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Virtium Solid State Storage and Memory

Virtium manufactures solid state storage and memory for the world's top industrial embedded OEMs.

For two decades it has designed, built and supported its products in the USA - fortified by a network of global locations.

Virtium provides solutions for these industrial embedded segments: Communications, Networking, Energy, Transportation, Medical and Video/Signage.
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industrial SATA SSDs
efficiently matched to embedded needs
2.5" / 1.8" / Slim SATA / mSATA / CFast / M.2
StorFly – from Virtium
Virtium - addresses and links

corporate HQ

Virtium Technology, Inc.
30052 Tomas
Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688

tel:- +1 (949) 888 2444


worldwide sales and distributors
see also:- Virtium - editor mentions on, Virtium's SSD page

Who's who in SSD? - Virtium

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

Virtium entered the SSD market in October 2008 and the Top SSD Companies List in Q4 2013. Virtium's best rank in this series was #6 in Q2 2015.

Virtium's SSDs are aimed at industrial markets - and are available in a variety of form factors. Supported interfaces include:- SATA, PATA, PCIe and USB.

Virtium StorFly SSDs are SATA SSDs which are available in 2.5", 1.8", MO-297, M.2, MO-300 and CFast form factors designed for MIL-STD-810F environment compatibility.

Virtium also offers PCIe SSDs in M.2 and Mini Card formats

Virtium offers 3 memory options across all the StorFly models - which are endurance and memory related grades:-
  • CE - 1 DWPD for 3 years (MLC standard temp)
  • XE - 7 DWPD for 5 years (iMLC industrial temp)
  • PE - 30 DWPD for 5 years (SLC industrial temp)
Virtium also supplies industrial grade SLC SSDs for classic form factors and interfaces (CF, USB modules and 2.5" PATA) for high reliability applications in its TuffDrive family.
Nowadays cell phones are coinage, spies and slot machines. And they've been joined by IoT. There's so much intelligence which can be gathered about the meaning of it all. But no memory or computing platforms fast enough to resolve everything which can imagined by the next master plan in a timely fashion.
are we ready for infinitely faster RAM?
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Many customers ask about what interfaces and form factors they should use on their next generation embedded designs. There is a lot of interest in PCIe and the M.2 form factors, but there is also still a lot of misunderstanding out there too.
M.2 For Next Generation Designs (Virtium blog) - July 2014
Virtium asks - can you really afford to waste money on "general purpose" rather than "environmentally optimized" industrial SSDs?
Editor:- September 12, 2012 - Virtium today launched a new line of SSDs for the industrial market. The StorFly range includes 1.8", 2.5", Slim SATA, mSATA and CFast form factors that are specifically designed for embedded systems that have unique capacity and workload requirements.

Editor's comments:- In a recent conversation with Gary Drossel, VP of product strategy at Virtium - I learned that the company is taking some new approaches to the age old problems faced by equipment and systems designers who need high reliability at industrial temperatures, but who also need to be able to maintain exact functional replacements - without redesign over a multi-year single system life which will represent many memory chip product generations.

There are several prongs in Virtium's new SSD design fork. And it's when you add them all up that they can make a big cost difference to the customer - who otherwise may have to over-specify product parameters in so called "general purpose industrial SSDs" to be sure of being safe in the parameters which actually matter in their particular application design.
  • temperature characterization:- Virtium has a pro-active program of characterizing flash memory at different operating temperatures in the industrial range. Therefore if you've got an application which you know is going to spend most of its life running at -10C, or at +80C - for example - then instead of having to guess and extrapolate how much raw endurance you might need - based on a headline datasheet number - you can have an SSD which reliably meets your precise needs without having to overspecify a high safety margin (on overprisioning or memory type) - with the additional cost that entails.
  • continuity of BOM:- the traditional way to ensure long term functional fit of SSDs in equipment used to be via memory process roadmaps coupled with stockpiling devices from obsolete memory product generations.

    Gary told me that one of the fundamental assumptions which has changed in the SSD market is that with SLC becoming a much smaller part of the world memory mix - no-one can be sure that anyone will still be making merchant market SLC in the future just because they have been the same memories in the past. Instead the flash market is predominantly MLC. Recent history has shown that entire flash product lines can disappear without notice due to changing market conditions.

