Up until today, SSD drive endurance was a function of the component level endurance of the flash technology used in the drive. High endurance was achieved by using SLC NAND flash, but SSDs based on this flash technology were cost prohibitive for most applications. Lower cost was achieved through the usage using MLC NAND flash, but SSDs based on this technology could not be used for mainstream write-intensive workloads. SMART's innovative FlashGuard technology eliminates the tradeoff between cost and endurance, by extracting higher endurance from MLC flash, well beyond the standard component specifications.
FlashGuard allows SMART to offer enterprise-class MLC-based SSDs with a 5-year warranty at usage rates of up to 50 full drive writes per day. FlashGuard incorporates two important technology breakthroughs in the area of flash and SSD system management: Aggregated Flash Management and Advanced Signal Processing.
As manufactured, flash elements exhibit different 'strength' or endurance capabilities based on their physical and chemical makeup, manufacturing process variations, and other variables. The performance capability of stronger flash cells can be many times that of weaker cells. FlashGuard treats each cell individually, thereby maximizing the effects of stronger flash elements while minimizing the effects of weaker elements. The capability of FlashGuard to distinguish between and take advantage of flash elements at the cellular level extends the endurance of solid state drives to the "SSD Level Endurance".