Tuxera – Will VR change the way we love?

Will VR change the way we love?

Once upon a time in 2016, I visited Nokia’s exhibit at Slush (Helsinki’s annual startup and tech event). At the booth, they showcased a music video that was filmed using their OZO VR camera. Although I had tried VR games, this music experience took me to a very different emotional place. The video placed you as a voyeur to a young couple falling in love. If you have a VR headset, you can watch the video featuring the music of OneRepublic here.

That experience left a lasting impression on me.

Standing close to the young couple, I found myself misty-eyed as their story unfolded around me. This immersive, emotional experience made me wonder – will VR change the way we love?

What the experts say about love and technology

At first thought, it’s easy to wander directly to the dystopian extreme of love and VR. That is, a person falls in love with an artificial intelligence, then never wants to leave the VR environment again. But as science and technology journalist, Jacob Ward, reminds us:

“Connecting to our own world and not to a made up one may be the real promise of virtual reality.”

Modern courtship is typically a “slow burn”

Biological Anthropologist Helen Fisher assures us that technology is not changing the type of person you’ll love or how you’ll feel love. But Fisher does note that technology is making an impact on how we court, or how we meet and pursue others romantically.

Take matchmaking sites, for example. Fisher – who is also match.com’s science advisor – explains that people experience cognitive overload on these sites, simply because there are too many choices. And when that happens, they just can’t decide who is “Mr., Mrs., or Mx. Right” – at least not after a long processes of considering their options. Coupled with fears of divorce, what we’re seeing today is a new form of courtship Fisher calls “slow love.” The pre-commitment stage before marriage is now much longer than ever before, and technology in the form of websites, chats, social media, and dating apps has played at least some part in supporting this new model of courtship.

Love and VR

So what happens if we carry Fisher’s discussion about love and technology over into VR space? VR technology will probably make it easier to find people to love. It may even have the potential for weeding people out before you even make it to the “slow love” stage.

Going back to my experience at Slush 2016 – a company called Texel was offering full-body 3D scans as a booth giveaway. Here’s what mine looks looks like:

It’s not long before it’s commonplace on dating sites to upload such 3D-scans, then animate them through body hardware so you can “pre-meet” people in a virtual environment. Instead of exchanging messages and reading profile after profile, you could just specify to meet people with certain interests in a VR cafe – all while your physical body stays at home in your pajamas. Want to have your first date on Mars? Why not? Using your virtual avatar, you could meet others and talk over a steaming cup of virtual joe in Martian gravity. And if things work out, you could move on to meeting each other physically in real life. If not, well, your VR experience saved you the hassle of getting dressed up for a fancy dinner.

In fact, the 2017 show “Virtually Dating” was built around this very premise.

Final thoughts

Based on Fisher’s stance on love and technology, there’s no reason to suggest that VR will change how we feel love or even the type of person we will love. But it will change the way we meet, court, and share experiences with others. For all you lovebirds out there, take comfort in what Fisher has to say:

“…love and attachment will prevail, technology cannot change it.”


Did you know?

Tuxera has high-performance file system software precision-engineered to tackle the storage challenges associated with VR equipment. Take a closer look on our solutions pages!

Storage management for consumer electronics

Tuxera first to bring SMB compression feature to Linux environments

The new feature enables enterprises and storage-hosting providers to transfer files over networks with far greater speed, throughput, and less time than before.

HELSINKI, Finland, November 25, 2020 – Tuxera, a world-leader in quality-assured storage management and networking software, announced that the company’s SMB server implementation, Fusion File Share by Tuxera, now offers transparent compression to platforms outside of Microsoft Windows. Compression is being rapidly and widely adopted in the storage industry as a feature in memory hardware, file system implementations, and also networking protocols such as Microsoft’s server messaging block technology (SMB). The ability to compress files inline during transfer can significantly reduce bandwidth and transfer time. Microsoft released the transparent compression feature to their SMB protocol specification in early 2019. However, Tuxera is the first to implement SMB compression outside of Microsoft Windows, bringing this highly in-demand feature to Linux environments in enterprises around the world.

Remote working, virtualization, and large datasets burden networks

SMB is a ubiquitously used protocol for sharing files over a network. Migrating or copying large or many files over networks, including virtual private networks (VPNs), can place serious strains on network performance, cause bottlenecks, and take valuable time to wait for the transfers to complete.

Remote working, data-driven applications with huge volumes of data, and the growing use of virtualization technologies are all placing enormous demands on networks around the globe. This is especially challenging for organizations or hosting-solution vendors that transfer data over long distances with many remote locations and in potentially high-latency conditions. The ability to do inline compression during data transfers using the SMB protocol will substantially alleviate these challenges. The feature is especially beneficial when moving large files or big data over networks – such as virtual machine images, raw media files, devops, engineering, and life science data, or other applications with large files.

