Virtium in Forbes Magazine

Forbes magazine recently ran a terrific article on industrial-grade SSD longevity, which prominently featured Virtium and our new M.2 NVMe drives. To make this article happen, in late 2020 we contacted Tom Coughlin, a longtime storage industry analyst, president of Coughlin Associates and Forbes contributor. Tom interviewed Scott Phillips shortly thereafter, then again in March. We stayed in touch with Tom while he digested all the info we provided him – including the Series 6 drives’ launch, which he highlighted. The article turned out great – a positive reflection on our SSDs and Virtium’s value to our customers.

There are some applications, particularly for industrial, civic infrastructure and military application, where a product and its components have to last for decades.  Also, if a part in a system needs to be serviced, those parts need to be available for decades.  These products are increasingly using computing, networking and storage technologies, which are notorious for rapid changes in technology that obsolete older products, their interfaces and drivers, often within 10 years.

Large capital projects generally don’t use mass-market components and they often include a certain amount of customization.  The companies that provide components for these markets have to work by different rules and different timeframes from the mass market consumer electronics market.   Because of this specialization, the companies that provide components for these applications are often not the mass market leaders.

In digital storage and memory there are companies that provide storage and memory devices that are designed for use in extreme environments and that must have workable replacements that are available for decades.  Virtium is one of these companies.  Their StorFly and TuffDrive industrial SSDs are made for extreme conditions in industrial embedded applications.

In the past SSDs for industrial applications used SATA interfaces, originally developed for HDDs, or USB interfaces, but industrial IoT products must now deal with much more data, requiring faster processing, higher capacity and since they are connected to networks, greater security.  These systems are now incorporating the PCIe bus and thus can use NVMe SSDs that have much greater performance than SATA or USB SSDs.

One example of an industry that is undergoing rapid development and new demands for digital storage is transportation, in particular, rail transportation.  According to Virtium, “A Virtium customer – a global, multi-billion-dollar developer of rail systems, equipment and service – supports trains used in municipalities that must be operational for up to 40 years (rail equipment and system redesigns are multi-year propositions).“

Presently, the rail transportation company uses Virtium eUSB solid-state drives and, understanding the relatively rapid migration of new storage technologies, form factors, and interfaces, opted for Virtium SSDs.

Virtium says that “No small part of that particular customer’s choice is that Virtium is able to support SSD designs for up to ten years — longevity that aligns with the customer’s 40-year vision. Equally as important, as it relates directly to public safety, is the quality and reliability of critical components within rail control systems. This customer took into account Virtium’s design philosophy focused on reliability under the most severe environmental conditions such as, shock, vibration, power-fail, and extreme temperatures.”

Virtium StorFly M.2 2280 NVMe Industrial SSD

The 2280mm drives leverage NVMe’s high performance for industrial applications and feature Industrial Temperature (I-Temp) support for consistent operation between -40°C to 85°C. The drives are designed with additional thermal and power-management features that mitigate performance variations caused by harsh environments.

These SSDs are available with storage capacities from 240GB to 1.92TB, enabling designers to achieve optimal data storage for heavy-workload network communications, industrial automation, transportation and defense applications.

Storage and memory for large capital investments have significantly different requirements than for mass market consumer products.  Factory, transportation, civic infrastructure and military applications must operate in extreme temperature, shock and vibration environments and must be replaceable in the system they are intended for decades.  Specialized companies, such as Virtium serve these markets.

Link to Forbes Article

About Tom Coughlin

I am the President of Coughlin Associates and a storage analyst and consultant. I have over 37 years in the data storage industry with multiple engineering and management positions. I have many publications and six patents to my credit. I am also the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide, the second edition was published by Springer. Coughlin Associates provides market and technology analysis (including reports on several digital storage technologies and applications and a newsletter) as well as Data Storage Technical Consulting services. I publish a Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics Report, a Media and Entertainment Storage Report, and an Emerging Memory Report. I am active with SMPTE, SNIA, the IEEE and other professional organizations. I am the founder and organizer of the Annual Storage Visions Conference (, as well as the Creative Storage Conference ( I was general chair of the Flash Memory Summit for 10 years. I am also a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the Consultants Network of Silicon Valley (CNSV). For more information about me and my publications, go to