High-performance embedded flash file systems – Tuxera

Two big challenges with flash memory and how to solve them

Humanity creates an unfathomable 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day! To help wrap our heads around that ginormous number – that’s enough data to fill 10 million blu-ray discs daily. Obviously, it’s inefficient to burn all of this data to discs. So what technology will be used to store this data into the future? The answer is flash memory technology. Flash memory chips are embedded inside of devices like your phone or your car, and also used in external storage such as SD cards. What makes flash memory so viable is that it can retain data for years without power supplied to the chip (this is known as “non-volatile” memory). But even the best memory has some grey areas.

What are some of the challenges with flash memory technology?

Flash memory has some particular challenges related to reliability and performance, and in those areas Tuxera’s solutions bring significant performance improvements. Here are two such challenges we help solve:

1. Flash memory wears out over time. Inside the memory chip, bits of data are stored on cells. Each time data is erased from or written to a cell, it causes wear. Over time and repeated cycles of writing and erasing, the cells degrade and eventually become unusable. All our file system implementations, especially VelocityFS by Tuxera (formerly Tuxera Flash File System), write data more efficiently to reduce wear associated with read/write cycles, thereby extending the lifetime of flash memory.

2. Typical file system software can cause data fragmentation. While built-in features reduce fragmentation, this phenomenon still causes a decrease in performance over time. That's because the system has to jump around the memory layout to read or write all the bits of data that form a file. Our software is specially engineered to write data blocks to the memory in a way that keeps blocks close to each other. It wastes as little space as possible on the memory, so the system can perform at maximum speeds.

Strong involvement in the ecosystem is key

None of what we do is in a vacuum, however. We have strong relationships with leading flash memory manufacturers, and work with each vendor’s hardware to improve performance and lifetime. That's why we attend industry events such as Flash Memory Summit – the best place to network with everyone in the flash memory ecosystem. For an insider's view on the flash memory trends for 2016, check out our wrap-up of Flash Memory Summit 2016.

What's the best way to handle data stored on flash memory? Follow the link below to find out more about the world's most flash-friendly file system.

Get VelocityFS by Tuxera

Commercial drones data storage – Tuxera

Commercial drones bring valuable data – but where is it stored?

In July 2016, 7-Eleven and drone startup Flirtey brought joy to some thirsty residents in Reno, Nevada, USA. This special Slurpee delivery (7-Eleven’s signature icy beverages) made headlines because it was the first FAA-approved home delivery by drone. While deliveries are a tangible use case for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commercial applications for UAVs run much deeper than just over-glorified delivery boys. As a matter of fact, transportation reporter Joan Lowy of the Associated Press reports commercial drone use is “the biggest game-changing technology in aviation since the advent of the jet engine.”

Deliveries are just the beginning

Outside of deliveries, what other applications are drones good for? Dronetech Europe identifies seven major areas of growth in commercial drone applications: 1) environment and renewables, 2) film, photography, and music, 3) sport and performance, 4) security and law enforcement, 5) emergency response, 6) agriculture and forestry, and 7) mapping and surveying. The common thread with all of these applications is data collection – and lots of it – from high-quality video footage to valuable spectral data about our environment.

Flying high with removable storage

All of that data collected by drones needs storage – and according to Wes Brewer, VP and GM of memory solutions provider Lexar, the microSD card has a bright future in that area. As Mr. Brewer points out, 8K resolution video, multiple sensor data, and 360-degree video capture will drive the need for greater performance and capacity in removable storage. SD cards have several advantages over embedded drone storage, including scalable capacity, higher-quality image storage, and lower-power data transfer.

Tuxera’s file system software is already inside selected commercial and consumer drones, bringing support for SD cards. Our software gives some added benefits alongside those brought on by SD cards including fail-safe data integrity in the event of power loss or crash, longer SD card lifetime, fast data transfer speeds, and low write latency when saving data to the SD card.

More data collection drives future storage needs

Commercial drones in particular are collecting an increasing amount of data. As businesses start using drones in a wider variety of applications, storage requirements continue to expand. For our part, we’re eager to continue improving data transfer and storage performance to meet those demands into the future.

This post has portions from a longer article at Engadget entitled, "Why drones are the next big thing in business."

Drone file system software makes a difference – Tuxera

Beyond hardware – drone software makes a difference

When it comes to drone performance, most of the attention is naturally focused on the hardware specs. But what’s often overlooked – and equally important – is the software inside the drone. As with any technology, drone performance is dependent on how everything works together inside.

The hardware does the heavy lifting

The brain of the drone is a tiny piece of silicon called an SoC (system on a chip). Chipset makers such as Intel, Qualcomm, and Ambarella all have specialized flight SoCs for drones. These SoCs typically have a multi-core processor with support for flight control systems, gyroscope, altimeter, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4K video processing, amongst other technologies.