Compression is a “game-changer” to SMB protocol development

In March 2020, Microsoft Principal Program Manager Ned Pyle, called compression a “game changer” for SMB. Additionally, he presented the feature as “long-awaited” – with substantially less network congestion, low CPU usage, and drastically reduced file transfer time.

“We’re really excited to be the first to deliver SMB compression to enterprise customers,” says Heinrich von Keler, Director of Enterprise Solutions at Tuxera. “Windows is a dominant force in the market, though the enterprise world is heavily reliant on Linux as well and is adopting Linux at an exceeding rate. By bringing SMB compression to Linux, we can open up entirely new use cases for enterprise customers – especially for hosted storage and software-defined storage vendors. Operations that were typically done through other protocols can now be done in a cost-saving, time-saving manner using the widely-adopted SMB protocol instead.”

Optimization and virtualization are two main use cases for compression

“SMB compression is best put to use when network conditions are not optimal, or higher overall system efficiency is required, or hardware and power cost saving is a major factor. If the network is a bottleneck, then compression can speed up file transfers and reduce waiting time. After compression, there is less data during the transfer over the network,” says Szabolcs Szakacsits, CTO of Tuxera.

“This feature is also highly useful in Microsoft Hyper-V or virtual environments, where there are large disk images containing lots of repeated byte patterns. Those repeating bytes are easy to compress and can be moved rapidly over the network. So very large containers or disk images used by virtual machines can be migrated to another server with minimal downtime in between.”

Tests reveal that Fusion File Share by Tuxera performs compression on par with Microsoft’s implementation, with transfer speed-ups between 30 – 300% and network bandwidth savings between 20 – 70%, depending on the data pattern.

More data, more Microsoft, and more virtualization bring SMB to center stage

Tuxera’s implementation of the SMB compression feature comes in context of a recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) on the state of the Global Datasphere. IDC estimates the world will create, capture, copy, and consume 59 zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2020. This number will continue to grow rapidly, as the world will create more than three times the data over the next five years than in the previous five. Moreover, the IDC notes that the growth of the Global DataSphere is driven more by data consumed and analyzed, rather than data created. This particular insight ties in closely with the sharing of data and files over networks for multiple users and applications, which is the main use for the SMB protocol.

Concurrently, Microsoft solutions, where the SMB protocol was born, are becoming more dominant in the enterprise market as a whole. A recent survey by leading IT-marketplace Spiceworks revealed that 79% of respondents said their business primarily runs both Windows client and server operating systems. Moreover, Spiceworks indicates that business adoption of server virtualization will grow to 97% until 2022, with an impressive 60% of businesses using or considering using Microsoft Hyper-V as their preferred solution.

Tuxera’s SMB roadmap focused on performance, scalability, and advanced features

Tuxera’s roadmap for its Fusion File Share SMB implementation is to keep pace with Microsoft’s latest features, including advanced enterprise-grade ones such as compression. The company has a long-standing technical, business, and legal relationship with Microsoft and are part of their licensing program for the exFAT file system and SMB technology.

Fusion File Share’s transparent SMB compression feature has been built based on Microsoft’s documentation, ensuring seamless compatibility between Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. The “transparent” aspect of this feature is especially beneficial to end users, as no interaction is required on their part to compress or decompress files. Transparent compression is ready for immediate deployment with Fusion File Share to any interested parties. Contact us at sales@tuxera.com for inquiries.

About Tuxera

Tuxera is the leading provider of quality-assured embedded storage management software and networking technologies. Helping people and businesses store and do more with their data, our software is at the core of phones, tablets, cars, TV sets, cameras, drones, external storage, routers, spacecraft, IoT devices, and more. We help you store your data reliably, while making file transfers fast and content easily accessible. Tuxera is also an active member of multiple industry organizations, including JEDEC, SNIA, AGL, SD Association, The Linux Foundation, and many others. Founded in 2008, Tuxera’s headquarters are located in Finland, with regional offices in China, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the US.

For more information, please contact:

Head of Marketing, Tuxera

Tiffiny Rossi

press@tuxera.com

References:

    1. Microsoft, 2020, “SMB Compression: Deflate your IO”: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/itops-talk-blog/smb-compression-deflate-your-io/ba-p/1183552
    2. IDC, 2020, “IDC’s Global DataSphere Forecast Shows Continued Steady Growth in the Creation and Consumption of Data”: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS46286020
    3. Spiceworks, 2020, “Data Storage Trends in 2020 and Beyond”: https://www.spiceworks.com/marketing/reports/storage-trends-in-2020-and-beyond/
    4. Spiceworks, 2020 “The 2020 State of Virtualization Technology”: https://www.spiceworks.com/marketing/reports/state-of-virtualization/


Tuxera presenting at GENIVI AMM '20

Meet Tuxera virtually at the 20th edition of the GENIVI All-Members meeting (AMM) October 26–28, 2020!

