|SMART High Reliability Solutions is a provider of
current and next-generation ruggedized, high-performance and high-capacity
solid-state storage solutions.
Leveraging its deep expertise in Flash
and in defense storage technology, SMART HRS combines leading-edge, defense
focused design with proven world-class support, to deliver high quality and high
reliability solutions to a focused customer base, primarily ruggedized and
SMART High Reliability Solutions is part of the SMART
Global Holdings family of global companies.
|| SMART is a leading independent designer,
manufacturer and supplier of electronic subsystems to OEMs engaged in the
computer, industrial, networking, telco, aerospace and defense markets. |
SMART's product line includes DRAM and Flash memory technologies across
various form factors.
SMART's presence in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and
Latin America enables it to provide its customers with proven expertise in
international logistics, asset management, and supply-chain management
SMART - 2.5"
SATA SSDs for defense (pdf)
SMART - DDR4 NVDIMMs
SMART - SSDs (eUSB
/ mSATA / M.2)
|who's who in SSD now? -
by Zsolt Kerekes,
editor - StorageSearch.com
- February 2017
This month I had an update Q&A session with Jim Piroli, Strategic
Marketing Manager SMART High Reliability
The notes below are some of the things we
Zsolt - re the endurance ratings shown in the model
comparison chart (2.5" SATA
SSDs for defense ) - have you thought about also offering a
DWPD equivalent figure?
- We have done it in the past. It is a good way to measure the drives.
- I realize that the arbitrary 5 years used in enterprise systems for DWPD may
be disconnected for embedded products which sometimes have much shorter (or
longer) operational deployments. But for some types of applications it might
help systems engineers relate back to something they see in other contexts. And
enterprise architectures have often found a way of being used in mobile
Jim - We have a library that dates back over 30 years. The
tribal knowledge base in our group is massive. Even though the interfaces and
capacities have changed the basic concept of storage has not. We use our
expertise to ensure we truly understand what the customer is trying to
accomplish. We are pretty good listeners.
Zsolt - The 2.5"
(standard) products obviously demonstrate some of your capabilities but
how important is custom?
Jim - Some customers need conformal coating, staking, and leaded
process. It all depends on the application. We have made sure we can
accommodate all these requirements as it is an absolute must for some.
Zsolt - And which directions do you prefer stretching towards with
Jim - The custom work differentiates our products. We do not
want to be in the commodity business. Not fun and the big players just tell you
to buy another drive. Mission critical folks think the data on the drive is the
most important component so we need to treat with a high level of importance.
Zsolt - Same interface but different form factor?
SATA III dominates now, but U.2 should be taking market share by mid next year.
- What would you say are your key strengths when talking to customers? -
(compared to all the other rugged 2.5" SSD makers which everyone sees on
Jim - We have the largest most experienced support structure
in the military space. We have flown engineers and tech support folks all over
the globe. We can tweak firmware, adjust performance and do a complete FA when
a drive comes back. There are literally hundreds of tests including temp
cycling, power cycling and a whole host of other test suites that we have. We
are still supporting drives that have been in the field for over 10 years.
Engineering is on the phone daily with customers. The interaction is huge.
They really value that. (See the customization slide below for more about
|Editor's comments:- This shows a side of the SSD
business which readers rarely get to read about as they aren't the kind of
things which can be neatly packed into a press release. But this kind of
thinking and commitment is an important ingredient in the formula of
what makes a military SSD company?|
simple list of military SSD companies (how hard can it be to compile one?)
in March 2017 -
Jim told me that their 8TB 2.5" MLC drive (shown in the tables above) "a
hot commodity right now."
who's who in SSD? - SMART group
editor - StorageSearch.com
- October 29, 2014
SMART Modular operates in the
market (with an emphasis on smaller
and tiny form
factors), and also in the
hybrid DIMM and
RAM markets - whereas SMART
High Reliability Solutions provides SSDs (mostly
2.5") aimed at
the military market.
current SMART product ranges were based on an earlier company SMART Modular
Technologies - which was reorganized by its owner Silver Lake during 2011 -
2012 into 2 parts:-
still left the current SMART in possession of a strong heritage in enterprise
memory IP and rugged SSD design - but without the
flash management technology which enabled SMART Storage to use consumer
grade flash in enterprise
systems - which had been the prime motivator behind that acquisition by
- a memory and rugged embedded SSD business - which was the core of the
current SMART activities
In a recent conversation with key product managers in SMART
Modular - the company told me...
