JavaScript is disabled in your browser.
Please enable JavaScript settings in your browser to allow this website work correctly.
  • C++
  • Python
  • C#

Customer

Softeq's client is the global leader in flash memory storage solutions and a pioneer in Flash (NAND) technologies. It is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 multi-divisional international organization with headquarters in the US and multiple product development branches in EMEA and Asia. The company was not new to outsourcing when they first met Softeq back in 2005.

When the client first engaged Softeq, it was a test of the skill. The first set of tasks that our specialists tackled and successfully resolved were about debugging and documentation.

Problem

Softeq’s engineers impressed the client with their qualification — they performed not only testing, but a comprehensive failure analysis as well. It began as a small outsourcing project with a couple of firmware developers, and transformed into a full-fledged ODC with 115 seasoned embedded engineers a few years later.

Working in a tight-knit partnership with product managers on the client's side, the ODC participated in a variety of projects on devising state-of-the-art firmware technology for flash memory storage devices.

Confident of our abilities in coding and programming, the Softeq team quickly proved their deep expertise in design and development flash memory tools and firmware for flash memory for devices with the various protocols, including SCSI, eMMC, USB, SATA, and SD\MS.

Softeq was designing, building and developing the following components and software tools for the client:

  • Firmware for industry leading products
  • Firmware QA Lab
  • Software prototypes of hardware
  • Device drivers (SATA, SD, etc.)
  • Tools to visualize model and hardware state
  • Custom tools and frameworks for testing and diagnostics
  • Plugins and add-ins for IDEs

Solution

Softeq's team was the one who significantly contributed to the client's Adaptive Flash Management algorithms that enabled 32nm X3 technology go-to-market.

Softeq’s experts witnessed major transitions to each new technological generation, from 43 nm through 32 nm to 24 nm. Each leap forward was not only a big challenge in terms of physics, but also an even bigger one in terms of performance.

Softeq’s experts were involved in adaptive flash management (AFM) technology development. It embraced development of powerful algorithms that helped bridge the gaps between the market benchmark parameters and those of brand-new generation flash memory.

The 5 crucial parameters are:

  • Cost per bit
  • Data retention
  • Endurance
  • Random R/W
  • Sequential R/W
Test Lab

The ODC's team has invaluable experience of setting up turn-key Test Labs on its premises. The one launched for the client back in early 2011 counted 25 remotely accessible PCs each facilitating several tested devices — up to 4 SSD per computer. All tests are managed from a single workstation. In case of a failure, a firmware engineer can access the workstation remotely from any geo location to contact the Test Lab admin, view the logs, and perform/request debugging.

Convenient access to the test results and their ease of use were the key project success metrics set by the client for the ODC which the latter met brilliantly.

In addition, the reusable tools created by the ODC allow performing the following activities:

Firmware Testing and Validation

  • Unit Testing
  • System Testing
  • Failure Analysis
  • Static code analysis
  • Continuous Integration

Firmware Performance Optimization

  • Failure analysis for legacy code
  • Optimization and refactoring of the legacy code
TrustedFlashTM

The ODC assisted in the development of advanced encryption technology embedded into “tamper-proof” WORM-enabled SD cards built on the TrustedFlashTM platform with integrated digital rights management capabilities. Japan’s Police were among the early adopters of the technology.

Viewer Tool

Softeq’s experts helped develop the Viewer — an advanced tool for card model behavior visualization. It is used by multiple firmware engineers of the client's staff, as well as the ODC itself. The expertise of building this tool is utilized to develop analogous applications for other Flash-products.

ODC Team: Exclusive Skills and Expertise

Our team was comprised of world-class experts in firmware technologies such as NAND Flash Memory and advanced flash management algorithms. Their technical capabilities and soft skills were highly appreciated by the Client.

Firmware specific skills

Programming languages:
C, C++, Assembly languages, VHDL, Verilog

Domains:
Flash Memory
Embedded Storage Solutions
Networking / Communication protocols
Cryptography
Industrial equipment
Automation
Robotics

Architectures: ARM, ARC, IA-32, Intel® 64, DSP, FPGA

Operating Systems: MQX, Embedded Linux, Windows CE, QNX

Protocols: SCSI, eMMC, USB, SATA, SD/MS

General development skills

Programming Languages:
Java, ASP.NET, JavaScript, Perl, Lua, C/C++, C#, Python

Protocols:
TCP/IP, UDP, SOAP, JSON, SCSI, eMMC, USB, SATA, SD/MS

Databases:
Mongo DB, MS SQL Server, My SQL, SQL Light

Libraries:
Windows DDKs, MFC, ALT, WTL, STL, QT, Infragistics, Boost, DevExpress

Servers:
Apache, SharePoint Server, IIS

Challenge

Corporate Culture Chameleons

The client is a large international company with corporate HQ in California and locations mixed across multiple geographically distributed countries — all busy with R&D, product design, development and production — and branches on all continents. Integration with this complex structure is inherently a challenge.

When Softeq’s team joined in, one of the primary goals was to absorb the corporate culture, along with ensuring a smooth integration with their business processes. Intense communication using a handful of channels as well as two-way onsite visits, intercultural training for engineers and managers, and efficient human resource management facilitated fast onboarding of Softeq’s associates, even during times of high-pressure team ramp-up.

Scrupulous Knowledge Management

As the ODC expanded, knowledge transfer and expertise management became vital. To ensure the ODC became instantly efficient and the client was not overspending on idle time while key people were adopting the initial knowledge and assuming charge of the outsourced functions, Softeq suggested a custom knowledge transfer and onboarding approach.

At the end of the day, they managed to quickly delve into the work process and soon secured a respectful spot among the client's global development elite.

Beefed-Up Security

Security has been one of the most challenging aspects of managing the ODC. Not only did we need to maintain the highest information security, protecting the client’s intellectual property and business-critical information, but also the IT infrastructure and the office space adhered to their very high IT Security standards. To comply with them and pass the security checks, and regularly reconfirm them, we built a multi-level security system involving physical and network office security, regular security trainings for staff, as well as DRM embedded on all ODC workstations to prevent unsolicited data copy and distribution.

Softeq’s existing security controls reinforced with additional measures implemented within the ODC’s closed perimeter corresponded to the requirements of the ISO 27002 standard for Information security management systems, including physical and environment security, human resource security and access control.

TrustedFlash™ is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation.

How can we help you?