 

The GENIVI Alliance steers the open, Linux-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) platform. As a member of the GENIVI community, Tuxera is committed to addressing real-life challenges of the increasingly complex and connected vehicle.

For this year’s AMM, GENIVI will hold several sessions, including an industry-trend oriented program tackling issues like vehicle software complexity and maximizing the value of vehicle data. Speakers from Strategy Analytics, McKinsey, and a number of OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers – including Tuxera – will be part of the market trends sessions.

Join us on Monday, October 26 from 12:30-12:50 pm EDT (16:30–16:50 UTC) for a talk you won’t want to miss out on. Our Technical Product Manager, Thom Denholm will be presenting the following talk:

Solving data storage challenges in the automotive projects of tomorrow

Historically, automotive IVIs were literally read only. Functionality has been defined by the developer at the very beginning, with no major changes over lifetime. Consequently, the number of write cycles for flash memory was a no-worry. Now, systems have become much more complex with ECUs consolidated into domain controllers and hosting multiple functions on one SOC. The introduction of Android makes cars look like mobile phones, but with a higher lifetime of 10-15 years. Together with OTA updates, this results in many more write cycles that might make the flash wear out before end of life of the car. Fragmentation is observed to have an impact on performance in mobile devices – and could simply break an automotive system. Issues like FCA’s endless loop update from 2018, or the Spotify bug from 2016 with writing 5 GB per hour to flash puts further risk on future systems. We describe those effects more in detail, and suggest measures to mitigate the risks.

Hope to see you there!


Find out more and register for the GENIVI AMM here. Even non-members can listen in!

REGISTER FREE

Tuxera – protectors of data integrity

59 Zettabytes and counting – why file systems matter more than ever before

Today we live in an age of data-driven everything – where every millisecond of data capture is important. By the end of 2020, Statista estimates global data generation will reach 59 Zettabytes (ZB). In a layperson’s context, to get that much data onto 32 GB SD cards, you would have to fill over 2 TRILLION cards!

This is exactly why data storage – and the software that manages it – matters. Tuxera’s storage software ships in billions of devices around the world – such as cars, mobile phones, TVs – even spaceships! We’re the go-to storage software choice for brands that put a lot of care into ensuring the best user experience and satisfaction.

In general, storage management software works invisibly for us as users – managing the flow of data as it streams between apps, the operating system, and the storage hardware itself. It’s pretty much forgotten behind the scenes.

That is...until it doesn’t work right.

Loss of precious moments – like photos of those important to you. Sluggish devices or loss of device functionality from fragmented and corrupted storage blocks. Data loss that could bring critical operations – like a space flight – to an insurmountably expensive (or worse, life-threatening) failure.

Poorly designed, poorly implemented, and poorly supported file systems, flash management, and file sharing software can be a root cause of all these problems.

These are challenges Tuxera aims to end.

That’s why we promise unparalleled failure recovery, so if an accident or power loss happens, your data is stored safe and sound – uncorrupted and accessible. It’s why we design our software to extend the finite lifetime of flash memory, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected storage burnout. And it’s why we always strive for the best performance, so that rapidly flowing streams of data from multiple sources are securely captured on the hardware.

But moreover, our entire team has an uncanny eagerness to share our expertise in storage development, devoting time and care to ensure our customers meet their requirements and targets.

Right now, it's very likely our software is working diligently inside a device near you. But you might not even know that, because it’s working at its best – ensuring your data is securely stored for the long haul, uncorrupted, exactly when you need it.

Without further ado – we hope you enjoy watching our new brand video, which tells how Tuxera fits into the age of data-driven everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMM0cjKuR5k


Preparing for tomorrow's data: Tuxera's 2020 vision for data storage at Embedded World

Tuxera tackles automotive data storage, NAND errors, SD card formatting, and predictive maintenance and IIoT at Embedded World 2020

They say hindsight is 20/20. But with Embedded World 2020 right around the corner, it's also the future of data storage. If you’re headed to Nuremberg for this year’s event, we’ve got some presentations and a panel on embedded data storage you don’t want to miss out on! Read on to see all of what we’ll have in store for you there.

How to avoid end of life from NAND correctable errors

Flash media is fabulous for most use cases, but heavy reads can cause correctable errors. Linux flash file systems actually shorten the life of the media when dealing with these errors. How does this change with multiple bits per cell, including recent QLC NAND? We'll cover both this problem and the impacts in detail, from flash file systems to SSDs and other NAND flash-based media.

