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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 VelocityFS by Tuxera – 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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Tiffiny Rossi
Tiffiny brings over a decade of technology marketing experience to Tuxera as our Head of Marketing. Before joining Tuxera in 2016, she wrote about technology, consumer electronics, and industrial tech for Nokia, Microsoft, KONE Corporation, and many others. Around the office, we know Tiffiny for her love of geek culture, console gaming, and her adoration for Cloud City’s Baron Administrator, Lando Calrissian.