It is easy to overlook the data-heavy nature of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Given the sleek and exciting exterior of many of these applications, we often focus on the outcomes that elevate operational efficiency, safety standards, and so much more . From smart home devices to industrial IoT applications such as proximity sensors and a whole range of ambient monitors, data is collected, analysed, and stored. That is where NAND Flash Technology reigns supreme.

To function effectively in our modern society that demands speed, consistency and reliability, NAND storage technology has risen to the challenge. Constantly evolving alongside the demands of our fast-evolving tech-enabled world, let’s explore the role played by NAND technology and the path that lies ahead.

The backbone of today’s industrial IOT and more
Flash memory technology has a history of over half a century, evolving to meet the unique needs of each decade. For instance, the 1990s to 2010s saw the development from Single-Level Cell (SLC) to Multi-Level Cell (MLC), followed by advancements like 3D Triple-Level Cell (TLC) and Quad-Level Cell (QLC). These progressions in flash technology have led to significant improvements in both capacity and performance.

In the most recent decade, there has been a need to serve IOT applications – a requirement that is even more demanding than ever before. 

This is so prevalent that many would be surprised to know that NAND flash technology is present not only in industrial automation applications, but also in connected vehicles, wearables, and healthcare devices.

It’s not all fine and N-DANdy
As with any piece of technology, the demands continue to evolve and compound. When it comes to the usage of NAND flash technology in IOT applications, this comes in the form of the demand for increased capacity while maintaining performance, endurance to withstand a multitude of environments and of course, cybersecurity. Taking a deeper look at each aspect, we can better understand the drive for bigger and better:

  1. Performance Demands:
    Today, storage solutions face the dual challenge of delivering both speed and ample capacity. In this arena, PCIe SSDs emerge as pivotal players, not only elevating the performance standards with low latency and accelerated read/write capabilities but also meeting the growing need for higher storage capacity. As IoT applications evolve and generate increasingly vast amounts of data, the ability of SSDs to provide not just speed but also higher storage capacities becomes crucial.
  2. Endurance Challenges: Operating in diverse and often harsh environments, IoT devices demand storage solutions with exceptional endurance. This ranges from extreme temperatures, dust and moisture, to vibration tolerance and even electrostatic charges. NAND flash memory, a linchpin in this scenario, faces the challenge of delivering low latency during intensive read/write operations. Enterprise-grade SSDs are able to fit this niche, offering high Data Writes Per Day (DWPD) to accommodate the demands of heavy data read/write cycles. Technologies like pSLC and 3D pSLC further enhance SSD endurance, aligning them seamlessly with the rigorous requirements imposed by IoT applications.
  3. Security Concerns: With data becoming the lifeblood of IoT applications, security concerns loom large. As data travels between devices and resides in the cloud, the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches intensifies. SSDs, such as the X-PHY SSD, equipped with advanced security features such as ransomware detection, encryption, secure erase, and physical destruction, emerge as stalwarts in safeguarding data integrity and thwarting potential security threats.

A solid outlook for SSDs
There is no time to stand still as IoT systems continue to evolve, as the world around us undergoes constant changes and evolutions in this age of Industry 4.0. To continue serving the needs of IoT applications, data storage capabilities must continue to advance in tandem.

Whether it be increased capacities, enhanced endurance, greater reliability and of course, heightened security measures – one thing is for certain, NAND flash memory systems will remain an important element of our interconnected systems – and world.

About the Author:
William Soh is Flexxon’s Product Manager, playing a key role in the development and management of product roadmaps. He also oversees the project operations within the ever-evolving realm of Operational Technology (OT). His areas of focus are the Industrial, Medical, and Automotive sectors. He is driven by his love for lifelong learning, especially in the fast-paced technology space. At Flexxon, he revels in the opportunity to provide customised solutions to meet the unique needs of each customer. Outside of work, William is an avid traveler who finds solace in exploring new destinations and learning about other cultures. His travels present the perfect opportunity to hone his other passion – photography. Capturing beautiful landscapes, impressive architecture and adorable animals from around the world.

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