Commercial drones in particular are equipped with multiple sensors and ultra HD cameras generating a lot of critical data. For example, drones used for agriculture may have IR (infrared) sensors to detect plant health, while those used for mapping may have LIDAR (light detection and ranging) surveying technology on board.

Hard-working software to match

Until the past few years, drones relied on either proprietary operating systems (OSes) or Arduino-based controllers. Today, more and more drones are running Linux-based software. On top of the OS are various drivers providing support for all the various sensors and technologies. Microsoft exFAT by Tuxera and Microsoft FAT by Tuxera file system software are two such embedded drivers. These file system software technologies bring support for SD cards used to store recorded image and sensor data on select drones available now and coming soon to the market.

But our software does more than just read and write data to the SD card – it gets more performance out of the hardware inside drones. Here are five ways how:

1. Ultra-reliable SD card support

Drones can crash for a variety of reasons such as pilot error, hardware failure, or freak accidents. With alternative file system software, you can’t be sure the recorded data is saved to the SD card and readable after the crash. But Tuxera’s software is fail-safe, meaning you can count on retrieving your data, even if the drone is severely damaged.

2. Longer SD card lifetime

Writing data on the SD card wears it out. Because our software writes data so efficiently to the SD card, it causes less wear – which means a longer lifetime.

3. More battery power for flight

Our software writes and stores data more efficiently than other file system software – meaning less CPU usage, less battery drain, and more juice for flight!

4. Fast data transfer speeds

Today’s drones are used for increasingly complex applications requiring more processing power than ever. Our software uses advanced proprietary algorithms and data structures to ensure maximum data transfer speeds (known as I/O throughput).

5. Better video performance

Drones need lightning-fast software to reliably write large, HD video files. When recording to an SD card, there’s a short delay between what’s happening in front of the camera and writing that video data to the card. This phenomenon is called “write latency.” During 2K or 4K recording, the video data is sent to the card at high speeds. But with latency factored in, frames can get dropped during the write process. Tuxera’s file systems are designed to counteract this phenomenon and prevent frame loss during intensive ultra-HD video recording.

The right software complements great hardware

When evaluating drone performance, it’s important to keep both the hardware and the software in mind, because the two are interlinked. You wouldn’t buy an expensive computer without checking what’s under the hood – why take that risk with a drone?

Featured image: By ZullyC3P (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

This post is an altered part of a longer article at Engadget, "Why drones are the next big thing in business."

Tuxera expands to Germany

Tuxera's software powers cars of the future

In an interview with TechCrunch, our founder and CTO, Szabolcs Szakacsits (known as “Szaka” to us Tuxerians), revealed that we’re now developing software that will be inside the black boxes of self-driving consumer cars by 2020. The file system software we provide handles data from 16 sensors simultaneously – data about tire pressure, camera images and video streams, radar data, driver profiles, and more. In the event of a crash, the black box protects all the data recorded so investigators can evaluate how the autonomous car crashed.

That’s why the software used inside the box needs to be extremely robust. Tuxera’s file system software backs up data in real-time from RAM to Flash, which ensures that data stored in the event data recorder (EDR) is always consistent. So even in case of power cuts or accidents, the data is reliably written to the memory.

Read more by following the Tweet below:




Tuxera embedded drone filesystems enable high-performance video recording

Dreams take flight as demand for camera drones soars

General Electric sure shakes up our Twitter feed whenever they run their popular #DroneWeek campaigns. If the enthusiasm for #DroneWeek says anything, it’s that tech-savvy consumers are excited to see more of what drones can do. Many would love to get their hands on one, if they don’t own a drone already. And manufacturers are stepping up to meet that demand. The market now has drones of all shapes and sizes, with longer battery life, and capabilities that keep getting better for businesses and consumers alike.

Drone demand soars for commercial and hobby uses

According to analysts at Business Insider and KCBP, drone demand is soaring, with the highest area of growth in the commercial and consumer markets. The consumer drone market alone saw an estimated 167% year-on-year growth from 2013 to 2015.

Meeting these demands are the top players like DJI, Parrot, 3D Robotics, and Yuneec.  Many new manufacturers are rushing to the scene, especially in China, with models that are great value for money. With reduced prices and wider availability, it’s no wonder that consumer interest in drones, and the desire to fly and own one, is on the rise!

Eyes in the sky

One thing’s clear – whether for business or for pleasure, a growing number of people want drones with built-in cameras. According to e-commerce experts at TeraPeak, consumers already had a solid interest in camera drones back in 2014: nearly 25 percent of drones sold on eBay came with built-in cameras. More recently in China, the International Data Center predicts the camera drone market will grow nearly 70 percent through 2019.

Better aerial video with Tuxera’s file system software

With the growing demand for aerial video, drones need lightning-fast software that can reliably write large, HD video files to the drone’s memory cards. When you spend hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars on a camera drone, you don’t want choppy, stuttering video. Choppy video is caused by a phenomenon called frame loss. When the drone’s memory card can’t capture all the information being delivered to it, information is lost. The lost information then results in a lost or “dropped” frame.

