What is embedded storage? Is it as simple as the title suggests? Well, yes it is.

Storage technology comes in all shapes and sizes; USB, SD, 2.5″, mSATA, M.2 etc. but what do we mean by embedded? Simply put, an embedded system is a computer system with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system, so storage certainly comes under this bracket.

It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts, so in other words it is “locked down” to the computer or system motherboard. However locked down doesn’t mean  permanently in place,  as storage can be removed and upgraded to enhance performance e.g. switching from HDD to SSD storage on a laptop. Tablets and small computing items pose a trickier problem as these are likely to be fully locked down or in layman’s terms ‘soldered to the board’.

Embedded storage comes in all different shapes sizes and capabilities, or as they are technically known, form factors. Embedded storage is widely used across consumer and industrial markets with consumer storage being much cheaper than industrial and performance is typically lower. To find out the differences between industrial and consumer click here. The types of NAND flash used in consumer and industrial are also very different in their quality, performance and materials so read our guide to NAND Flash which gives a good overview of the differences.

For the embedded system designer today, there are a number of options on the market for various storage form factors some of the most popular ones are listed below.

2.5″ SSD

1.8″ SSD

M.2

mSATA

slimSATA

miniSATA

Innodisk Industrial Grade 3ME mSATA mini MLC

SD card

microSD card

Disk on Modules

Mini PCIeDOM

Mini PCIeDOM 1SE

Embedded Peripherals

eMMC / BGA SSD

Nano SSD 3SE

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