The Channel logo

News

By | Chris Mellor 13th December 2010 15:00

Fat NAND controllers to slim down

NAND controllers to lose die-dependent functions 

Micron says some flash controller jobs are going to migrate down stack towards the NAND chips, freeing up controller manufacturers from chip-dependent work they shouldn't be doing.

It sees low-level flash controllers developing and taking on error management, taking this job away from existing NAND controllers.

Micron takes the view that today's NAND controllers carry out both die-specific and application-specific functions. They should only carry out application-specific functions and leave the die-specific stuff to the flash fab owners. Micron's Kevin Kilbuck, a strategic marketing director, says error correction and checking (ECC) and broader error management functions are die-specific whereas block management and wear-levelling are application dependent. How these are carried out on USB, tablet and enterprise storage array flash, for example, are very different, hence Micron's strategy.

Kilbuck says the benefit is that controller development can carry on without being hog-tied to specific NAND die technology implementations.

Micron is not interested in developing general NAND controllers and taking on SandForce, Pliant and other controller technology companies. Instead it sees a way to add value to its flash dies with its ClearNAND technology. Kilbuck anticipates similar products from Micron's flash fab competitors: "We know we're not alone."

Kilbuck says ClearNAND is an ASIC that sits between a NAND controller and the flash dies. It is not an IMTF (Intel Micron Flash Technologies) product, only a Micron product, and has a raw NAND-like interface from both directions: the NAND dies below and the NAND controller above.

Micron will add digital signal processing technology to its ClearNAND in future, seeing this as die-dependent. It thus poses a threat to Anobit, which is developing a line of controllers, using DSP to extend SSD endurance.

By 2014, Micron sees the flash market split between raw NAND, part-managed ClearNAND type product, and fully-managed NAND, which may well be seen in mobile phones. Micron has an eMMC controller, which provides fully-managed NAND for such devices. ®

comment icon Read 1 comment on this article alert Send corrections

Opinion

Privacy image

Frank Jennings

Two working parties, ministers galore... but data transfer law remains in limbo
EMC_Unity_bezel

Chris Evans

It does simplify the hardware setup, whatever it is
A microscopic view of the biometric shark skin. Pic: James Weaver

Chris Mellor

Do something and stop faffing about in the bush league

Kat Hall

International system in general needs greater transparency

Features

Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock
Shouting match
Single market vs. rest of the world
hacker
Mostly it's financial crime. Here's what all the cool kids' terms mean in English
Apple logo. Pic: Blake Patterson
Plenty of bumps in the 40-year road for Mac makers