The right file systems can help safeguard IoT data and save the developer precious project time.

Today’s embedded hardware is highly advanced. As many with experience developing IoT solutions know, progress has been rapid, with flash memory and RAM allocations offered by the latest 32-bit microcontrollers at a level unheard of in the embedded space just a short time ago – and with CPUs often clocked at speeds once reserved for desktop PCs.

As a result, it may be easy to assume that an efficient use of CPU resources (including memory and clock cycles) is at most a minor concern.

But while embedded hardware has been getting increasingly advanced, the device software needs to be able to meet the growing demands of the hardware and use cases too. It is therefore important – perhaps now more than ever – for developers to ensure that their software runs with the highest efficiency, and that their own project time is spent in an efficient manner.

One of the ways to achieve that is with the help of file systems.

Defining and understanding efficiency in IoT

Let’s take a step back. In order to understand how a file system can help boost IoT efficiency, it is first critical to examine what IoT efficiency really means.

There is more than one way to look at efficiency in IoT. For years, efficiency has been a major area of interest for developers searching for kernel, file system, and other software modules. Often, the rationale used to justify the adoption of such modules is that with the right software solutions developers could save time and resources by focusing on writing application code, instead of wading through massive amounts of infrastructure code. Overall, this perspective sees efficiency as a function of resource usage in a more optimal way. The end result? Ideally, a more efficient project.

However, it would be a mistake to look at IoT efficiency as purely a question of resource usage. That is just one aspect of file system efficiency. Other, less obvious aspects play a role, such as:

  • How intuitive an embedded software module is to use and integrate into a project.
  • How well-documented the interface of such a module is. With poor documentation, a developer can lose significant time resolving an issue that could simply be the case of misused functions.
  • Another key part is reliability. Even code that is documented with clarity, precision, and in a comprehensive way can cause costly development time loss if that code functions unreliably. Safeguarding data integrity of the IoT device is vital to ensuring resource efficiency, by avoiding costly data failure and device malfunction. When evaluating software solutions, developers should therefore seek evidence and documented proof of reliability, such as certifications or test results.

How the file system fits into the efficiency puzzle: reliability & customizability

We mentioned file systems earlier, but what role do they play in the IoT developer’s toolbox?

File systems can be a powerful enabler of increased efficiency. One of the ways they can do that is by helping to enable both reliability and customizability on the device – thanks to smart design features that provide a power fail-safe environment for the data, along with extensive configuration options for the developer.

While some real-time operating systems (RTOS) provide a FAT-like file system (which includes code to perform I/O with a standard media format, including folders and files), generally this isn’t very customizable, and it rarely protects from data loss during a power failure.


A file system like Tuxera’s Reliance Edge™ is a better choice for reliability, providing a power fail-safe environment through the use of transaction points – saving development time as well as resources. The file system’s transactional architecture ensures complete metadata and file data integrity. Dynamic Transaction Point™ technology gives developers complete compile-time and run-time control. That reliability is proven with accompanying source code for a variety of different tests, allowing application developers to confirm the file system is running reliably in a particular development environment.


In addition to reliability, Reliance Edge provides customization of storage options, further saving the developer precious project time. In the minimum use case, referred to as “File System Essentials”, no folders or even file names are used. Data is stored into numbered inodes. The count of these locations is determined at compile time, but the sizes are not predetermined. One “file” can contain more data than the others, and the media is only full when the total size of the “files” reaches the threshold. Files can also be truncated, read and written to freely. What all of those features achieve is ultimate control for the developer, and a file system that can fit a given use case precisely as needed – establishing greater resource efficiency.

Whitepaper: Maximizing efficiency in IoT projects

For software to effectively meet the needs of today’s advanced IoT hardware, developers would be wise to ensure the highest efficiency in both their software and their own work time. That includes developing a more holistic and comprehensive view of what IoT efficiency is, in addition to making use of tools like a real-time kernel or a transactional file system.

This joint whitepaper by Tuxera and Weston Embedded (formerly Micrium) examines those concepts, and focuses on IoT efficiency within off-the-shelf software components. You’ll learn about:

  • The importance of efficiency in modern IoT projects.
  • Why efficiency is not purely a matter of resource usage.
  • The effect of a real-time kernel on IoT resource efficiency.
  • How a transactional file system improves resource efficiency.
  • Resource efficiency examined through a real-world example of an IoT medical device.

Download the whitepaper here.

Final thoughts

In the realm of IoT, inefficient resource usage can be costly for developers and vendors. It can potentially lead to constrained product design, wasted development hours, as well as a slower time-to-market – not to mention additional production costs.

A key step in achieving improved efficiency is understanding each layer of the efficiency puzzle, including the importance of intuitive software modules, well-documented code, and software reliability.

A further important part of efficiency is the reliability of the device, as lost or corrupted data can be disastrous from an efficiency standpoint, setting a project back significantly in terms of both time-to-market and resources spent. File systems specifically designed for safeguarding IoT data can supercharge efficiency – allowing developers to focus fully on their next product innovation.

Find out more about our reliable and high-performing IoT solutions