The assignee for this patent, patent number 8635403, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention is generally related to the area of data storage devices. Particularly, the present invention is related to techniques for building up a flash-based solid state disk (SSD) with individual flash memory cards.
"A traditional hard disk device, sometimes also referred to as
"Flash memory is non-volatile, which means that it does not need power to maintain the information stored in the flash memory chip. In addition, flash memory offers fast read access times and better kinetic shock resistance than the hard disks. However, the high price of the flash memory in the past has prevented it from making significant inroads into large storage devices.
"With the prices of flash memory continuing to decline dramatically over the recent years while the capacities continue to increase, flash-based data storage device, also referred to as Solid-state drive (or SSD) has gained tremendous attention recently, due to the fact that they will provide relatively high storage capacities, as well as a very high degree of reliability and shock-resistance, especially for mobile or portable applications.
"The capacity of the flash memory increases almost every month with the new technologies in place. A flash SSD designed upon the current available flash memories would soon become obsolete when flash memories with much higher capacity become available. For example, the current popular flash memories come in capacity of 1 GByte and 2 Gbyte. A typical SSD would employ 4 or 8 of these memories, resulting in 4 Gbytes to 16 Gbyte in storage capacity. When the flash memories are increased to the capacity of 16 GByte or 32 Gbyte, an SSD could be easily built with a capacity of 16 Gbytes to 256 Gbytes, without much difficulty.
"In the past, computer users have kept changing their hard disks for the sake of storage capacity. With more and more media files captured, the users soon notice that their current hard disks are nearly full and start to look for hard disks with larger capacity. Because of the superior features in flash SSD, computer users may already start to adopt the flash SSD despite relatively small capacity of current flash SSD. When the flash memories with large capacity come to reality, flash SSD of large capacity will become available. Solutions of not changing a disk but still increasing the storage capacity will be certainly welcome Likewise, techniques of minimizing the costs of building up flash SSD are very much needed."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "This section is for the purpose of summarizing some aspects of the present invention and to briefly introduce some preferred embodiments. Simplifications or omissions in this section as well as in the abstract or the title of this description may be made to avoid obscuring the purpose of this section, the abstract and the title. Such simplifications or omissions are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention.
"In general, the present invention pertains to a flash memory-based storage device. According to one aspect of the present invention, a flash SSD comprises a data bridge and a plurality of flash memory cards. The data bridge includes necessary interfaces, a data buffer and a data management module to facilitate data exchange between a host and these flash memory cards. Each of the flash memory cards, such as an SD flash memory card, functions perfectly by itself. To facilitate the need of upgrading in terms of storage capacity, the SSD provides a plurality of slots to receive these flash memory cards as the storage capacity of the flash memory cards is increased over the time, so does the SSD by replacing only the flash memory cards.
"According to another aspect of the present invention, a manufacturer of the flash SSD takes advantage of the flash memory cards that have already been tested and verified by a supplier. Because flash memory cards suitable for such a flash SSD must function perfectly by themselves, a manufacturer of such flash memory cards has to undertake all the necessary procedures to test and verify the flash memory cards before releasing them to the market as these flash memory cards may be used in devices other than the flash SSDs, such as digital cameras or computers. In the end, the manufacturer of the flash SSD does not have to incur the costs that would otherwise have to be spent in testing or verifying the prior art SSD.
"The present invention provides a mechanism that allows a user to increase the storage capacity of a flash SSD without replacing the flash SSD. In one aspect, the mechanism includes a utility to allow the user to move data around, for example, from one memory card to another memory card, before replacing a memory card.
"The flash memory cores in each of the memory cards may include two types of flash memory, one being used to retain data that is frequently used or updated and the other being used to retain data that is less frequently used or updated. As a result, the characteristics of the two different flash structures are being best utilized.
"The present invention may be implemented in many forms, including a device, a system, a method, an integrated circuit, or a part of a system. According to one embodiment, the present invention is a solid state storage device that comprises a main board including at least a host interface, a buffer, a data management module and a plurality of card interfaces; a number of flash memory cards removably coupled to the main board via the card interfaces, wherein each of the flash memory cards independently works with a device that provides a slot to receive the each of the flash memory cards for data exchange, wherein a storage capacity of the flash-based storage device is upgraded without being changed when one of the flash memory cards is replaced. One of the important objects, features and advantages in the present invention is that the flash memory cards are those commonly used for other devices. In other words, a user may reconfigure a flash SSD suitable to his/her own uses.
"According to another embodiment, the present invention is a solid state storage device that comprises a data bus; an integrated circuit designed to provide functions of a host interface, a buffer, a data management module and a plurality of card interfaces; a number of flash memory cards coupled to the integrated circuit via the card interfaces, wherein each of the flash memory cards independently works with a device that provides a slot to receive the each of the flash memory cards for data exchange; and wherein the data management module is configured to distribute data to be stored among some or all of the flash memory cards and reassemble stored data from some or all of the flash memory cards, and wherein each of the flash memory cards is removable from the flash-based storage device.
"According to still another embodiment, the present invention is a flash-based storage device that comprises: a housing with a plurality of openings; a main board, housed in the housing, including at least a host interface, a buffer, a data management module and a plurality of card interfaces; a number of flash memory cards, each of the openings provided to receive one of the flash memory cards that are coupled to the main board via the card interfaces, wherein each of the flash memory cards works independently with a device that provides a slot to receive the each of the flash memory cards for data exchange; and wherein a storage capacity of the flash-based storage device is upgradeable by replacing any one of the flash memory cards.
"Objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon examining the following detailed description of an embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the attached drawings."
For more information, see this patent: Sun, Yingju; Zheng, Joe. Flash Memory Card-Based Storage Devices with Changeable Capacity. U.S. Patent Number 8635403, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology,
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