SanDisk Boosts SSD Speed

SanDisk Corporation has unveiled an advanced flash file system for solid-state drives (SSDs) that yields dramatic improvement in performance and reliability for computing applications.


SanDisk Corporation has unveiled an advanced flash file system for solid-state drives (SSDs) that yields dramatic improvement in performance and reliability for computing applications.

 SanDisk Boosts SSD Speed

Called ExtremeFFS, this patented flash management system – which has the potential to accelerate random write speeds by up to 100 times over existing systems – will ship in SanDisk products during 2009.

Speaking in Los Angeles at WinHEC 2008, Rich Heye, senior vice president and general manager for SanDisk's Solid-State Drive (SSD) Business Unit, presented ExtremeFFS along with two metrics – vRPM and LDE – that can help end-users evaluate SSDs. vRPM enables comparisons in performance between an SSD and an HDD or another SSD, and LDE calculates the lifespan of a solid-state drive.

For SSDs to perform optimally in Windows Vista, and thus replicate or surpass the functionality of hard disk drives, a new flash management technology is needed to accelerate SSD write speed and endurance, he said. "SSDs will revolutionize client storage, but we need new benchmarks that allow them to be treated differently than HDDs."

To maximize random write performance, SanDisk developed the ExtremeFFS flash file management system that operates on a page-based algorithm, which means there is no fixed coupling between physical and logical location. When a sector of data is written, the SSD puts it where it is most convenient and efficient. The result is an improvement in random write performance – by up to 100 times – as well as in overall endurance.

ExtremeFFS incorporates a fully non-blocking architecture in which all of the NAND channels can behave independently, with some reading while others are writing and garbage collecting. Another key element of ExtremeFFS is usage-based content localization, which allows the advanced flash management system to "learn" user patterns and over time localize data to maximize the product's performance and endurance. "This feature might not show up in benchmarks, but we believe it is the right thing to do for end-users," Heye said.

Apart from vRPM, SanDisk is proposing Long-Term Data Endurance (LDE), which simplifies endurance as a useful number, as the first industry metric of long-term data endurance. Heye likens it to measuring tread wear on a tire. LDE represents the total amount of data writes allowed in the lifespan of an SSD.

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