How can our company use Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry to "pair" with a flash drive that will be available for 15 years?

We are developing a device running Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro and would like to use the USB filter to restrict the ability of using USB flash drives to one specific make and model of drive (there are good reasons for this which I won't go into here).  The problem is that, as everyone knows, companies such as Kingston and Sandisk release new models of drives all the time.  Therefore, if we "paired" a certain make and model flash drive with our device and that drive stopped being manufactured, we couldn't get a drive to work in our existing devices out in the field.  

Is there some type of USB thumb drive that will always be manufactured?  Or, is there some other solution?
jd1114Asked:
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rindiCommented:
Buy the USB sticks now and in bulk so you have enough in your store for those almost 2 decades. You'll probably get a lower price that way.
DrAtomicCommented:
Not out to upset you but there is also the Microsoft lifecycle window to consider (Windows 8.1 Mainstream Support ends on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023). So basically you have a maximum of 8 years of security updates for the product and 7 years without.

Then there is also the lifecycle of the USB drive itself to consider, if it's being used for read only purposes you'll be fine but they do wear down when they are being written to; the lifecycle depends on the amount of writes done to it during it's life. But you most likely already knew that, just added it for completeness sake.

With regards to the device product ID, I'd contact one of the major USB drive vendors such as Kingston and ask them if they have a product they'll keep in the market using the same device product ID or if they'd be willing to share their future reservations with regards to device product ID's that they have planned on internally for the next 15 years (they'll most likely use some sort of numbering scheme).

That said, even if you do restrict it to the one model, one make, someone could always buy themselves one of those drives and still have it recognized. As a workaround and depending on volume you'd may want to contact one of the vendors to provide you with a device product ID that is restricted to your company only (unique device product ID). They'd most likely require you to purchase a significant batch but it will also give you a solution moving forward as they can simply stamp newer drives with the same device product ID or give you a couple of additional product ID's for future use.

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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
It is unlikely that any USB drive will be manufactured for more than five years, including so-called "industrial" drives.  The technology moves too fast.  Consider, by way of example, going out today and trying to buy a year 2000 technology flash drive.  A salesman would probably laugh if you said "I need a Kingston 128 MB flash drive, price no object, and I can't substitute a 128 GB drive, thank you."

Side note:  It is getting harder to find SLC products, and consumer-grade MLC products have lifetimes up to a factor of ten shorter than the traditional SLC flash.  You should look into products based on "eMLC" techniques - Enterprise (grade) Multi-Level Cell.  These are better quality and reportedly longer life than the consumer grade MLC offerings.
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