Myth Busted - Overclocking NAND Is Easy

NAND clock parameters are not something set by the ordinary embedded developer. Usually they are provided as part of the BSP for the embedded hardware board. if your project makes changes to the NAND media, the processor, or even the length of the traces between those two components, these NAND parameters may be something you have to update to achieve full functionality.

Journey to the Center of the Media

At Datalight, we frequently find ourselves helping customers on what we call 'rescue missions' – when a device is failing in the field and the design team is under pressure to quickly resolve a data corruption or data loss issue. Many times, the failure happens because data didn't get to the media, usually because a cache or other performance optimization has delayed those slow flash writes. In our recent presentation, we examined reliability on Linux with a focus on when the data is on the media.

Reliance Edge accessing media that requires a partition table

Reliance Edge is designed to handle very basic storage media. It doesn’t require any sort of partition table, and can utilize nearly the entire media. A minimal amount of overhead is required for the Reliance Edge Master Block and two Metaroots, and is placed at the beginning of the media. This can also be referred to as a partitionless disk or superfloppy. If that type of media won’t work in your software design, how can you make Reliance Edge work with media that requires a partition table?

Behind the Numbers: Using Sourcery Analyzer to Decipher Performance Bottlenecks

We’ve been fortunate to work closely with the Mentor Embedded Linux team and Raima as we’ve developed our upcoming joint webinar, “Don't Let Unreliable Data Storage Derail your IIoT Strategy.” I’ve already discussed on this blog the impetus behind the paper that spawned it: “Optimizing Your IIoT Storage Stack.” We know that Reliance Nitro configurability can allow applications to find the balance between minimizing data at risk and write performance. Simple changes to Raima’s RDM database showed huge performance gains in our testing.

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.

Myth Busting: Using a Write Cache to Improve Performance Means Sacrificing Data Integrity

Perhaps the most widely held belief about write caching is that it makes a system unreliable. Something along the lines of "Data written to a cache instead of to the media will be lost on an unexpected power interruption, leaving the system in a damaged state and rendering data useless." There are a variety of options busting this myth.

Myth Busting: SSDs are Faster than SDs – or Are They?

At the request of a customer in the banking machines segment, Datalight recently completed an investigation of some performance differences they were seeing between SD and SSD on their embedded target. The findings left us scratching our head a bit.

Reliance Nitro Transaction Explorer

One of the key differentiators for Datalight's Reliance Nitro file system is the runtime flexibility. Not only does this file system provide more reliability options than any other file system on the market, they can all be changed on the fly through a simple API. To demonstrate just how easy this was, we created an intern project to do just that.

Flash Friendly File Systems

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to speak at Embedded World 2014 on the topic of Flash Friendly File Systems. Flash media is growing by leaps and bounds, and the chosen file system is a key component. For this paper, I drew on both my own development and support experience at Datalight and the experience of our staf

Study: Impact of File Systems on Solid State Storage Life Expectancy

In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that transistor density would double every two years or so. For the most part, this observation has held true for 50 years and has become well known as "Moore's Law." This characteristic is a fundamental driving force behind the technological advances which have led to computers continually becoming faster, smaller, cheaper, and more reliable. Almost every aspect of technology has benefited from this characteristic - almost. Solid state memory is one area where there is a major dichotomy. Moore's Law has resulted in smaller and cheaper storage, yet the driving need for more storage capacity has driven manufacturers to sacrifice reliability and in some cases performance.

The purpose for this paper is to discuss the characteristics of solid state memory, specifically as they relate to media life (endurance) and performance. It will show how alternative file systems and file system configurations can significantly improve both media life and performance…

Software Power Consumption

One of the questions we received at Datalight is whether our software affects the power consumption of embedded devices. Not being power experts ourselves, we found an intern and faculty advisor from our nearby University of Washington to help us out with the process.

Managed NAND Performance: It's All About Use Case

Last week the UK Journal PC Pro published an interesting article about fast SD cards, with a good description of the SD card Class system. With some clever testing, they showed how six cards performed in a continuous shooting situation.

When Not Using a Database, You Are Still Using a Database

Recently, we've focused considerable development effort on improving database performance for embedded devices, specifically for Android. This is because Android is a particularly database-centric environment.

Multithreading in Focus: Performance & Power Efficiency

We're constantly on the lookout for ways to help our customers boost performance and improve power efficiency, and often our inspiration comes by way of the conversations we have with them. Recently, several of these discussions highlighted user scenarios where the complexity of the application would benefit from an enhancement to the classic Dynamic Transaction Point™ technology found in our Reliance Nitro file system.

Help! Why are my devices failing?

In conversations with the embedded OEMs we work with, a common issue affects almost every manufacturer - the cost of diagnosing and fixing causes of field failure. This impacts time-to-market and pulls resources from development for field diagnostics and post-mortem analysis. This issue is especially relevant due to the following reasons:

Startup and Shutdown: Challenges in User Experience

Shutdown and startup can be slow - but they don't have to be. Datalight is working on an eMMC-specific driver to manage the sequence of writes.

Performance Testing Reliance Nitro and ext3/4

Recently we ran benchmarks comparing ext3 and ext4 to Reliance Nitro on eMMC and Linux. Here's what we learned.

