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Optimizing SSDs for Industrial and Edge Applications

By Pichai Balaji, Director, Product Marketing, Flash BU, Marvell

Industrial SSDs are specifically designed for high-performance systems where data integrity and reliability are of the utmost importance. Industrial SSDs cover a wide range of applications including industrial data storage, heavy robotics, retail kiosks, medical systems, security surveillance, video monitoring, and gaming, to name a few.

When most people hear the term “industrial SSD,” they immediately think of a ruggedized, high-temperature SSD in a metal casing. While such drives are part of the industrial class of SSDs, most industrial and edge applications have a wider range of requirements in terms of SSD controller hardware, firmware, SSD form factor, drive capacity, endurance, reliability, and use case/workload.

For these applications, it is critical that the SSD meets industrial quality standards, and long-term reliability and performance requirements. These SSD devices must be able to withstand industrial grade temperatures, as well as a higher level of shock and vibration. Some applications need these SSDs to operate in ambient temperatures ranging from -40°C to 85°C. In such extreme conditions, data loss is a serious concern.

Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 SSD controllers are designed to meet the industrial requirements on temperature endurance, longevity, and performance. Marvell’s 88SS1321 device also provides flexibility for the industrial SSD maker to choose the SSD form factor (supports 2.5” / U.2; m.2 2230 to 22110), and  choose to use the SSD with or without DRAM (optional).

Exascend recently launched an industrial grade PCIe Gen 4 SSD – the PI4 Series. Powered by Marvell’s 88SS1321 PCIe Gen 4 SSD controller, the SSD offers 3500MB/s performance and can operate in an extreme temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. It offers full disk encryption / TCG OPAL 2.0 in M.2 (2280 & 2242), U.2, E1.S and CFexpress form factors for industrial and ADAS storage applications.

Marvell’s 88SS1321 PCIe Gen 4 SSD controller

Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 SSD controller hardware is designed to offer SSD firmware the maximum control to optimize SSD level solutions for different workloads in a wide range of industrial and edge applications. The product’s reference design has been validated from standards/spec compliance, as well as from an electrical compatibility perspective. The board design BOM is also cost-optimized for low cost of ownership. More information on these benefits can be found here.

Additionally, various SKUs within the product offer added flexibility to SSD makers, enabling them to address applications that may require DRAM and a wider range of operating temperatures.

With the integration of AI/ML, industrial systems have become autonomous and more distributed in recent years. The proliferation of AI-based IoT (AIoT) devices has increased end-to-end system complexity, pushing compute and storage resources to the edge in order to leverage low-latency 5G connectivity and/or Ethernet Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) for real-time, mission-critical data access and processing.

Innodisk is another industrial SSD maker who has recently launched multiple PCIe Gen 4 industrial-grade SSDs with Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 SSD controllers that can operate with or without DRAM. The Innodisk PCIe 4TE and 4TG-P are the first industrial-oriented PCIe 4.0 SSDs turbocharging 5G and AIoT. The product can work in -40°C and 85°C environments, where some specific applications, including smart streetlights, 5G mmWave, and security inspection cameras, are critical for industrial strength. The PCIe 4TE and 4TG-P support AES-256 encryption and are TCG-OPAL 2.0 compliant.

PCIe Gen 4 industrial-grade SSDs with Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 SSD controllers

Other key features of Marvell’s industrial SSD controllers include:

  • Support for both DRAM and in DRAM-less operation
  • Support for a wide range of form factors, including m.2 110 to 30, CFexpress and BGA SSD
  • SDK firmware to kickstart the development and customization of the SSD for the end-user application/workload
  • Offered in C-temp (0°C-70°C) and I-temp (-40°C-85°C) SKUs

Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 SSD controllers are designed to allow firmware to be optimized for many different applications. A host of SKUs built on the same architecture allow SSD developers to leverage Marvell’s reference design to develop their own SSD for various form factors, capacity, endurance, and reliability standards including ruggedized, high-temp SSDs with metal casings.

Learn more about Marvell’s 88SS1321/22 product series of SSD controllers here.

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