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TCG-E And Micron XPERT Feature Set

Micron M510DC Enterprise SSD Review


Micron is introducing a TCG-E compliant SKU to the M510DC and M500DC product lines. TCG-E generates an encryption key to protect data at rest, which effectively locks the drive to the host until the key is released. The encryption key never leaves the drive, and an authentication key is required to read any data if the SSD is removed from the host.

This functionality protects proprietary data and is important for compliance to HIPPA, insurance and finance regulations. TCG-E speeds drive decommissioning by cryptographically erasing the drive in under one second, and RAID controllers can also send the cryptographic erase command to multiple SSDs simultaneously. TCG-E is also helpful when repurposing drives, but is only available in certain regions due to export restrictions.


Micron's eXtended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology (XPERT) is a modular suite of techniques that offer enhanced defect and error detection and correction. Micro's approach infuses every step in the data path with hardware- and software-based error correction, wear leveling algorithms and adaptive digital signal processing. 

The XPERT suite is designed for enterprise applications and the CORE suite is designed for OEM and Client applications. The modular design allows Micron to select individual features for specialized applications, and the company can optimize the components themselves for specific use-cases (such as configurable RAIN parity ratios). It is important to note that the XPERT-class PLUS (Power Loss Unique Solutions) feature offers full power-loss protection for data in flight, while the client-oriented scheme only protects data at rest.


Micron's RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent NAND) technology weaves parity into all of the data stored on the drive. This provides RAID 5-like protection against data errors or component failures. RAIN comes with an associated capacity overhead due to the extra space required for parity, but it operates transparently in the background to protect data. Micron utilizes varying parity ratios to customize SSDs for different applications. For instance, the P400m utilizes a 11:1 mixture, the small-capacity M510DC's utilize 9:1 and the 960GB M510DC uses a 31:1 ratio. Depending upon the ratio employed, RAIN can recover data from page, block or die failures.


DataSAFE embeds LBA metadata into the data to ensure the SSD returns the exact information requested. Data must traverse multiple series of SRAM, caches and buffers as it moves through the input and output lanes of the SSD, which increases the potential for data failures. ECC and CRC parity algorithms validate the data after each link in the input/output chain to insure integrity. This technique provides end-to-end data protection.


ARM/OR (Adaptive Read Management/Optimized Read) is an adaptive DSP technology that dynamically optimizes for NAND's changing characteristics as it ages. NAND read locations shift over time, which affects accuracy and endurance of the NAND. ARM/OR detects these shifts as they occur and adjusts the read points on the fly, which increases endurance and reduces error correction overhead and read retries.

ReCal (Reduced Command Access Latency) manages operations at a granular level to reduce command latency. This technique adaptively adjusts wear leveling and other internal SSD operations scheduling to reduce the impact on I/O operations. ReCal also breaks the L2P (Logical to Physical) layer into smaller chunks to ease management tasks.