create silent errors in flash memory - which are harder to detect and fix than in RAM."
...from - Radiation Hardness of Flash and Nanoparticle Memories - cited in the SSD reliability papers
What's the best way to design a flash SSD?
and other questions which split SSD opinion
More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in an article here on called the the SSD Heresies.
click to read the article - the SSD Heresies ... Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? the article
Power, Speed and Strength in SSD brands
Does what marketers call their SSDs impact who SSD buyers will call?

This article surveys how vendors have played with awesome and mundane words to make their SSDs sound better - with examples from across the whole spectrum of the SSD market - the good, the bad and you know how this goes - because a Clint Eastward movie made 45 years ago is still better known than any SSD today.
accelerating the SSD marketer - click to read article And that's the challenge which wannabe T-Rexes in the SSD market have to meet. the article
1.0" SSDs 1.8" SSDs 2.5" SSDs 3.5" SSDs rackmount SSDs PCIe SSDs SATA SSDs
SSDs all flash SSDs hybrid drives flash memory RAM SSDs SAS SSDs Fibre-Channel SSDs is published by ACSL