Would Memory Failure Be Catastrophic to your business?

From visits to OEM companies using flash storage as a critical device in their systems over the last couple decades, the discussion often turns to what would happen to the company if the flash storage failed.

In some instances, there would be no real downside to the company - a minor inconvenience as the flash card is replaced. In other instances, the company’s system would fail, causing mission failure - or worst - with no way of recovery.

In general, reality is somewhere in between. The system would need to be serviced - which requires a repair technician to travel to the site or the system would need to be shipped back if possible. Company reputation would suffer as the OEM’s customer questions their judgement on selection of their system vendor. Finally, any profit associated with this sale or others is lost due to the added expense of service and repair.

What if there was a solution which would minimize or possibly eliminate flash storage related failures from your OEM system?

What would that be worth to an OEM system manufacturer?

To give a real-life example, Cactus worked with an OEM several years ago. Over a 2-year period we shipped over 200,000 Industrial Grade CF Cards which were integrated into their system and used to store and run the operating system and application. It’s been over 5 years and we have not had a failure at this OEM. Not one on 200,000 units.

At some point in time, this OEM decided to move forward with a lower cost solution from another supplier. They needed higher capacity flash storage and went with a MLC NAND based solution since it provided several times lower cost.

Fast forward 3-4 years and we’re being told there has been a noticeable low-mid single digit failure rate with the MLC NAND based parts. With the end unit system cost incorporating the lower cost MLC NAND device, it is difficult to use a higher priced Industrial Grade Flash Storage without either eroding margins or increasing their customer’s price in the market.

This OEM would like to go back in time and make a different decision which would have a better long-term effect on their product offering. With their OEM system in-field life expectations of >5 years they’re disappointed with their decision.


Cactus Technologies focus is to make the most reliable Industrial Grade Flash Storage Devices based on SLC NAND memory, with a locked-BOM (Bill-Of-Material) to ensure the performance and reliability characteristics never change over the many years of production.

If you need assistance with an OEM design or needing special features, please contact us.

Steve Larrivee has over 30 year's experience in the data storage market, including 5 years at Seagate Technology and 10 years at SanDisk. He joined Cactus Technologies Limited as an equity partner and Co-Founded Cactus USA in 2007 with partner Tom Aguillon. Learn more about Steve on LinkedIn.