Is a SATA Interface Right for your Embedded OEM Application?
With SATA flash storage devices becoming the norm for SSDs in the client PC and enterprise market segment, many design engineers are considering these for their Embedded OEM systems. This article takes a look at several SATA solutions which are available and also some key points which should be taken into consideration when deciding which SATA device to use.
First, let’s take a look at the mainstream SATA SSD being used in the client and enterprise market segments.
The focus of this market is cost and performance and not reliability, BOM-control and/or long life cycles. Typical requirements are for a product that will last 2-3 years in a relatively benign temperature and shock and vibration environment. The duty cycle for a client PC in most instances is relatively light. For enterprise solutions, the SSD is used as a cache and expected to have a finite life cycle once the TBW (Tera Bytes Written) endurance is consumed.
For this reason, the mainstream SATA SSD are built using lower cost NAND memory which also comes with much lower endurance cycles such as TLC (Tri Level Cell) NAND. A detailed SSD 101 EBook explains and illustrates the differences in NAND memory type and can be downloaded below.
Now consider an Embedded OEM application where there is a need to operate in the field for 5 to 10 or more years without service. In some cases, it is a harsh environment, in others it is just not practical or desired to visit the location of the system.
In these cases, a more reliable solution is needed. Hence the need for Industrial Grade SATA Devices for the most reliable, long life applications and Industrial MLC SATA Devices for a BOM-controlled, relatively long life solution in environments with lower endurance and less harsh duty cycles and environmental conditions.
A Number of SATA Form Factors to Choose:
The advantages of the SATA interface is its speed. Although at lower densities, the speed advantage may be lower than expected due to less channels for the controller to stripe across. With this speed advantage it is also more power hunger than other interface devices used in the Embedded World like IDE/ATA and SD interface.