News

Linux kernel 4.17 is great for embedded designs

Last weekend, Linux kernel 4.17 was released, disappointing a few pundits who thought it should be kernel 5.0. Here are some of the exciting features in this release, and confirmation of something Datalight has always said.

Security and Cars dominate Embedded World 2018

Datalight spoke at the 16th Embedded World Conference. For more news about the show, read our blog recap.

Who Owns the Data?

A recent article described data as the new oil, with the land grab just beginning. With all the companies that can benefit from your customers' data, this is an apt description. Control over data is something that should factor into every contract and design at this point.

Update Failures – Another brick in the wall

In another demonstration of an update failure (something that seems to happen monthly), the company LockState pushed out a firmware update for the wrong model earlier this month. LockState manufactures door locking systems that can be remotely managed, and many of the affected devices were installed in AirBnB locations, in partnership with Host Assist.

Embedded World 2017 – Growing Reality of the IoT

The focus of this years' Embedded World was "Securely Connecting the Internet of Things," but the thing that stood out was not only security, it was the growing reality of the IoT. Over the last few years, we have all heard about the IoT ad nauseam, so I will spare you the same old discussion. However, what was different from prior years was that many IoT promises are finally coming true. No longer is it "The Next Big Thing" – devices are beginning to deliver on the promises made by those promoting the IoT.

CES 2017: The Year of the Autonomous Car

As I do most years, I attended CES this month. The focus at this year’s conference was undoubtedly the autonomous driving car. Wednesday Night’s Kickoff Keynote was delivered by Jen-Hsun Huang CEO of NVIDIA, and talked about NVIDIA’s Drive PX 2 computer for autonomous driving.

Excessive Flash Wear Caused by Popular Music Application

An interesting article in Ars Technica last week reported and then confirmed a major bug in the desktop version of Spotify. This application has been writing tens to hundreds of gigabytes per hour to user’s hard drives, which can greatly reduce the life of SSDs. One solution is better caching, or flexibility of the file system, and we go over those details in the white paper linked below.

Are Your IoT Devices Secure?

Friday, October 21st was more than just a travel day for the World Series winning Chicago Cubs, it was also a day that 10s of millions of IoT devices launched a coordinated attack on DNS service provider Dyn. This week, a survey from ESET and the National Cyber Security Alliance showed that 40% of consumers are “not confident at all” that their IoT devices are safe, secure, and able to protect personal information

Engineers Must Learn the Importance of Software Testing

I started working at Datalight as a file system engineer shortly after graduating from college. And when I started, software testing was somewhat foreign to me. I was a developer, and QA was a place for other people that did other things. I assumed my job was to create software that performed as users expected as long as the users did things correctly. If they did something weird, like trying to fread() from a NULL file handle, they should expect bad things to happen. In other words, I expected to follow my “common sense” in designing workable software, and I expected my users to follow the same “common sense” as they interacted with it.

Why We Wrote the New “Optimizing Your Software Stack for IIoT Devices”

The idea for this paper came from a conversation our CEO, Roy Sherrill, had with several customers and industry folks regarding the decreasing endurance of flash memory. Some smaller lithography parts have program/erase cycles counted in the hundreds. What techniques can be used to make sure writes (and hence erases) are held to a minimum while still providing the level of performance and reliability that embedded devices require? He had some theories, but wanted proof.

Putting Developers in Control with New FreeRTOS Version 9

As a partner of FreeRTOS in designing quality open source software for IoT, Datalight is excited for the recent release of FreeRTOS version 9.0.0. FreeRTOS V9 adds several features and improvements to the real-time operating system. Most significantly, FreeRTOS now supports completely statically allocated systems, giving developers precise control over the RAM footprint and even the memory locations of specific RTOS components (such as each individual task’s stack).

Which Linux Flash File System is Best for Your Device?

Raw flash memory, that is, memory that isn’t part of a package (like SD, eMMC, SSD, and the like) requires software to manage it. On Linux, this software is the Memory Technology Device (MTD) layer, with a flash file system above that to handle wear-leveling, bad block management, and all regular file system duties. There are several options for Linux, but some of them present advantages.

