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TeleCommunication Systems Proteus Plus Military SSD Preview

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Sep 28, 2012 4:12 pm

Final Thoughts




The mobile explosion has created a huge problem for the various government agencies tasked with creating, storing and protecting classified data. Reality can be scary. On March 15th of this year a nuclear scientist's laptop went missing on a train in India. The implication of missing sensitive nuclear data in this volatile region of the world is simply alarming. This loss isn't just a threat to the security of India, it could be a threat to the entire world.


In June of this year, a top-secret laptop containing Taiwanese plans for a stealth ship went missing and presumably is in the hands of the Chinese government. Unfortunately, these aren't isolated events and well publicized security breaches with laptops have happened in the UK and the US as well. Loss of equipment such as the top secret US drone in Iran also brings the relevance of data security to light.


Maybe what is the scariest are the losses of data that we aren't even aware of. Information that is so sensitive that even the loss will never be confirmed nor denied. Protecting data that can cost human lives brings a tremendous responsibility along with it. In these types of applications, reliability comes to the forefront and speed is a secondary consideration. That is the purpose of utilizing the Indilinx Barefoot controller with the Proteus Plus SSD. It is stable and a proven performer that has stood the test of time. Making this controller forward compatible with the newer generations of NAND is an important step to making this a relevant NAND/controller combination.


The only notable feature that is lacking is power capacitors for data protection in the event of power loss. This may have been lost to price constraints as power capacitors typically add quite a bit of cost to the end product.


Features that harden the SSD abound with the base design of this SSD providing a tremendous amount of protection from the majority of environmental hazards. The added ability to customize this SSD to withstand the most violent of forces adds an extra layer of protection. BGA underfill, staking of components, conformal coating and gel encapsulation will support just about any use.


Perhaps most important are the steps taken to ensure that the data contained on the SSD is safe. While the device does not support encryption at the hardware level, the majority of secure applications will employ software encryption as a standard.


What is important is the ability to destroy the data immediately. The plethora of secure erase methods provides a means to please even the most scrutinizing of government agencies. Triggering these different types of data destruction with either software or hardware is a neat feature that will allow for multiple methods of destruction with a single SSD. Anything from too many password attempts, remote triggers or physically moving the SSD could delete the data.


It can be frightening to think of the power that a bunch of ones and zeros can have when they fall into the wrong hands, but the advent of technology and devices such as the Proteus Plus can help keep that data secure under the most demanding scenarios.


Update from manufacturer: "The Proteus Plus does not feature tantalum capacitors, but instead uses a Power Management Circuit designed to protect the data resting in the volatile SDRAM cache at any moment. This is done by a power monitoring circuit in lieu of a passive RC circuit. The power monitoring circuit issues an early reset generated up to 200ms earlier as power is removed. The reset is used to both reset the controller IC as well as write protect the flash chips, leading to less chance of data corruption by an attempted write with unstable power. TCS System engineering has tested tens of thousands of power failures with this Power Management Circuitry and has not observed a loss of data with this technique."

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