ClearNAND technology consist of an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and a NAND die with 8 bytes of capacity that acts as a cache for data being error corrected prior to being laid down on the NAND flash storage. The ClearNAND presents itself as a standard NAND interface to the host processor.
Micron's Standard ClearNAND products come in capacities of 8GB to 32GB, and are intended to remove the ECC burden from the host processor with minimal protocol changes compared with raw NAND. The Standard ClearNAND portfolio is targeted for portable media players and other consumer electronic devices.
In addition to removing the ECC burden from the host processor, Enhanced ClearNAND also provides new enterprise specific features to enable high-capacity designs, delivering improved performance and reliability. Capacities are available in 16GB to 64GB packages. The Enhanced ClearNAND products are targeted at enterprise and computing applications.
Both Micron Standard ClearNAND and Enhanced ClearNAND products are being shipped to equipment manufacturers for testing today and will be generally available in the first half of next year, Kilbuck said.
Kilbuck said Micron's ECC code would clash with existing host ECC and, therefore, Micron will ask its equipment manufacturing partners to disable their code when using its ClearNAND technology.
"That's just the quick and dirty way to enable it," Kilbuck said. "In the future, customers or people developing host processors won't even need ECC in there at all. They can reduce cost on their side by eliminating the ECC engine."
Besides Micron's ClearNAND ASIC, Israeli start-up Anobit Technologies announced earlier this year it had also created a special processor, called a Memory Signal Processor, that boosts MLC NAND flash memory reliability through a special error-correction algorithm.
There are also several materials being explored by memory manufacturers to alleviate the data error problem. One technology several nonvolatile memory companies are exploring is Resistive Random-Access Memory (RRAM). Instead of using silicon as a resistive material, RRAM uses a filament or conduction path in the silicon.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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