"We don't use TLC flash and
have no plans to do so. The only flash we use is SLC or MLC from known good
die and from sources we trust and processes we have characterized."
with the reality of what the company acknowledges is a very fragmented
industrial market - SMART Modular also does custom design work - and for those
customers who want extra confidence in their embedded memories and SSDs - they
can be screened via burn-in - and made according to agreed BOMs which specify
the exact original source of critical parts such as memory.
2001 - Centennial (a leading supplier of PATA flash) changed its name to
SMART Modular Technologies.
In February 2008
- SMART acquired
Adtron - which had been
one of the Top 10 SSD companies in
- SMART Modular Technologies was acquired by private equity company Silver
2012 - SMART Modular Technologies announced that it had commenced
litigation for patent infringement against
Netlist against its
HyperCloud DIMM products (flash backed DRAM DIMMs)
2013 - SMART Modular
announced that its DDR3 Non-Volatile DIMMs (NVDIMMs) were fully compatible
with and automatically recognized by the BIOS on new Supermicro X9DRH-iF-NV
SSDs on a chip
the Fastest SSDs
fast purge / erase SSDs
military SSDs - news and
simple list of military SSD companies?
some thoughts about SSD
and the mythical "standard" industrial SSD
ups and downs of hold-up caps in MIL SSDs
patent for autonomous NVDIMM save/restore |
|Editor:- January 8, 2018 - flash backed DRAM
NVDIMMs aren't new but an interesting subtlety in the design emerged in a
release today from SMART
Modular Technologies who announced that its (optionally encryptable)
DDR-4 NVDIMMs (8GB to 32GB) now feature Autonomous Self Refresh - the new thing
being that a patent is involved.|
"SMART's patented ASR feature (patent number
9,779,016) allows SMART's NVDIMM to independently initiate a backup after an
event which results in a system freeze or "hang" without power loss.
Active data in the NVDIMM is saved and recovered in events such as an OS crash,
CPU fault, MCU fault, BIOS hang, blue screen, or other motherboard failures."
I understand it - the patented issue is that the NVDIMM system itself detects
that power has failed or recovered to a critical threshold - and that the save
and restore operations are performed "without any intervention from outside
the memory unit".
Among other things - the advantage is that the
data in the NVDIMM can be trusted to a higher level of confidence than if the
power disturbance was detected at one location in an array of chips on a
motherboard - which may have happened after the power event had already
corrupted data in a DIMM elsewhere - or if the external event was detected too
late for the attached controllers to shut down writes in a guaranteed manner.
|is data remanence
in persistent memory a new risk factor?|
|If you've ever watched the
movie Black Hawk Down - there's a memorable scene in which Super 64 has its tail
hit by an RPG and becomes the 2nd chopper to go down. From that moment it's
clear to viewers that whatever the pilot does at the controls - '64 will hit the
ground real soon. Inside the brain of the SSD - a nerve ending tugs to say -
forget your other priorities pal - the power rail is going down. |
sudden power loss|
|Many of the important and
sometimes mysterious behavioral aspects of SSDs which predetermine their
application limitations and usable market roles can only be understood when you
look at how well the designer has dealt with managing the symmetries and
asymmetries which are implicit in the underlying technologies which are
contained within the SSD.|
|how fast can your SSD
|One of the things which
demonstrates the extraordinary range of diversity in thinking about the SSD
market is the different answers you get to these 2 simple questions. |
what's the best way to design a flash SSD?
where's the best place to put it?
Nowhere else in computer architecture will you get so many industry
experts disagreeing on such fundamental questions.
|the SSD Heresies |
|"IoT storage must be
distributed. You can't think about a single storage device but, on the
contrary, a multitude of devices with a small amount of storage can easily be
part of a large distributed storage system.
It's a compelling idea but this approach has its challenges. Thousands
of nodes for just hundreds of terabytes of storage?
It means massive
scalability, a lot of node rebalancing when a node disappears, complex node
discovery and management that could impact performance."
|Interesting ideas from the blog -
ready for the post cloud era - by OpenIO.
(January 10, 2017)|
|There was a young lady
Was worried 'bout flash's endurance
She met an IP Who said - stick by me
My software will be your ensurence
|the limericks of