CES 2016 – Hot Topics You May Have Missed

CES showcases amazing innovations, and this year the hot topics were wearable technology, automotive technology, smart home, and drones. As devices gain greater functionality and have to handle more data, the need for power failsafe file systems like Reliance Edge become more important.

File Systems Big and Small

The embedded systems market is extraordinarily diverse. Virtually any electronic device that is not a desktop computer or an enterprise data center behemoth is under the “embedded system” umbrella. With such variation in form factor, use case, price point and processing need it should come as no surprise that data storage needs differ as well.

IoT Dev Conference

At last week's Internet of Things Developers Conference held in San Jose demonstrating the value of IoT was clearly top-of-mind. There were predictions of the number of devices that would be part of the IoT ranging from 20 billion to 50 billion.

Embedded World 2015

This is my fifth year at Embedded World, and the weather just keeps getting better. Perhaps the nice days in Nuremberg contributed to a slight decrease in traffic at the show. In the Logic booth, we had some great meetings with long time customers, and learned about their new projects. We also heard about reliability challenges in hardware, from SD cards to data storage reliability in very small systems.

CES 2015

In January I attended the International CES with 170,000 of my closest friends, about 25% of whom were from outside of the US. Together we attempted to visit 3500 exhibitors and listen to many, many keynotes, panels and speeches.

ARM Tech Con 2014

This conference was all about ARM, from a history of ARM (nearly 30 years, starting with the Acorn and Newton) through the newest systems challenges to Safety and Security. The mbed OS looks interesting - developed by ARM, this RTOS has power management, many different connectivity stacks and other components.

The Inaugural Designer of Things Conference (DOT)

I just returned from the inaugural Designer of Things (DoT, like IoT) conference and it was an awesome start for a new conference focused on this key vertical market. There were two primary tracks: wearables and 3D printing. The sessions spanned the gamut from technology to make fashion, to how to build wearable devices that function 24x7.

VxWorks 7: The New Modular Operation System Environment

Datalight products have been supported on Wind River's VxWorks environment for over a decade. As Wind River advances their operating system, Datalight enhances our products to support the latest releases (Of course we continue to support legacy versions as far back as VxWorks 5.5.). As we finish up our integration into the VxWorks 7.0 environment we thought you might benefit from a heads up on some of the changes in Wind River's new modular operating system environment.

64 Bit Processors in Embedded Projects

Desktop processors are universally available in 64 bit varieties, resulting in higher and faster processing power. Another major advantage of 64 bit processors include direct addressing of huge amounts of RAM. In the embedded realm, the first hardware architecture to provide 64 bit was the x86-64, provided by Intel and AMD. Later targets included MIPS and ARM.

Embedded World 2014

Datalight constituents recently attended Embedded World 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Congratulations Seattle Seahawks

Congratulations to the NFL Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. They have found success the same way Datalight has - through outstanding teamwork.

 


2013 Embedded Tech Favorites

Wrapping up another busy development year at Datalight, it occurs to us that as much as we love helping our customers with software to handle their critical data needs on things like smart meters, medical infusion pumps, factory controllers, automobile infotainment systems and first responder radios, there are some cool embedded technologies we'd like to have in our personal Christmas stockings in 2013.

ARM Tech Con 2013 - Enabling the Internet of Things

I recently attended the ARM Tech Con show which is an ARM ecosystems event. Internet of Things (IoT) was the main theme. Simon Segars (ARM CEO) keynote was all about Internet of Things (IoT) and ARM sponsored an Economist magazine report to explore the level at which IoT is gaining traction in the marketplace.

Notes from the 2013 Flash Memory Summit

The Flash Memory Summit has grown in the the last few years, and we were glad to be part of the event.

Flash Memory Summit 2013

Flash Memory Summit continues to grow, the organizers are expecting record attendance levels.

Wish Granted

OEM customers have told us for years that struggles with NAND supply and lack of standards costs them a great deal of time and money. A shortage or EOL on a key component like NAND flash memory can cause product delivery delays that impact topline revenue and potentially company reputation. What they wish for is a "plug and play" option that lets them multi-source their flash memory.

Design West 2013

Design West 2013 was held last week in San Jose. The phrase of the show was "Internet of Things," and plenty of new hardware was in evidence.

