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SMART Optimus 400GB Enterprise SSD Review - Guardian Technology Platform

The SMART Optimus heralds the beginning of a new era for the datacenter, the inclusion of MLC NAND SSDs into roles typically only served via SLC high-endurance SSDs. Providing SLC-like endurance from MLC NAND sounds like a magic trick or marketing hype at its finest.

By: | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Dec 13, 2012 12:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: SMART Storage Systems

Guardian Technology Platform


Before assembly, SMART subjects all NAND to an extensive re-characterization, which reassigns more accurate P/E Ratios to the NAND. Aggregated flash management ensures that there is an even distribution of different classes of NAND present on each SSD to benefit the whole. Once assembled the Guardian Technology Platform takes over and the NAND settings are monitored and adjusted constantly. This keeps the NAND perfectly in tune over the life of the SSD.




The award-winning Guardian Technology Platform is SMART's proprietary approach consisting of three integral components.




As NAND geometries shrink, the endurance of the NAND also shrinks and the data errors multiply. This creates major difficulties that have hampered the introduction of low endurance MLC NAND into the datacenter. Data errors are typically solved with ECC (Error Correction Code). This can reach a diminishing point of returns when more powerful ECC algorithms create excessive overhead, leading to performance degradation and higher latency. SMART utilizes DSP (Digital Signal Processing) in concert with advanced ECC algorithms to combat these data errors.


NAND is typically programmed for retention and wear metrics during NAND processing and the settings are never altered. Adaptive programming dynamically adjusts flash parameters over the course of the SSDs life, tailoring the NAND settings at the base level. This creates exponential increases in endurance of the underlying NAND. Typical SSDs can only achieve wear leveling on each NAND package. Aggregated Flash Processing treats all of the flash elements as a whole and provides global cross-die wear leveling.




DataGuard provides full data path protection (T-10 DIF compliant) and the F.R.A.M.E. (Flexible Redundant Array of Memory Elements) functionality. F.R.A.M.E. is a cross-die data redundancy feature, similar to parity, which allows for data reconstruction in the event of a catastrophic event, such as a flash page or even an entire NAND block failure.




EverGuard is a third generation host power-loss protection approach that protects against unexpected power interruptions. An array of highly reliable discrete Tantalum capacitors provides the power to flush all data in transit to the NAND during loss of power. These Tantalum capacitors are rated for high temperature environments and do not experience degradation over time.


There are additional architectural features that reduce the power hold up time requirements, with advanced controller power management, and lower pages reserved for power-down writes. The power is rated at 7W (Typical) when active, with VCC 5V, -5%/+10%.


These features are rounded out with AES 256-bit encryption, TCG Enterprise Compliant security and a five year warranty.

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