Presenter: Thom Denholm, Technical Product Manager

Session: 5.1: Hardware I – Memory

Date/time: Tuesday, February 25, 10:30–11:00

We will publish this as a whitepaper shortly after Embedded World, so check back later!

Challenges of tomorrow's data storage integrity in Automotive and IOT projects

Historically, automotive control units were literally read only. Functionality has been defined by the developer at the very beginning, with no major changes over lifetime. The number of write cycles for flash memory was a no-worry. Now, systems have become much more complex with ECUs consolidated into domain controllers and hosting multiple functions on one SOC. The introduction of Android makes cars look like mobile phones, but with a higher lifetime of 10-15 years. Together with OTA updates, this results in many more write cycles that might make the flash wear out before end of life of the car. Fragmentation is observed to have an impact on performance in mobile devices – and could simply break an automotive system. Issues like FCA’s endless loop update from 2018, or the Spotify bug from 2016 with writing 5 GB per hour to flash puts further risk on future systems. We describe those effects more in detail, and suggest measures to mitigate the risks.

Presenter: Bernd Niedermeier, Head of Automotive Business Development

Session: 4.6: Functional Safety & Security VI – Securing IoT

Date/time: Thursday, February 27, 16:00–16:30

This whitepaper will also be published shortly after Embedded World, so check back later!

First-class formatting: Ensuring optimal performance, lifetime, and quality of SD cards with the SD Card Formatter

Formatting an SD or microSD card requires specific tools to ensure a smooth process, positive experience, and minimal data loss. The SD Card Formatter handles SD cards in accordance with standards defined by the SD Association (SDA). Find out how it works and the performance benefits gained by formatting your SD cards using this helpful tool, developed by file system engineers at Tuxera.

Presenter: Thom Denholm, Technical Product Manager

Location: SD Association booth – Hall 3A / 3A-634

Date/time: Every day during Embedded World at 11:30

Panel: Predictive Maintenance Using the IIoT

Industrial systems, manufacturing equipment, robotics, etc., need to be maintained. There’s no getting around that. Doing it on your own schedule, rather than at the most inopportune time can lead to costly delays. This panel will look at what’s need to implement predictive maintenance. We’ll be there to discuss how embedded storage plays a role in predictive maintenance.

Panelist: Kerri McConnell, GM for Americas (CEO of Datalight)

Location: Embedded Computing Design booth – Hall 5, booth 5-341

Date/time: Tuesday, February 25 at 3 PM

We’ll be giving away a raffle prize, so don’t miss out on this thought-provoking discussion!

Meet Tuxera at Embedded World 2020

If you can’t make it to any of our talks or panels, you can also stop by our booth in Hall 4, 4-532. We’ll be there to listen and learn about your challenges with storage longevity, data integrity, fail-safety, and storage performance in the era of data-driven embedded technologies. Come learn about file systems and flash storage management solutions there. Hope to see you in Nuremberg!


Let’s talk about solving your embedded data storage challenges at Embedded World

BOOK A MEETING

 


Tuxera at CES 2020

CES 2020 wrap-up: more data means more storage challenges

For our 8th year in a row, Tuxera headed out to Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show). As in previous recent years, our focus there was looking at automotive technology and engaging our partners in meaningful discussions about their challenges in automotive edge storage. Here's some of our observations and reflections from the show floor – which give you a different perspective beyond all the media hype surrounding the event.

Reliable storage software is needed now more than ever

Tuukka Ahoniemi, CEO, Tuxera 

“My takeaway was there’s a lot of place for file system technology to do good work. That said, there’s a lot of education to be done. People in the automotive industry especially are now waking up to all the challenges in handling and storing all this data coming into cars. There are a lot of specific workload requirements, and automotive companies are now starting to understand that they can’t just use what comes off the shelf or is available for free without knowing how to configure and set up and optimize for the type of data workloads they’re working with. They need our expertise now more than ever before, and we’re glad to be here to help.”

The pains of managing and storing data are felt across all industries

Heather Goring, Sales director – Americas

“It’s been interesting to see the shift in technologies at CES over the years. When I first started coming in the 90s, a lot of what you saw was truly embedded systems. Now we have robots on display that are scrubbing your windows and a lot of products coming from companies that I don’t necessarily see as technology companies.

Even though Tuxera was in the Automotive Grade Linux booth at CES, we not only talked to companies doing automotive projects, but also talked to a lot of different companies outside the industry: from energy, robotics, and farming, for example. All of them have storage challenges related to file systems, both with their internal flash memory and external storage. The conversations we had with them were amazing!”

