The client is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions. They were looking for a partner to develop firmware for their products.
The client wanted to upgrade their flash memory devices and needed a firmware developer. They teamed up with Softeq to develop advanced encryption technology, AFM (Adaptive Flash Management) algorithms, firmware testing, and a visualization tool. Softeq was employed to develop the following components and software:
Firmware for industry-leading products
Firmware QA lab
Software models 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
The collaboration began as a small outsourcing project with a couple of firmware developers. A few years later, the project transformed into a full-fledged ODC with 115 seasoned embedded engineers.
The Softeq team contributed to the client's AFM (Adaptive Flash Management) algorithms that enabled 32nm X3 technology go-to-market and witnessed major transitions to each new technological generation, from 43 nm through 32 nm to 24 nm.
Our experts were involved in 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:
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.
In addition, reusable tools created by the ODC allow performing the following activities:
Firmware Testing and Validation
Firmware Performance Optimization
The ODC assisted in the development of an 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.
The Softeq 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.
Programming languages: C, C++, Assembly languages, VHDL, Verilog
Architectures: ARM, ARC, IA-32, Intel® 64, DSP, FPGA
Operating Systems: MQX, Embedded Linux, Windows CE, QNX
Protocols: SCSI, eMMC, USB, SATA, SD/MS
Protocols: TCP/IP, UDP, SOAP, JSON, SCSI, eMMC, USB, SATA, SD/MS
Databases: Mongo DB, MS SQL Server, My SQL, SQL Light
Libraries: LiWindows DDKs, MFC, ALT, WTL, STL, QT, Infragistics, Boost, DevExpress
Servers: Apache, SharePoint Server, IIS
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.
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.
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. Our team managed to quickly delve into the work process and soon secured a respectful spot among the client's global development elite.
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 training for staff, as well as DRM embedded on all ODC workstations to prevent unsolicited data copy and distribution.
The Softeq existing security controls reinforced with additional measures implemented within the ODC’s closed perimeter corresponded to the requirements of the ISO 27001 standard for Information security management systems, including physical and environmental security, human resource security and access control.