CompuLab Introduces a New NAND Flash Disk Driver

HAIFA, ISRAEL – DECEMBER 20, 2004 – CompuLab introduced the FD3 – the third generation of NAND Flash Disk Drivers. The new driver supports NAND Flash sizes up to 512 MBytes – four times larger than the previous version. It also provides a new write protection mechanism, maximizing reliability in mission-critical applications.

Why a NAND Flash Driver ?

NAND Flash components are widely used today in consumer applications such as digital cameras and cellular phones. High consumption and competition has driven NAND prices down, making them the most attractive compact storage media. On the other hand, embedded system developers have found the initial investment incurred by NAND integration into their systems prohibitive. Working directly with a NAND flash requires the development of complicated drivers, an effort judged by many companies as not cost-efficient.

Drivers’ complexity drove developers to seek third party solutions. These solutions are known as “Disk-on-chip”, “Compact Flash”, “Disk-on-key” and many other combinations of a NAND flash with a controller providing an easy-to-use interface. But the involvement of a third party means a higher price, eventually rolled onto the customer.

Taking a long-term perspective, CompuLab made the initial investment in NAND Flash Driver technology since the beginning of the CORE module product line’s launch, back in 1999. Over the past years, the driver has been continually improved and its capabilities extended. Today, hundreds of companies around the globe benefit from the advantages of the inexpensive flash disk technology implemented on CORE modules by a combination of NAND components and CompuLab’s flash driver.

Driver’s Specifications

The NAND Flash Disk Driver emulates disk-like behavior using the NAND Flash memory component. The driver’s core code is operating system independent – the same code is used for all operating systems. Since each operating system requires the driver to be integrated through a different interface, CompuLab provides a Flash Disk Driver kit per operating system. Driver code is also included in BIOS and ARMmon, to provide Flash Disk service during operating system startup. The driver performs the following functions:

  • Translation of sector read/write requests from the operating system to block access operations on physical media (flash)
  • Buffering and consolidation of sector write operations
  • Mapping and swapping-out of bad blocks
  • Error correction using ECC
  • Anti-wearing
  • Crash / power fail protection

The latest FD3 version adds two benefits:

  • Support of new, larger NAND components, up to 512 MBytes
  • Region write protection. This feature allows flash disk partitioning on the operating system level and write protection of one partition on the driver level – for extended reliability essential in mission critical applications.

About CompuLab
Established in 1992, CompuLab Ltd. develops and manufactures tiny System-on-Module (SOM) single board computers. CompuLab’s customers include more than 300 companies in 50 countries. The company’s offices are located in Haifa, Israel.