    Virtium's strategy is to design SSD families which can adapt to use whatever popular type of MLC is in the market - while still presenting exact compatibility at the driver, interface, form factor, power consumption, reliability and performance level.

    That's a much more realistic option - Gary said - than pretending that the needs of niche industrial SSD suppliers will somehow be maintained and protected by memory companies who will be focused even more than ever on the high volume markets for SSD (consumer and enterprise).
  • investing in the driver firmware:- Gary said that many industrial SSDs in the market today include design features which have been optimized to make them look good in benchmarks for other markets - due to the design DNA of other products made by those SSD oems.

    Yet when Virtium asked its customers what OS they were using in their embedded designs - most of them weren't using the OS or software which looked anything like what competing general purpose industrial SSDs had been polished for.

    Virtium's strategy at the driver and firmware level is to optimize performance and reliability with the kind of workload which more typically represents the embedded code of its customers. That provides better multi-generation compatibility, better efficiency (in terms of memory chips), lower power consumption and also better reliability.
Virtium's (complex when you first hear it) value proposition for designers who use SSDs in industrial apps is that if they know enough about how and where their SSDs will be used - they don't need to waste money by overspecifying general purpose SSDs to get the set of characteristics which matter to them. And at the same time they can be more confident about the long term reliability of what they're getting too.

PS - I did ask Gary - as I have asked nearly everyone this year - what's Virtium doing on the subject of adaptive R/W DSP?

He said Virtium doesn't have this technology in-house - but if and when it becomes needed - the company will most liekly buy in or license the appropriate IP.

They see their strongest core IP as being specialists in temperature characterization and reliability. Adapting to the adaptive flash R/W paradigm - if that becomes the market standard - will be no different than the many other MLC variation realities which they plan to contend with.
Virtium creates a new framework for industrial SSDs
Editor:- October 25, 2012 - Virtium today announced new models in its StorFly range of industrial temperature rated embedded SATA MLC SSDs and the company also outlined a new 4 part categorization scheme for matching embedded SSDs to user cases and needs. These are - in order of R/W performance - as follows.
  • "write seldom, read many" apps - such as digital signage and automotive infotainment - is the role for StorFly CE.
  • optimized for higher reliability applications such as networking appliances or industrial computing - is the role for StorFly RE.
  • optimized to replace SLC SSDs economically in industrial automation or central office switches - is the role for StorFly XE (25GB per day for 10 years)
  • high R/W performance industrial SSD (500GB writes / day for 10 years) - is the role for StorFly PE
A key factor for systems designers is that Virtium offers all these different grades of guaranteed R/W lifetime performance in each of the popular form factors within the StorFly range (2.5", 1.8", Slim SATA (MO-297) and CFast).

That means designers who need industrial temperature range operation in embedded systems can choose an applications optimized SSD which is efficiently and economically matched to their knowable needs instead of having to overspecify a general purpose SSD.

I think it's very useful to have conceptual labels and apps related contexts around which to discuss different types of SSDs - what they do, and their positioning within the market.

We already have loose definitions within the SSD industry such as client / enterprise to differentiate controllers within SATA SSDs for example.

And I've proposed a complete set of top level applications architectures related silos which apply to the enterprise SSD market.

It's not a totally new idea for SSD vendors to propose apps related SSD categories within a market. In the enterprise space - STEC has proposed write targets and SMART has identified a spectrum of distinctly different use cases for SAS SSDs but I think that what Virtium is doing now goes a step beyond anything I've seen before in the industrial SSD market.

The business advantage for Virtium in creating a useful model which segments different types of industrial SSDs by apps usage is that when you create a model which customers find useful - then people start seeing things your way. And competing solutions don't make as much sense - when viewed through this lens if they don't seem to have a recognizable fit within the conceptual framework.

When I discussed this earlier this week with Virtium's VP of product strategy - Gary Drossel - he said he's already started writing a blog about these concepts and will expand these ideas in future posts.

I also asked whether UBER and sudden power loss data integriry protection was also differentiated across these categories. His answer was too long and detailed to include here - but I will write up the interesting bits in special interest articles later.

