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Memory & Storage

Charge Trap Flash Is Raising the Bar for Storage Solutions

When it comes to enterprise storage solutions, performance matters. That’s why businesses have been turning to the latest generation of solid state drives (SSDs) for their storage needs.

As the demand for capacity continues to increase, manufacturers have made the individual storage units, or gates, within the devices smaller. This allows them to fit more gates and, thus, more storage capacity. But as the pathways inside the cells have gotten smaller, reliability has suffered and power requirements have increased.

In order to trim down on size without sacrificing speed, capacity or reliability, manufacturers have turned to Charge Trap Flash (CTF) memory. Compared with Floating Gate technology, devices using CTF memory deliver better endurance from electrical disruption due to the insulating layer in the design. Combining CTF with a vertical NAND structure (commonly known as V-NAND technology) helps deliver a higher endurance solution as compared to those built on the traditional planar structure or those using Floating Gate technology.

The latest generation of storage devices using 48-layer V-NAND have enabled dramatic increases in the capacity of SSDs. This also allows for the individual storage cells to be manufactured with a slightly larger geometry, increasing the device’s reliability, reducing the amount of error-correction processes and reducing its overall power requirements.

When deployed in a data center, the benefits of CTF memory and V-NAND can mean big savings for your business.

Performance and Endurance

CTF with V-NAND offers another advantage: It allows read and write operations up to twice as fast as floating gate devices. Additionally, it lasts as much as 10 times longer, producing SSDs that are faster on reads and writes with greater endurance.

Power Reduction

To change a bit stored in a cell, a higher voltage has to be applied to the cell gate. A device using CTF requires about half the voltage of a device using floating gates, making the overall solution much more energy efficient.

Cost Reduction

By stacking cells vertically, manufacturers can increase the number of cells in a given space without spending more on higher-resolution lithography. In addition, the vertical alignment allows for wider pathways, which reduces the manufacturing process error rate. The smaller the lithography, the more errors creep into each physical device, requiring more processing to identify bad cells and work around them. CTF enables manufacturers to go back to a larger, more reliable process while still increasing capacity.

Quantum Effects

The famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that it is impossible to know precisely the position and momentum (or charge) of a particle such as an electron. While the smallest gates are not so small that they only use one electron (yet), the group of electrons used in a single cell can be in the range of 30–50 electrons. This is a small enough group that the uncertainty principle, along with the ability of single electrons to tunnel through insulators (known as quantum tunneling), introduces a degree of unpredictability to very small devices.

Backing off from the smallest possible devices ensures that there are enough electrons per cell that quantum effects no longer apply. This reduces the amount of error-correcting code necessary to deal with the uncertainty.

Charge Trap Flash allows for the production of higher-capacity, faster, lower-power and more reliable devices that cost less than floating-gate devices of the same capacity. To learn how SSDs can turbocharge your business, check out our blog series.

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Logan Harbaugh

Logan Harbaugh is an IT consultant and reviewer. He has worked in IT for over 20 years, and was a senior contributing editor with InfoWorld Labs as well as a senior technology editor at Information Week Labs. He has written reviews of enterprise IT products including storage, network switches, operating systems, and more for many publications and websites, including Storage Magazine,, StateTech, Information Week, PC Magazine and He is the author of two books on network troubleshooting.

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