Designers of military and aerospace electronics have very specific data-storage needs – and those needs may surprise you.

You’d think data collected by, say, a military jet or satellite during operation, could fill a medium-sized storage server. It’s true that such air- and space-born craft generate significant volumes of data, but what concerns designers most isn’t so much the volume of data that need to be stored but rather how to protect them – both from the elements and from falling into the wrong hands.

Let’s start with data-storage durability. Data-storage devices in military/aerospace applications are expected to withstand shock, vibration and extreme temperatures, as well as contaminants and all other manner harsh environments. But simple durability techniques such as a thicker drive casings or extra solder just aren’t enough.

In working with our longtime partners in the military/aerospace-electronics market, we learned that often they require an added layer of drive protection: extra ruggedness. To meet that demand for heightened drive – and data – protection, Virtium developed the XR (for extra rugged) line of SSDs and memory modules. The new StorFly-XR SSDs and DDR3 XR-DIMMS were developed to protect the drives and memory modules in harsh conditions such as extreme temperatures, frequent shock and vibration, exposure to contaminating materials and/or the rigors of the battlefield. This higher level of protection is especially important in manned and unmanned aircraft, command and control centers, reconnaissance systems, and satellites.

The XR product line’s extra levels of device and data protection are derived from the custom ruggedization of key components such as connectors and screw-down mountings, BGA under-fill and conformal coating that protects against contaminants. With that trio of protection features, the StorFly-XR SSDs and XR-DIMM modules can achieve durability beyond that of MIL-810-compliant solutions.

While devices like the XR SSDs and DIMMs are highly secure against environmental threats, the data they contain must also remain protected, should they somehow come into the possession of bad actors. That’s where AES-256 encryption comes in. With a 256-bit key size, this encryption specification generates a number of possible combinations – 1.1 x 1077 — that’s nearly impossible to crack. (The StorFly-XR SSDs can also use an optional hardware or software write-protection mechanism directly in the drives themselves.)  Learn more about the XR line of products here.

Designers of military and aerospace systems electronics need to be conscious of data-storage capacities; an unnecessarily high amount isn’t just an added expense but it can exact a penalty in terms of the system “real estate” required and the heat they generate. For operating system boot and/or small-footprint applications used for system monitoring and logging, capacities could be as low as 16GB but rarely need to exceed 1TB. Likewise with DIMM modules, 2GB to 16GB are fine for those applications. (Both the StorFly-XR SSDs and XR-DIMMs fall within those capacity ranges.)

Of course, it’s not just military/aerospace systems that can benefit from highly ruggedized SSDs and DIMM modules; “civilian” applications such as transportation, industrial automation, energy, and those in other potentially harsh settings also can help protect their investment – and crucial data – through ruggedized data-storage devices.

Whichever the application, a common concern among designers continues to be product availability. To them, device durability, data security and application-ideal capacities mean little if they’re not ensured continuity of their projects’ lives, which can be years, if not decades. But they can rest easy knowing that StorFly-XR SSDs and XR-DIMMs each have a ten-year lifecycle, along with a locked bill-of-materials cost.