Nonvolatile Memory Interfaces on Pace with Data Volume

This article entitled Advances in Nonvolatile Memory Interfaces Keep Pace with the Data Volume, recently published in RTC Magazine, gives a nice overview of maintaining performance on newer technologies.  

Learn more about Datalight and ClearNAND

EZ NAND compared to eMMC

A recent article by Doug Wong compared performance characteristics of eMMC and ONFI specification EZ-NAND, specifically Toshiba's SmartNAND. Read our thoughts in this post.

Flash Memory Summit Follow Up and ClearNAND Support

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

Much Ado About eMMC

Lately you may have noticed a lot of talk about eMMC on our blog and website. If so you may be thinking, "Why is Datalight so excited about eMMC?" Here are 5 top reasons we're jumping on the eMMC bandwagon.

A File System Designed for Embedded

Instead of adapting a desktop or server file system for embedded use, it is far better to use a file system designed specifically for embedded use.

About Fragmentation

Do you need defrag? It mostly depends on your hardware and your use case. While defragmenting a file system can make the computer run faster, it's not the only answer.

ONFI Announces EZ-NAND at FMS: OEMs Rejoice

Last week's Flash Memory Summit was a whirlwind of tutorials, announcements and networking, including a presentation by our very own CEO Roy Sherrill, but if you missed the announcement by ONFI (the Open NAND Flash Interface organization) that its new ONFI 2.3 specification will include the EZ-NAND protocol, take a few minutes to soak it in.

Reliance Nitro Makes an Impact

Last week one of our customers sent the following evaluation report in an email to Datalight support staff: "Right now we are in the process of testing the impact of Reliance Nitro in our application. Apparently, we noticed some boost in the performance:  faster write speed, significant speed increase of transaction point creation, faster read speed, and significantly faster directory read (we typically have 1000 files in the directory). So, in conclusion, the overall performance of the system is boosted quite significantly." Another real world example of how Reliance Nitro boosts performance in directories with a large number of files. To learn how Reliance Nitro does it, check out the whitepaper.

The Datalight Labs: Managed NAND vs. Raw NAND

Our R&D folks couldn't wait to get their hands on the new test board from Digi which arrived a couple weeks ago. The board comes with multiple testing interfaces, making it easy to switch between a number of different flash parts for back-to-back comparisons. They have been practically wearing the thing out, testing the performance of a number of different managed and raw NAND parts to get a better idea of the differences our customers see when doing benchmarks. Check out a few pictures of the setup currently in Glenn's office, and contact us for more information on this project. [gallery columns="2"]

Reliance and Reliance Nitro

Ever since we announced our high performance file system Reliance Nitro, we have been getting questions on how it compares to the original Reliance file system.

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

Why Raw NAND Flash with Hardware-based ECC is the Way

Everyone knows that NAND has challenges: from factory bad blocks and spontaneous bit failures to endurance limits, etc. That's why a few years ago managed NAND (NAND flash plus an integrated controller) seemed to be the answer, offering the density of raw NAND, while mitigating many of its inherent limitations.

Datalight Cuts Boot Time in Half for New LG Navigator

Recently, LG Electronics created a multimedia-enabled portable navigator for the North American market, featuring a 4.3" LCD screen, Bluetooth hands-free functionality and video-enabled playback. However, the two-minute startup time didn't match LG's reputation for high-performance devices.

Reliance usage in a boot code update scenario

There are two possible configurations in how boot code might be stored on a device: 1.) Boot code is stored in raw flash (no file system) and directly accessed from bootloader, 2.) Boot code is stored on a Reliance formatted flash volume

YAFFS - Linux Flash File System

Continuing the conversation started in Flash File Systems and JFFS2 blog posts, this post talks about a YAFFS, another Linux flash file system alternative. YAFFS (Yet Another Flash File System) was designed to solve some of the performance issues suffered by JFFS2 on NAND flash.

NAND or NOR Flash Memory: Tradeoffs & Strategies

Consumer electronics and embedded software devices are using larger amounts of flash memory for nonvolatile storage than ever before. So what kind of flash memory should you use? The choice between using NAND and NOR Flash may not be a simple one for the complex embedded devices being developed today.

Is General Embedded Ready for MLC NAND?

MLC NAND is experiencing a high rate of adoption and within the consumer electronics sector - MP3 players, digital cameras, smart phones, flash cards and USB drives - it is everywhere you look. However, other embedded segments (industrial, automotive, military, aerospace, etc), are hesitating to take advantage of MLC's low-cost, high-density attributes.

Factors Affecting Flash Memory Performance

The read, write and erase timing characteristics of flash hardware specifications are useful for comparing different products, but don't tell the whole story about what you will get from your real-world devices. When Flash memory is incorporated into a system, the performance of the system depends on a number of factors.

JFFS2 - Linux Flash File System

Linux has been slowly but surely establishing itself as the predominant OS in the embedded industry. ABI research report suggested that 23% of Smartphones will be based on Linux by 2013. High-profile industry support from Android and the LiMo foundation has put the spotlight back on embedded Linux.

NAND Flash Memory Controller

NAND flash is everywhere these days. The iPod Nano, usb flash drives and various other flash card-based devices like GPS navigators, digital cameras and smart phones have brought high-density NAND to the mainstream. What most users don't realize however, is that NAND storage, though "solid-state," relies on a fragile and inherently-flawed technology to store all those bits and bytes.