JEDEC Updates Universal Flash Storage (UFS) and Related Standards

ARLINGTON, Va., USA – APRIL 4, 2016JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in the development of standards for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of several key updates to the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) family of standards. These include JESD220C UFS version 2.1, JESD223C UFSHCI version 2.1, JESD220-1A UFS UME version 1.1 and JESD223-1A UFSHCI UME version 1.1. Developed for mobile applications and computing systems requiring high performance with low power consumption, the new UFS updates offer key improvements over earlier versions which will provide data security through the use of inline cryptography between the SoC and UFS Storage device.  All four updated standards are available for free download from the JEDEC website

UFS is a high performance interface designed for use in computing and mobile systems such as smart phones and tablets where power consumption needs to be minimized. Its high speed serial interface and optimized protocol enable significant improvements in throughput and mobile system performance. UFS 2.1 defines the following updates over the prior version of the standard:

  • Inclusion of a Device Health Descriptor: the descriptor provides detailed information on the life of a device, thus allowing for better preventative maintenance, which is advantageous to most areas of the market and especially important in the automotive market
  • Addition of Secure Write Protection: this allows for the use of fine-grained write protection as required by modern high-level operating systems (OS) and applications
  • Field Firmware Update: enables the device vendor to improve performance and implement bug fixes, as well as facilitating the addition of new features in products that have already shipped to end customers
  • Command priority: improves system performance, allowing the software to assign higher priority to more urgent tasks

To achieve the highest performance and most power efficient data transport, JEDEC UFS leverages industry–leading specifications from the MIPI® Alliance to form its Interconnect Layer. This collaboration continues with UFS v2.1, which references the M-PHY® Version 3.0 specification and the UniProSM Version 1.6 specification.

The JESD223C UFS Host Controller Interface (UFSHCI) standard is intended to simplify the design process by defining a standard host controller interface with which system designers can create a common host controller software driver to work with UFS host controller hardware from different manufacturers. The HCI functionality enables higher performance and power efficiency by minimizing the involvement of the host processor in the operation of the Flash storage subsystem. JESD223C version 2.1 offers improved security with inline cryptographic operation, and optimized storage access with better host controller interface flow and error handling.  The inline encryption function uses available resources on the host for cryptographic operations, resulting in full data path protection and a reduction in system costs.

The JESD220-1A UFS Unified Memory Extension and JESD223-1A UFS Host Controller Interface (UFSHCI) Unified Memory Extension standards define the interface between the UFS driver and the UFS host controller. In addition to the register interface, these standards define data structures inside the system memory, which are used to exchange data, as well as to control and provide status information. Unified Memory offers the possibility to move device internal working memory into the system memory to reduce overall system cost and to improve device performance.

“With the publication of these important UFS updates, JEDEC members underscore their commitment to evolving the UFS ecosystem to meet the needs of the industry,” said Mian Quddus, Chairman of the JEDEC Board of Directors and the JC-64 Committee for Embedded Memory Storage and Removable Memory Cards. He added, “Together, these standards offer product designers a host of tools that will facilitate significant performance improvements in mobile devices and lead to a better overall mobile end user experience.”

Industry Support

Samsung“Demand for faster mobile storage is dramatically increasing everywhere and we see UFS as the best mobile storage solution to satisfy this insatiable market need,” said JungBae Lee, senior vice president, memory product planning, Samsung Electronics. “Because mobile phones with UFS will be delivering ultra-performance, improved security levels and a much enhanced user experience, Samsung believes that UFS 2.1 will soon become the most widely adopted storage standard within the mobile industry.

Synopsys: "As an active participant in the JEDEC working groups for more than a decade, Synopsys continues to drive the development and adoption of the UFS standard,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and prototyping at Synopsys. “By using Synopsys’ UFS 2.1 compliant controller IP, designers can integrate the required functionality into their SoCs with significantly less risk.”

Toshiba: “The number of mobile devices that leverage the compelling performance and power consumption benefits of UFS will rise sharply to meet ever increasing market demands,” said Hiroo Ohta, Technology Executive of Toshiba Corporation Semiconductor Company. “Toshiba is committed to accelerating market adoption of UFS 2.1 and continuing the development of UFS memory products that provide the best possible user experience to our customers.”

JEDEC is the global leader in the development of standards for the microelectronics industry. Thousands of volunteers representing nearly 300 member companies work together in 50 JEDEC committees to meet the needs of every segment of the industry, manufacturers and consumers alike. The publications and standards generated by JEDEC committees are accepted throughout the world.  All JEDEC standards are available for free download from the JEDEC website. For more information, visit

Emily Desjardins

MIPI® Alliance, M-PHY® and UniProSM are marks of MIPI Alliance, Inc.