Local storage technologies for IoT devices


Data flood of the Internet of Things

Due to the unprecedented growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the world, it has sparked the development of new technologies with a particular focus on storage. The devices that make up the Internet of Things are expected to generate ever larger amounts of data over the next few years. Developers need to determine where this data should be processed and stored. In addition to numerous online cloud storage solutions, local storage solutions are still required for use in IoT devices.




Local storage solutions

Due to its robust lifespan, local flash memories are extremely desirable in IoT applications that enable the storage of critical data and codes. Conventional flash memories are still used in IoT applications around GPS / navigation as well as in consumer products such as smartwatches due to their low cost, high storage density, operation in large temperature ranges and architecture. The storage technologies offer high flexibility and, above all, reliability.




NOR Flash is useful in applications that require code storage, such as Home gateways and set-top boxes are popular for their ability to support XIP applications and their low standby power consumption, while NAND is better suited for data storage applications that do not require XIP support. Data-intensive IoT applications like smart USB drivers and portable IoT devices require cheaper storage and use NAND flash because of its lower cost and higher storage capacity.





Characteristic​ NAND Flash NOR Flash
Cost per bit Low High
File storage use Easy Hard
Standby Power High Low
Active Power Low High
Read Speed Low  High
Write Speed High Low
Capacity High Low
Code execution Hard Easy



eMMC storage

The IoT market is powered by low-cost devices that include sensors, gauges, robots, wearable devices, and consumer electronics products. EMMC storage is well suited for such applications because of its low cost and its ability to act as a replacement for traditional storage media. The eMMC standard was developed to simplify the design of the application interface by moving the flash controller that interacts with the flash memory in the memory itself. The simpler design benefits IoT storage developers by reducing the space required for storage devices and thereby lowering costs. The eMMC 5.1 specification enables fast transfer speeds of up to 400 MB / s and capacities of up to 128 GB.





UFS storage

eMMC faces high competition from UFS 2.0, which offers higher data transfer speeds and lower power consumption than eMMC and is often viewed as the successor to the eMMC standard. Both embedded and removable flash memory are expected to operate in IoT devices. The evolution from eMMC to UFS offers advantages in terms of performance and low power consumption. On the performance side, it offers 600 MB / s compared to 200 MB / s for eMMC, while on the performance side it offers a performance reduction of 30% to 55%. The higher performance of UFS is also the result of architectural changes in the link layer. UFS has serial and full-duplex connection, while eMMC has parallel and half-duplex interfaces, which blocked higher-speed operation and efficient execution of commands.



What does the future of storage solutions for IoT devices look like?

IoT applications will continue to drive the development of various storage technologies, with each type of application having unique requirements. It is clear, however, that cost and power will be a challenge as most of the expansion of the IoT market is being driven by portable devices, driving embedded NVM and external NVM towards future growth.




Flash memory development | Debugging and Programming

Modern flash memories are complex ICs whose development requires many protocol layers to be considered.





UFS Protocol Analyzer

The UFS Protocol Analyzer PGY-UFS-PA gives development and test engineers comprehensive insights into the communication between the UFS host and device. An MPHY / UniPRO / UFS packet-based triggering enables the acquisition and analysis of specific protocol data. The analyzer enables the acquisition and debugging of data across the MPHY, UniPRO and UFS protocol levels.





eMMC and SDIO Protocol Analyzerprodigy-PGY-SSMlite-SD-Setup

The SD / SDIO / eMMC protocol analyzer PGY-SSM is a comprehensive protocol analyzer with several functions for recording and debugging the communication between the host and the memory to be tested. The PGY-SSM protocol analyzer supports SD, SDIO and eMMC for data rates of up to 200MHz DDR mode. It is the first eMMC protocol analyzer in the industry to support the specifications of versions 4.41, 4.51, 5.0 and 5.1.




UFS / eMMC programming and reading device

An eMMC programming or reading device is required to have access to an eMMC memory during developments. The NuProg-E programmer supports UFS (Universal Flash Storage), UMCP, eMMC and eMCP, which are widely used in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. With its comprehensive functional software and user-friendly interface, the technician can configure the descriptors, attributes, flags, LUNs and start partitions of UFS / UMCP. In addition, it offers access to the User Area, Boot, RPMB, GPP and Enhanced areas of eMMC / eMCP.