JEDEC publishes Universal Flash Storage (UFS) standard

February 24, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has published its next-generation storage system standard, Universal Flash Storage (UFS), which is designed to be the most advanced specification for both embedded and removable flash memory-based storage in mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers.

The UFS standard represents an evolutionary progression of JEDEC standards in this field, and has been specifically tailored for mobile applications and computing systems requiring high performance and low power consumption.  The initial data throughput for UFS will be 300 megabytes per second (MB/s), and the standard also supports command queuing features to raise random read/write speeds.  

Gartner forecasts a 117% increase in mobile application downloads in 2011 vs 2010.  The explosion of data-intensive applications for mobile devices is driving a need for enhanced storage solutions.  UFS builds on the success of the popular JEDEC e•MMC standard and adopts and enhances mobile features from e•MMC 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.

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 UniPro  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 2.9 gigabits per second (Gbps) per lane with up-scalability to 5.8Gbps 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.  Combined with a low active power level and a near-zero idle power level, UFS offers the promise reductions in device power consumption.

The UFS standard 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


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