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Samsung sprinkles Anobit with gold

Israeli startup provides flash DSP technology

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The Flash Memory Summit has a focus on multi-level cell (MLC) flash and Samsung has just played an Anobit card, giving the tiny Israeli startup a tremendous boost.

Anobit's (ANOther BIT) signal processing technology makes getting data from 3-bit MLC flash more reliable and it has previously partnered with Hynix. Now the world's number one flash supplier, Samsung, has picked it to supply the signals processing needed in its SK6630 controller, co-designed and manufactured by Taiwan-based SkyMedi for use with Samsung’s 30 nanometer class 3-bit NAND, saying it will help boost performance and write endurance.

Like Intel and Micron yesterday, Samsung is positioning its 3-bit flash for Secure Digital card use.

Anobit's Memory Signal Processing (MSP) technology combines ECC (Error Checking and Correction) with proprietary signal processing algorithms that compensate for NAND needing ever-more complex ECC as process technology shrinks. The Anobit pitch is that ECC on its own is not enough, as process geometry moves from sub-40nm to sub-30nm sizes.

STEC has added CellCare and S.A.F.E. technologies to make its MLC suitable for enterprise use, and is also using signal processing techniques for its MLC product. It begins to look as if the technology is essential to make 3-bit MLC reliable enough for long-term use.

STEC is not an OEM supplier of its controller technology, denying other flash storage suppliers access to its technology. Anobit looks to be that luckiest of startups; one in the right place at the right time with the right technology and right channel.

Samsung has a partnership with Seagate to develop and cross-license flash controller technologies, so there may conceivably be a role for Anobit in this relationship. It could also get a look-in with server flash storage supplier Fusion-io where Samsung has made an investment.

All in all it looks like Anobit has struck gold. Dror Salee, Anobit’s marketing veep, said: "We are happy to be working with Samsung." Well, yes; tiny Israeli startup with flash controller technology bags world's number one flash supplier as a partner. What's not to like about that? ®

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