Congratulations Adeneo & Bsquare!

Datalight congratulates our integration partners Adeneo and Bsquare for again winning the Microsoft Windows Embedded Excellence Award for 2012!

FMS: Bigger and Bigger (and Smaller and Smaller)

Last week's Flash Memory Summit did not disappoint. As one of the early sponsors of the conference, it was awe-inspiring to stand in the middle of the exhibit hall and see how the show has grown, in both number of booths and attendees.

Datalight Sponsors Local High School Robotics Team

The Arlington Neobots are not like other high school technology clubs. For one thing they have access to a phenomenal pool of mentors from local technology companies like Boeing, Microsoft and now Datalight. They also have a growing number of female members, a rarity in youth organizations oriented to math and science.

Founded in 2008 with seed money from Boeing, the team competes in an annual robot building competition created by national non-profit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and this year the competition is already ramping up. For 2012, FIRST has challenged the robotics teams to a game similar to basketball called Rebound Rumble. Six teams are split up into two alliances of three; one alliance is blue and the other red. During the 2-minute and 15-second…


CES: The Embedded Storage Perspective

Steve Ballmer did a nice job kicking off the keynotes on Monday night with an impassioned presentation about Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox 360, but when it ended I found myself wondering why he didn't talk about any other Microsoft products. Windows phone looks pretty slick though, and I'm assuming it will run on eMMC flash for data storage. Next year Microsoft will be passing the baton to someone else for their traditional opening keynote and will not be back - not sure what (if anything) that means. We'll also have to wait and see if Ryan Seacrest will be invited back. 

Sony announced a new flash memory card promising even faster performance, which goes to show users are still looking for faster flash-based devices and manufacturers are paying attention. One of the guys in the Sony booth also mentioned a flash card that can read up to1 GB/second that is coming soon. He didn't have any samples available, but he sure enjoyed telling me about it.

There were tons of…


Storage Visions Awards

Last week we attended Storage Visions, a show adjacent to CES that focuses on data storage solutions. This year's theme was Heavy Storage for thin Clients. We were honored to be a finalist for the Storage Visions award "New Enabling Consumer Storage Technology," for the Datalight Reliance Nitro fault-tolerant file system. Although we didn't get to take home the trophy, we wanted to congratulate our partner, Micron, for winning the award with their Real SSD C400 Self Encrypting Drive.

Learn more about Datalight Embedded File Systems


Software Perspective on eMMC

We here at Datalight are seeing a lot of interest in this weeks "Software Perspective on eMMC" presentation, across a broad spectrum. This is apparently a pretty hot topic! Our recnet webinar went really well and attracted many attendees. We hope you enjoyed the presentation! Thanks everyone! 


Flash Memory Summit Follow Up and ClearNAND Support

At this year's Flash Memory Summit, SSD and PCI-e memory card solutions ruled.

Flash Memory & Android Dominate ESC Silicon Valley

The topic of storage technology seemed to be everywhere at last week's Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, appearing in numerous key note speeches, presentations and exhibit booths. It appears the industry is waking up to the difficulties of storing and managing a torrent of data being produced by new mobile applications.

Bootstrapping Linux from NAND Flash

We've received a bit of feedback on our Bootstrapping Linux from NAND Flash with FlashFX Tera and Reliance Nitrowhitepaper. Questions that have come up regarding this whitepaper include: "The sample project included in the whitepaper demonstrated booting from NOR rather than NAND, is it possible for the bootloader to reside in NAND?"

CES Highlights

Our CEO Roy Sherrill visited CES last week and made note of a few trends that caught his eye. Here are his thoughts from the show floor: All-in-one Devices - Over the last few years, we self-described technology geeks have seen our phone morph into a camera, an MP3 player, an internet connection/email viewer, and about a hundred other functions spanning the range between the necessary and the ridiculous.

Datalight in Space Again with SpaceX Falcon 9 Project

Earlier this month (June 4th) SpaceX sent the Falcon 9 rocket on its maiden voyage from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a successful orbital insertion.

Datalight Chosen for Blackboard Campus Card Reader Systems

Blackboard is the standard-bearer for student ID systems around the world. Their contactless cards serve as campus ID, building access, and point-of-sale accounts for meals and other services, and are rapidly replacing the old magnetic stripe systems.