Less hype, more realistic views toward autonomous driving

Bernd Niedermeir, Head of Automotive Business Development

"From the show perspective, the atmosphere felt a bit different this year. At least with autonomous driving, most companies seem to have their feet back on the ground again – because we’re finding out that it’s not all that easy to implement. It’s now very much about electro-mobility and connected cars. The messages we’re seeing from the floor feel a lot more realistic than in past years. Also, always interesting to experience the South Hall with it’s extremely diverse set up – you can have a Chinese A.I. based Level 4 Autonomous Driving Software Stack company on the left side and next to it there is a booth with massage seats for the living room. But maybe they connect well after all because with autonomous cars the passenger's seat might become a differentiator as well. ;-)"

CES is still the tech event to attend!

Eva Rio, Head of User and Market Research

“This was my first time at CES. I was a bit dubious about the event as I kept hearing that in the past years it had started to decline. I personally felt this couldn’t be farther from the truth! I found the show to be really “down-to-earth.” I was able to have meaningful discussions and did not hear any buzzwords like the ones you often see in press releases. Every person I talked to was an expert in their field and spoke of their products with passion and expertise. I really appreciate that despite the hectic pace of the show, we were able to have face-time with our customers and partners. Also, as a tech enthusiast, I would never forget my first impression being on the floor, the chills of being surrounded by prototypes and unreleased products – from the concept cars of Mercedes, Sony, Ford to the foldable screens of Royole, the FBI and American Express booths – it’s just spectacular. CES is still the event to attend! It’s great for networking and learning regardless of what industry you’re in.”

No shortage of interest in automotive edge storage solutions

Thom Denholm, Technical Product Manager

“This was also my first CES, and pretty overwhelming. It sprawls over several buildings in Las Vegas, with shuttle, Uber, taxi, and foot traffic evident between them. CES had a much larger automotive presence than I expected. There was less of a focus on autonomous vehicles than at the TU-Automotive Detroit show seven months ago, but perhaps that is because of a different audience. With the exception of the AGL booth, there was also less focus on what happens under the hood. That said, the various sensors, cameras, and cool new tech will all need somewhere to store all that data, even for a short time. We also had a presence at the GENIVI reception and it was worth the price of the flight itself. People were coming up to me non-stop to talk about one of our many file systems. FlashFX was also the focus of a few conversations. After three straight hours of talking, I nearly lost my voice!”

Welcome to the age of data-driven, voice-assisted everything

Tiffiny Rossi, Head of Marketing

“I'm also a CES first-timer. One thing was very clear – we are now in the age of data-driven, voice-assisted EVERYTHING. And I mean anything and everything. I think the Amazon booth was the epitome of this trend, where we found baby formula canisters that had Alexa integration and could notify you if you're running low on formula and order you new stock!

The car floor was some of the most dazzling marketing I have ever seen. Some companies like Nissan, Audi, and Ford brought actual car models they were about to release. Although I do have to admit, it felt like many of the car companies are playing catchup to deliver what Tesla already has driving out on the roads. Hyundai Mobis was showing their truly futuristic-looking M Vision S. And the Hyundai-Uber helicopter really made waves at the event – though I have trouble calling it a "flying car." From the product demos, it appeared to be a solution to take over long-distance intra-state car rides and short-haul flights now made by jetliners. It was also coupled with a little transportation "pod" that could take you from your home to a flight depot. I think the “Hyundai-Uber-copter” was really the thing to see this CES!”

 

CES 2020 automotive technology walkthrough from Tuxera on Vimeo.

 


Meet Tuxera at CES 2020

Come and visit us at booth 1815 to discuss automotive data storage and see our demos.

CES 2020 is in full swing. This year, we’re proud to announce that we’ll be with AGL and GENIVI – and we’re super excited to talk to you directly about automotive data handling. As the leading innovator in data storage software for autonomous cars, consumer electronics, IoT devices, and data-driven enterprises, we'll be there to help solve your most complex storage challenges. At booth 1815, we'll have product demos and even a game for you to experience. 

Here’s a short overview of where you can meet us and what you can expect to see:

Automotive Grade Linux Showcase

January 7-10, 2020

Booth 1815, Stand B3

Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

We’re working with car makers, Tier-1s and other suppliers in the industry to show how to maximize flash memory storage reliability, performance, and lifetime of IVI and cluster storage. Come meet us at the AGL Showcase to learn more about our flash memory testing service, which analyzes performance, level of fail-safety, durability, risk analysis, and lifetime cost of the entire automotive storage stack.

A fun spin on fragmentation

Get a new perspective on how file systems can affect the flash lifetime and performance in cars with Frag Fighters, our fast-paced game playable at the AGL booth and GENIVI. Beat the high score and you could even win some cool prizes. See some of the gameplay in action below.

*This post was updated on January 8th, 2020.


So if you’re around, drop by the booth and let’s talk about solving your automotive data storage challenges. Or contact us directly to learn more about how we can help you do more with your data.

