UFS Standard Enables Removable Flash Storage with 300MB/s and Higher Speeds

JEDEC Publishes Universal Flash Storage Standard

by Anton Shilov
02/24/2011 | 03:32 PM

JEDEC, an organization developing standards for the microelectronics industry, on Thursday published its next-generation storage system standard, Universal Flash Storage (UFS). UFS is designed to be an advanced specification for both embedded and removable flash memory-based storage in mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. The UFS has been specifically tailored for high performance and low power consumption. 

 

The initial data throughput for UFS will be 300MB/s, and the standard also supports command queuing features to raise random read/write speeds.  To achieve the highest performance and most power efficient data transport, UFS uses the leading industry interface standards to form its Interconnect Layer: MIPI Alliance’s M-PHY and UniProSM specifications. UniPro is a comprehensive specification meant to act as a universal chip-to-chip protocol, providing a common tunnel for other protocols. The M-PHY interface is designed as the primary physical interface (PHY layer) for the UniPro specification, and is a high speed serial interface targeting up to 2.9Gb/s per lane with up-scalability to 5.8Gb/s per lane. 

MIPI’s M-PHY and UniPro specifications are optimized for mobile applications, and are designed from the ground up for efficient power management in mobile devices, including enabling efficient transitions between the active and power save modes. 

The UFS standard also adopts the well-known SCSI Architecture Model and command protocols supporting multiple commands with command queuing features and enabling a multi-thread programming paradigm. This differs from conventional flash-based memory cards and embedded flash solutions which process one command at a time, limiting random read/write access performance. In addition, a forthcoming complementary UFS Host Controller Interface (HCI) specification will allow system designers greater flexibility by simplifying the involvement of the host processor in the operation of the flash storage subsystem.  The UFS HCI specification and the adoption of SCSI will provide a well-known software programming model and enable wider market adoption.

Gartner forecasts a 117% increase in mobile application downloads in 2011 vs 2010. This explosion of data-intensive applications for mobile devices is driving a need for enhanced storage solutions. UFS builds on the success of the popular eMMC standard and adopts and enhances mobile features from eMMC in order to manage security, performance and power consumption to a high performance parallel architecture, offering mobile device makers a long term roadmap of standardized mobile flash devices that will meet their system requirements.