The advantages of an industrial USB flash drive

The advantages of an industrial USB flash drive

The advantages of an industrial USB flash drive

There are many different form factors and protocols that can be used for a storage system. However, each has its advantages and disadvantages and differs in characteristics. For example, some interfaces are faster than others, some can be used to implement secure storage solutions and others are space saving and therefore more cost effective. As there are so many differences, it is difficult to keep an overview about the needs for the storage system and the available possibilities.

To gain a decent overview on the different form factors, this blog describes the characteristics of USB and its flexible nature. The USB standard was developed in 1996 and is maintained by the USB Implementers Forum. The newest USB standard, USB 3.1 generation 2 was released in 2017. The most recent USB generation claims Super Speed and can reach performances up to 900 MB/s. Designed initially for HDD, it was extended to support flash drives. Most computer systems can boot directly out of a USB flash drive or run applications directly from the USB drive. The hot-plugging and relative sturdiness of the plugs make it a favorite in a lot of portable applications.

USB Generations Overview

In addition, USB is very flexible regarding its form factor. In fact, it is, contrary to SD, CF or SATA, independent to a form factor because the USB standard only specifies the interface and connector. For example, the industrial electronics company TERZ developed a compact plug and play M12 USB stick for industrial applications, which looks completely different to the usual USB storage devices.

Moreover, USB can be used to implement a secure storage solution. The Hyperstone USB controllers offer a 128 and 256 on-the-fly AES encryption and support security interfaces such as the ISO7816. Additionally, customers have the possibility to develop a Custom Firmware Extension (CFE) with our Application Programming Interface (API), enabling security features that can be implemented according to the customer’s needs.

At last, USB is not only a standard for mass storage devices but can also describe connectors. For example, the connector form factors exist in different types (A, B, C), different sizes (Standard, Mini, Micro), and as plugs or receptacles. Type B is mostly found on printers or the USB hub on the upstream port. It is mostly irrelevant for flash memories. The connectors used for USB flash drives are mostly as follows:

Connectors for USB flash memory

To conclude, the independence to a certain form factor, the high performances and the possibility to have a secure storage solution make USB a good and flexible option for industrial applications.