Digital Payments: Less NAND Flash Corruption

We recently had the opportunity to work with Digital Payment to solve a NAND flash corruption issue by using the validation tools that come standard in FlashFX Pro. You've probably seen their shiny parking meters around town, including many remote locations that have no permanent power and no easy access to service. That's why when Digital Payment learned of the reliability benefits of Reliance, they saw an opportunity to improve up-time and lower service costs. Reliability is just one of many reasons their parking meters are popular with parking lot owners and municipalities looking for dependable, user-friendly machines. Be sure to check out the full case study for more information about Digital Payment's experience with FlashFX Pro and…


FAT May Be Exchangeable but Still Not Your Friend

According to a recent Nielsen/Netratings report, 89.4% of us connect our gadgets to a Windows host machine, underscoring how crucial it is for manufacturers to consider file system compatibility with the Windows desktop.

Seen & Heard at the Flash Memory Summit

Attendance at FMS broke records for the fourth year in a row - truly remarkable, given our current economic situation. I think even the organizers were pleasantly surprised by the confirmation that FMS is now the venue of choice for flash industry leaders to come together and for the rest of the industry to learn what is new in the world of flash technology.

The Universe of Managed NAND

We have talked about managed NAND in a few blog posts before. Usually a combination of raw NAND flash (SLC or MLC) combined with a hardware controller that performs flash management features like bad block management, ECC and wear leveling is referred to as managed NAND.

Principals of Software Development Leadership

Once again confirming our suspicion that he doesn't sleep, Datalight Director of Engineering Ken Whitaker has just published his second book on managing the software development process, this time with a focus on incorporating the 'agile' project management techniques that have been so successful at Datalight and elsewhere in Ken's long distinguished career. At over 400 pages, we haven't read it yet, but it's bound to become a favorite of technology management gurus around the world. Here's some praise from one of Ken's colleagues: "Whitaker explains how to run development as the critical business function that it is. Get Principals of Software Development Leadership if you want to lead a technical team to success - or buy a copy for your boss if you want to work on a successful team." - Steve Johnson, VP,…


I HEART Reliance Nitro

With the release of our new file system this week, Reliance Nitro, we asked our Account Managers what they liked most about our new product. Their answers of course included reliability and high performance. Wes Johns and Phillip Allison were so excited they decided to make a video  watch the youtube video


Making Lemonade - OEMs & Economic Turnaround in 2009

As everyone's mother used to say, "When life hands you lemons..." and at this particular time in embedded technology and elsewhere, it seems there is no shortage of lemons. In just the last three weeks, we've heard about Nortel filing for bankruptcy, Motorola planning to cut 7,000 jobs, and Sony Ericsson's dramatic profitability swing from $1.48 billion in 2007 to negative $96 million in 2008.

Perspective on the Flash Memory Summit 2008

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since the invention of flash memory, but the 20-foot timeline documenting its milestones that was displayed at this year's Flash Memory Summit offered ample evidence of the progress the technology has made.

Gearing Up for the Flash Memory Summit

Datalight is sponsoring and presenting at the Flash Memory Summit, August 12-14 in Santa Clara.

The Risks of Relying on a Single Flash Vendor

Digitimes is reporting that Samsung has informed its customers that it will be reducing supply of NAND Flash chips because of the huge order placed by Apple. This story is being picked up by several news outlets including Engadget.

Flash File Systems

Flash memory has established itself as the technology of choice for device data storage on embedded devices. The advantages it brings in terms of storage capacity, I/O throughput, power consumption and board space savings are significant. In 2007, flash memory was a $7.7 billion industry. Analysts predict a 23% growth of the flash memory market between 2007 and 2011

Welcome to "Data Matters"

Hi All: Welcome to the Datalight blog on "Data Matters." It's amazing to see the increase in size and value of data in devices over 25 years that Datalight has been in business. In the old days, well the 80's, Datalight worked with Flight Data recorders that held data on 3.5 inch floppies using the FAT file system and similar non-reliable foundations. Today, device data requirements are growing at a tremendous pace. These requirements include reliability, performance, size and flexibility in media, bootability and system field-update requirements.