CONTACT US

 


Tesla troubles – averting automotive flash memory failure

Oops is an understatement here. Tesla’s got a problem with dead eMMC flash memory cards in Model S and Model X cars equipped with their MCUv1 (Media Control Unit). And according to InsideEVs, this dead part could cost more than $1,800 to repair! As reported in InsideEVs, the problem stems from excessive writing to a log file that’s causing flash wear. This, combined with the ever-increasing size of Tesla’s firmware (which has grown from 300 MB to 1 GB), leads to a situation where the MCUv1’s storage reaches its maximum endurance and fails.

A closer look at Tesla’s MCUv1 flash memory failure

An application in Tesla’s MCUv1 was writing and rewriting massive amounts of log data. But flash memory lifetime is limited by a finite number of write and erase cycles, typically in the tens of thousands. Over time in these intensive write-rewrite scenarios, the blocks in the flash memory storage eventually “die out,” making them unusable for storing any data. And when blocks fail, portions of the firmware file may become unreadable, which can lead to application crashes or complete failure of the MCU.

A lot of suggestions have been made which could have prevented the problem:

  1. Intelligent wear leveling

We caught up with our Technical Product Manager, Thom Denholm, to explain the wear leveling aspect in more detail. “Wear leveling describes techniques used to ensure even use of the blocks on flash media, with the purpose of achieving the longest possible lifetime of the storage.

The most basic wear leveling design is dynamic wear leveling. For each data write, the algorithm makes sure the block being written to is the least erased block. Unfortunately, this “quick and dirty” design has a flaw on most use cases that will compromise the lifetime of the flash. Any blocks containing data written only once (so-called static data) are left out of rotation for wear leveling. If a system contains a large portion of these static data blocks, that means fewer blocks available to balance the load. This could have perhaps been a problem in the Tesla case.”

Thom’s technical assessment of the situation is spot on! That said, even with good wear leveling at the flash management or file system level, the Tesla MCU would have still failed under such write and erase conditions. But proper wear leveling would have bought considerably more lifetime for the system.

  1. Retaining all the logged data in RAM

The InsideEVs article suggests that the logged data could instead be moved to RAM to essentially trick the system. This, however, would have drawbacks in poorer performance and the mere fact that logs would be in volatile memory. According to Joel Catala, our Director of Engineering, “This solution potentially defeats the initial intentions of the system designers, and might result in troublesome situations if the needed data isn't available in case of a crash.”

  1. The right grade of memory hardware

In a post on LinkedIn about the Tesla issue, Kevin Kilbuck, VP of Business Development for Longsys and Lexar comments, “As someone who has worked in the semiconductor memory industry for over 30 years, I can state emphatically that not all flash is created equal. There are many ‘grades’ of flash memory produced, ranging from low-end consumer grade, that is really only suitable for things like entry-level (cheap) USB drives and other consumer products, to enterprise-grade flash, which is utilized in high-reliability/endurance applications, such as write-intensive flash storage arrays.”

Kevin continues, “As others have pointed out, the hardware (controller) and software used to manage the flash are also important. That being said, it is not possible to take a low grade of flash and use it in a high-endurance application, no matter how robust your flash management is. The lower grades of flash have other failure mechanisms that error management software/hardware cannot correct. These lower grades are perfectly fine for the intended application, but not much else. I am in no way suggesting that Tesla tried to use a lower grade of flash than they should have, only that the silicon matters as well as the flash management techniques.”

  1. Putting the logged data on separate memory hardware

Sure, this could have solved Tesla’s problem. But memory hardware is costly and adds extra weight to the system, and there are better ways to solve the problem.

So what do we at Tuxera feel would have been the best solution to preventing Tesla’s MCU storage failure?

Go back to the basics – understand and test your entire storage stack

“Correct understanding of the memory devices (and their limitations), of software components such as data management (file system and flash management), and application behavior is key to designing systems that will be robust and survive the X number of years they are intended to live,” writes Joel Catala, our director of Engineering. This overview of the entire storage stack and all the data workload requirements must be done in the planning and design phase, not as an afterthought.

Joel continues, “At Tuxera, we've encountered issues like Tesla’s several times, and we are continuously collaborating with customers and partners on activities such as workload analysis, lifetime estimation, write amplification measures, and ultimately selection of data management software and storage devices.” Tuxera offers a Flash Memory Cost Analysis and Testing service to provide this level of understanding, and to help prevent memory failures.

Final thoughts

Let’s be clear. We’re actually big fans of Tesla over here at Tuxera (did someone say Caraoke? Yuss!). You can typically find a few Teslas in the parking lot behind our HQ here in Finland. But the Tesla MCU memory failure illustrates the need to fully understand everything going on in storage stack – from hardware, to software, to the use cases and potential workloads from when the car leaves the factory to 5 years from that date. These factors are the key to designing robust systems that will match the lifetime of the car.