This is just one way our embedded file system software can truly make a difference for drone users. Tuxera exFAT and Tuxera FAT are already inside selected commercial and consumer drones, bringing high-performance support for SD memory cards that store the recorded video. Because our file system software writes data faster and more efficiently than other alternatives, it delivers outstanding performance for video recording – without frame loss. Tuxera FAT+ is also ready to bring large file support for high-quality videos recorded by today's drones.

Fueling the age-old dream of flight

As business and consumer demand for drones continues to grow, one thing’s for sure – more and more people want a bird’s-eye view of the world. Perhaps humankind’s millennia-old fascination with flight (think Icarus and Daedalus) is at least in part responsible for the growing desire to own a drone. For consumers especially, the applications for camera drones are truly up to the pilot’s imagination. And that’s why we’re truly geeked to have our filesystem software inside of drones, helping fuel your imaginations with the best-possible video performance.

What to expect from Tuxera at Computex 2016

Computex gets a brand reboot for 2016 – here’s what to expect

While events like CES draw a lot of media attention, Computex remains a mystery to most western consumers. But the event – hosted yearly in Taipei, Taiwan – is a big deal to the tech world! As Brad Chacos of PC World put it best, “What is dreamed at CES is delivered at Computex.” At the event we get a realistic picture of the tech goodies we’ll have in hand by the holiday season. That’s just one of many reasons we’re eager to be at Computex for our fourth year in a row!

Computex 2016 emphasizes partnerships and tech megatrends

Computex has an all-new brand position for 2016. Compared to previous years, which used the tagline “Shaping the future!”, the 2016 conference promises, “Building Partnerships in Internet Computing Ecosystems.” The event is built around four themes reflecting current megatrends in the ICT world: IoT Technology Application, Innovation and Startups, Business Solutions, and Gaming.

From our perspective, the new brand positioning is a perfect fit for Computex! Since we first attended in 2012, the event has been important for strengthening our partnerships, especially with original device manufactures (ODMs). According to Joel Catala, our Director of Embedded Solutions, “We have a lot of customers in Asia. Taiwan is the birthplace of the ODMs and some of the world’s most innovative brands. Our presence at Computex reinforces our relationship with the whole technology ecosystem. Computex is also our chance to see what trends are emerging in our biggest market. And it’s a great venue to promote our new technologies, which we’re enthusiastic about sharing with the tech world.”

This year, we’re showcasing three products that tie in with the IoT Applications theme: VelocityFS by Tuxera (formerly Tuxera Flash File System), Fusion File Share SMB (formerly Tuxera SMB), and our popular streaming solution AllConnect. These three different technologies make IoT devices store data more reliably, boost network transfer speeds, and simultaneously stream multiple media files to several devices.

Epic fail? No problem! We saved your data.

IoT devices generally use flash memory to store recorded data because it’s light, compact, and is more durable than mechanical drives. In the event of a sudden loss of power, such as the battery dying or damaging impact, you would normally lose the last critical seconds leading up to the failure. With VelocityFS by Tuxera, however, you won’t lose those last moments of data, and it won’t be corrupted. This fail-safe flash storage technology is one of the most important benefits we offer when it comes to IoT devices.

Boost network transfer speed to the max

All the data recorded from IoT devices needs to be stored somewhere and should be easily accessible to other devices. Server Messaging Block (SMB) is a network file-sharing protocol installed in 90% of the world’s computers – so it’s heavily used for sharing media and other content within modern homes. In this way, our SMB-server implementation, Fusion File Share, fits into the IoT realm. Fusion File Share ensures rapid file transfer when installed inside network storage devices, smart TVs, routers, and other connected devices.

Stream something different to every room

Our popular streaming solution, AllConnect, brings all your devices together – smart TVs, WiFi speakers, tablets – even your cloud services and media servers. With AllConnect, you can simultaneously stream as many videos, pictures, or songs you want to all the devices around your home, no matter the platform. The app itself has over 3 million downloads. AllConnect streaming solutions are also offered as SDKs, so any company can pick them up and use the software components as part of their own solutions.

What else to expect from the event

We’ve scoped out some rumors from around the web, and we’re definitely excited about what we see. ASUS, for example, is rumored to launch both the ZenFone 3 and a new ZenBook at Computex. Microsoft may also delight us with a look at its VR technology and the visual experience of its Windows 10 operating system. Plus, the gaming community is abuzz with talk of Gigabyte’s next-generation gaming motherboards and new graphics processing units (GPUs) from AMD. We’re looking forward to seeing if these rumors prove to be true!

Are you attending Computex 2016? We're there from May 31 to June 4, and we still have some slots left for our Tuxera Technology Showcase. Get in touch at computex@tuxera.com to reserve your seat!