If you read my September write up of an earlier conversation we had (which is in Virtium's profile page) you'll get a picture of Gary's views on:- steering an industrial SSD roadmap in a memory market where other markets are setting the agenda, and also some mission statements about SSD design efficiency.
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1.8 still great
Editor:- February 6, 2018 - A new blog by Virtium - One-Point-Eight Still Great! says that the company thinks "1.8-inch will remain strong in embedded, IIoT and M2M applications for some time to come."

Editor's comments:- 10 years ago there were 22 manufacturers of storage drives listed on The highest capacity 1.8" SSD at that time in 2008 was 128GB.

The 1.8" storage drive form factor was created for the portable PC market with the first drives being shipped in 1991.

M.2 was the designated successor to 1.8" for SSDs in notebooks. But form factors can have a life of their own.

For example - in 2011 1.8" SSDs with SAS interfaces were a hot product for use in enterprise storage arrays.

Nowadays if equipment designers have gone to the trouble of supporting 1.8" SSDs (solo or arrays) in legacy designs (with interfaces like PATA, SATA or SAS) then it's still easier to continue supporting that in markets where requalifying the box is expensive (like medical) rather than switch to M.2 for no customer discernible benefit. In some markets EOL is an expensive option.
what were the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?
"The most significant ideas we at Virtium see and are directing our resources toward center on taking SSD security, reliability, durability, and manageability to a much higher level, to meet the needs of increasingly connected industrial embedded environments.

These ideas are now being realized through drives self-encryption capabilities, advanced remote-monitoring software, dramatically reduced power requirements, and the development of SSDs specifically for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)."

Scott Phillips, VP Marketing - Virtium
new industrial secure eUSB 3.0 10-pin SSDs from Virtium
usb 3 SSD for industrial secure rolesEditor:- August 22, 2016 - Virtium recently announced new models of eUSB 3.0 10-pin models in its TuffDrive SSD range which offers much faster speed than eUSB 2.0 at about half the power consumption.

Capacities range from 2GB to 256GB, while drawing less than 1W. Size is 36.9mm x 26.6 mm.
Virtium offers encryption in all its industrial SSD form factors
Editor:- June 28, 2016 - Virtium today announced self-encrypting drive features as options throughout all the form factors in its StorFly range of industrial SSDs.

"These support multiple SATA form factors, including 2.5", 1.8", Slim SATA, mSATA, M.2, and CFast. Additionally, they support all 3 StorFly reliability classes CE (MLC), XE (industrial-grade MLC) and PE (SLC)" said Scott Phillips, VP of marketing at Virtium.

Virtium says many industrial-system makers and their customers continue to push functionality closer and closer to the network edge and the end-customer. This puts systems and the data they hold at risk of hacking and data theft. Virtium's new SEDs provide security for data at rest without sacrificing industrial features.
Virtium introduces low cost 7 DWPD industrial SSD family
editor:- January 12, 2016 - Virtium today announced a new range of industrial SATA MLC SSDs in its rugged StorFly product line.

The new XE class iMLC models (available in the following form factors M.2, CFast, Mini Card, mSATA, SlimSATA, 1.8" and 2.5") all support 7 DWPD for 5 years at a cost which is described as "only a marginal price premium over CE Class SSDs".
Virtium launches new 2.5" PATA SSDs for legacy slots
Editor:- November 17, 2015 - Virtium today announced a new range of 2.5" PATA SSDs for industrial applications with capacities from 8GB to 256GB. Virtium's new TuffDrive PATA SSDs have been designed as drop in replacements for legacy 2.5" PATA SSDs or HDDs.
Virtium launches industrial M.2 PCIe SSDs
Editor:- July 28, 2015 - Virtium today announced it has expanded its StorFly range of industrial SSDs with new PCIe SSDs (gen 2) available in both M.2 and Mini Card form factors with capacities from 16GB upto 480GB.

Endurance is upto 3.3 petabytes of writes (about 3.7 DWPD for 5 years). Virtium's new SSDs have full BOM control with up to 5 years of uninterrupted product availability.
3 scenarios of flash data vulnerability at power voltage collapse
Editor:- June 10, 2015 - a recent blog by Virtium - SSD Protection Against Data Corruption - outlines their thinking about protecting data integrity in industrial SSDs from power loss events.