We work with car makers and Tier-1 suppliers to help them choose the optimal storage hardware-software combinations for their specific use cases. Let’s solve your automotive flash memory challenges.

TUXERA FLASH TESTING SERVICE


Using NVME over fabric in a centralized automotive storage architecture

Today’s automotive data storage architecture presents several challenges for OEMs in terms of cost, security, and serviceability. The various systems and ECUs in the car – infotainment, navigation, cluster, rear-seat entertainment, ADAS, EDR, and others – all have their own storage hardware. All these individual storages which are comprised of NVMe™, SSD, eMMC, or UFS hardware bump up costs. Consequently, the memory footprint of the autonomous vehicle is becoming very expensive – not to mention the added hassle of servicing and replacing the various storage components should they fail over time. What's more, the complexity of securing each storage device from harmful attacks or data theft is an ever looming issue.

Centralized automotive storage is the answer

Together with Marvell®, we’re working to simplify these challenges. At Embedded World 2019, we announced our cooperation with Marvell to bring scalable shared storage infrastructure to autonomous and connected cars. Combining Tuxera’s storage software expertise with Marvell’s state-of-the-art connectivity and NVMe over Fabric (NVMe-oF™) SSD storage technology, the companies are tackling the growing demand for high performance, reliable storage. Our joint proof-of-concept is a multi-purpose centralized storage infrastructure with minimal footprint on the hardware stack. Check out this video for an understanding of how centralized storage using NVMe-oF works. Marvell’s leading NVMe-oF SSD controller and networking switching technology ensures shared access to data to various ECUs. Coupled with Reliance Velocity – our high-performance storage management software – this centralized storage architecture is fail-safe, can share data between multiple operating systems, the flash memory hardware lasts longer, and the data is rapidly stored and accessed.

Potential use cases for automotive centralized storage

In theory, any scenario in which more than one system needs to access the same data or files is a potential use case for centralized storage. Map files are a good example, especially considering multiple data layers make the map files a gigabyte or more in size. To access those map files, the current on-board storage architecture requires two separate storages for a cluster and an infotainment system – which can add up in BOM costs. In the Marvell-Tuxera centralized storage architecture, only one storage is required to serve both these hosts, and they don’t even have to be running on the same operating system to access the shared map data. Another possible use case is for storing over-the-air (OTA) updates. ECUs use a module that connects to the cloud, then downloads the update to the on-board storage. But each system having its own storage for updates leaves multiple potential security vulnerabilities. With the Marvell-Tuxera centralized storage architecture, security is easier to manage. Only one storage would be needed to securely store the update from the cloud module, then provide the various update files to multiple hosts in need of an update. Car makers and Tier-1s are already approaching us asking how we can help them with their storage management needs in a centralized storage architecture. Use cases we’ve been consulted about are sharing data from cameras and sensors in ADAS or EDR systems. A large concern here is for data persistence in crash data collection. In this scenario, multiple hosts – meaning the various sensors recording data – need write access to one central storage.

Final thoughts

As the race toward level 5 autonomy presses forward, the amount of data any one car could potentially produce is growing at a colossal rate – to the tune of 380 TB to 5,100 TB of data in just one year. As it’s simply neither feasible nor entirely safe to push all this data to the cloud, vehicles need on-board local data storage. The message here is that local storage inside vehicles isn’t going away soon. And as ECU consolidation continues to be a trend into the future, it makes sense to begin consolidating the on-board storage as well. That’s why we’re partnering with leading hardware companies like Marvell, designing cutting-edge solutions to tackle tomorrow’s challenges in automotive storage. So come and talk to us at FMS 2019 at Marvell's booth, 511! Or get in touch with us for help designing a centralized storage architecture for your automotive projects.

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Tuxera presenting on data storage integrity at Flash Memory Summit 2019

Come see our presentations and a panel discussion on data storage integrity, managed NAND media failures, and automotive storage security at FMS 2019.

Flash Memory Summit in sunny San Jose is just around the corner. This year, we’re proud to announce we’ll have two speakers presenting, plus we’ll be part of an automotive session panel. If you’re headed there, please join us for our talks. Read on for all the details!

Presentation 1: Tomorrow's Data Storage Integrity and Safety for Autonomous Cars

Session title
AUTO-101-1: Tomorrow's Auto Safety/Security Requirements

Session time
Tuesday, August 6th 8:30 – 10:50 am

Presenter
Bernd Niedermeier, Sales Director Automotive, Europe, Tuxera

Abstract
With autonomous and connected cars becoming extremely data-driven, storage infrastructure plays a key role in the intelligent systems of vehicles. From black-box applications to running the operating systems, and transferring data from sensors, multiple critical features of autonomous vehicles highly depend on data stored on flash storage technology. From a storage perspective, risks can occur on multiple levels – including cyber security, data management software, and the storage hardware itself.