The author - Tony Pond, Director of Marcomms - identifies 3 scenarios for data corruption:-

1 - Power fail during a write, but before the SSD has acknowledged receipt of data.

2 - Power fail after the SSD acknowledges that it has data but before data has been committed to NAND flash.

3 - Power fail after the SSD has data in NAND but before it has been committed to the correct logical block address (LBA).

How does the company design around these exigencies? the article
As little as 2 days retention after 0.4 hot DWPD for 5 years in modern MLC nand and some other things worth knowing about emdedded SSDs
Editor:- October 23, 2014 - When choosing an SSD form factor and interface for a new embedded / industrial project - in most cases that determination will be obvious - and driven by considerations such as:-
  • is the new project like something you did before?
  • and what would you like to change based on what you learned from that?
  • or the availability of new smaller sizes or lower power SSDs or faster SSDs or denser (more efficient) SSDs which in themselves can make new application directions feasible.
Today I read a tour guide of the range of sizes and interfaces available in small embedded SSDs (pdf) - from Virtium - which says among other things...

"the 10-pin embedded USB module is not officially regulated by any industry standards body, but thanks to industry R&D in this case, "rip-off and duplicate" - OEMs can source mechanically equivalent modules from multiple sources."

The above paper is several years old old - but still contains many relevant ideas. And the reason I noticed it now was because it was easier to find than it had been before - as it's one of a group of papers on the theme of selecting embedded SSDs according to design and environmental considerations which Virtium has collected together in a new resource page this week.

how does DWPD and retention come into this?

Within this set - a more recent paper - temperature considerations in SSDs (pdf) includes some stark graphs and observations about data retention - which you should be aware of - even if you're not in the industrial market.

"This shows the dramatic effects that temperature has on data retention for given workloads. For the same 750 full drive writes (0.4 drive writes per day for 5 years), SSDs operated and stored at 85C will only have 2 days of data retention, whereas those drives at 40C will have 1 year and those at room temperature 25C will exhibit characteristics of nearly 8 years of data retention." the article (pdf)
"Virtium's goal is to provide OEMs with some of the longest product lifecycles in the industry to help minimize costly and disruptive requalifications. 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."
Scott Phillips, Virtium - commenting on new products - (May 14, 2014)
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Virtium's new VP of sales
Editor:- October 30, 2013 - Virtium today announced that Michael Nilsson has joined the company as senior VP of sales.

Editor's comments:- as you can see from Mike Nilsson's profile page - he knows the SSD industry better than most - having been VP of sales at Stec.

And before that he also spent 6 years in another well known memory company - Fujitsu Microelectronics - which nowadays operates at the fringes of SSD technology with its FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory).
Virtium offers offer faster range of extended temperature SSDs
Editor:- August 7, 2013 - Virtium today introduced a new line of faster 1.8" and 2.5" rugged SATA SSDs (80, 160 and 300GB capacities) for applications in in-flight entertainment, PoS terminals, gaming equipment and mobile monitoring systems.

The DecaStor line - which is rated for approximately 65% full disk write / day for 10 years - is available with AES encryption, secure erase, data protection in the event of an unexpected power interruption and extended temperature screening. DecaStor supports sequential R/W speeds of 410/375 MB/s respectively, with read IOPS of 47,000 and 2,500 write IOPS.
Virtium offers 64GB SLC TuffDrive CF
for "Godfather" slots in industrial products
Editor:- July 11, 2013 - According to Gary Drossel, VP of product strategy at Virtium - "There has been a misperception in the industry that, because other suppliers have exited the market either through EOL or industry consolidation, CompactFlash (which has been the Godfather of embedded form factors (pdf) for more than 10 years - ed) is no longer viable as an SSD technology in the industrial SSD market. That is absolutely not the case."

Supporting the view that as long as there's enough demand for legacy form factors someone will supply it - Virtium recently announced a new generation of high density industrial SSDs (upto 64GB SLC) in its TuffDrive CF range which meet MIL-810 standards for shock and vibration.
Virtium ships 512GB industrial Slim SATA SSDs
Editor:- January 30, 2013 - Virtium today announced it's shipping true industrial 512GB SSDs in the Slim SATA (MO-297) form factor - which is just 15% of the physical volume of a standard 2.5" drive.