With so many potential risks, addressing the questions of safety becomes a first-priority concern. What happens if a hacker gets access to user-sensitive data? How can we ensure continuous stable performance of the flash hardware in mission-critical applications? And what happens if the flash memory cells prematurely wear out due to intensive data reads and write?

Join our talk as we discuss the challenges of autonomous data storage safety and integrity, and the steps that can be taken to reduce or prevent these risks.

Intended audience
Automotive system designers, hardware and software designers, engineering managers, system engineers and analysts, product marketing engineers, computer and communications specialists.

Presenter bio
Bernd is leading Automotive Sales in Europe at Tuxera, having joined from Operating System vendor QNX, where he was also responsible for state-of-the-art IVI, Cluster and ADAS programs for major tier-1s and OEMs. Over the last 30 years, he's held Sales and Sales Management positions at companies like Altera, Mentor Graphics, MathWorks, Altium/Tasking, working with customers to solve global challenges using cutting-edge products. Developing customer-based solutions in a wide variety of environments has made him appreciate the complexity of work on the customer side. Bernd has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Munich University of Applied Sciences. Besides Sales and Technology, he also has a background in Communications Theory, and enjoys discussing automotive legislation.

Presentation 2: How to Detect and Handle SD and SSD Media Failures

Session title
SSDS-102-1: Enterprise SSDs

Session time
Tuesday, August 6th 3:40 – 6:00 pm

Presenter
Thom Denholm, Technical Product Manager, Datalight (a Tuxera company)

Abstract
Managed NAND media (SD and SSD) has failure modes which can be devastating to embedded systems. Even error-correcting codes and CRC codes can't eliminate all of them. Some of the most difficult to detect or correct include partially programmed pages, read disturb errors (known metaphorically as "bit rot"), metadata corruption, and stale data. The use of sequence numbers and a validation technique called Merkle Trees can help.

Intended audience
Executives, Engineers, End Users, Technology Journalists, Press, Technologists, Marketing Professionals, Applications Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Academics, Students, and other Researchers.

Presenter bio
Thom Denholm is a Technical Product Manager at Datalight, a leading provider of embedded file systems. He works on product planning and worldwide marketing of the software products, provides pre-sales support and technical assistance, and trains partners, channel participants, and customers. He is a frequent blogger on embedded systems and also does webinars and demonstration videos. With over 20 years of experience in the embedded space, he combines a strong focus on operating system and file system internals with a knowledge of modern flash devices. Thom holds a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA). He has spoken at many events, including past Flash Memory Summits.

Panel discussion:  AUTO-202B-1: Auto Roundtable (Automotive Applications Track)

Panel time
Wednesday, August 7th 4:35-5:40 PM

Session description
Evaluating the storage management challenges of the autonomous transportation ecosystem. What types of data do moving vehicles need from the physical environment – streets, roads, signals, signs – and in what form? How much of the data needs to be saved by the vehicle to "learn" so it can anticipate the wants and needs of the people and products being transferred? Will most of the data be held in the cloud and used while the vehicle is in motion, or should it be retained within the vehicle itself? Who will have access to that data, and who will be responsible for keeping it safe, secure, and private?

Panel Members
Doug Mitchell, Product Marketing Engineer MPS, Cypress Semiconductor
Ivan Ivanov, Distinguished Engineer, CoC Systems, Harman
Bernd Niedermeier, Sales Director Automotive, Europe, Tuxera
Michael Huonker, Engineer Advanced Head Unit, Daimler AG
Alan Messer, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer, InnovationShift

Intended audience
IoT, environment planners, developers, vehicle and system developers and planners, senior and engineering management for storage firms, Tier 1 and automotive producers. City and state transportation planners, as well as solution providers.

Meet us at Booth 845 during FMS 2019
You can also find us at the Flash Memory Summit Expo. There we’ll be demoing Reliance Velocity (formerly Tuxera Flash File System) – designed to bring ultimate performance, reliability, security, and longest lifetime to any flash hardware. It's also the only file system to reliably support all the major automotive operating systems. Visit us to compare Reliance Velocity performance and lifetime against ext4.

We'll also be demoing Ubiquitous QuickBoot by Tuxera. Our fast boot solution reduces IVI or cluster boot times by up to 86% or more on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), GENIVI, Android IVI, or others. Stop by our booth to compare boot times on actual IVI systems running Android.


Let's talk more about your challenges when it comes to flash memory storage performance. Pre-book a time to see our demos at Flash Memory Summit, or drop by our booth 845 any time.

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