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Data Storage Power Upgrades

New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs 68

Posted by timothy
from the well-it-sounds-good dept.
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "A breakthrough has been made in SSD technology that could mean drastic performance increases due to the overcoming of one of the major issues in the memory type. Currently, data cannot be directly overwritten onto the NAND chips used in the devices. Files must be written to a clean area of the drive whilst the old area is formatted. This eventually causes fragmented data and lowers the drive's life and performance over time. However, a Japanese team at Chuo University have finally overcome the issue that is as old as the technology itself. Officially unveiled at the 2014 IEEE International Memory Workshop in Taipei, the researchers have written a brand new middleware for the drives that controls how the data is written to and stored on the device. Their new version utilizes what they call a 'logical block address scrambler' which effectively prevents data being written to a new 'page' on the device unless it is absolutely required. Instead, it is placed in a block to be erased and consolidated in the next sweep. This means significantly less behind-the-scenes file copying that results in increased performance from idle."
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New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs

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  • Not wear leveling. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:08AM (#47082767)

    Wear leveling is typically a system by which you write new data to the least-written empty block available, usually with some sort of data-shuffling involved to keep "stagnant" data from preventing wear on otherwise long-occupied sections. It sounds like this is a matter of not erasing the block first: For example if the end of a file has used 60% of a block and is then deleted, the SSD can still use the remaining 40% of the block for something else without first deleting it. Typically, as I understand it, once a block is written that's it until its page is erased - any unused space in a block remains unused for that erase cycle. This technique would allow all the unused bits at the end of the blocks to be reused without an expensive erase cycle, and then when the page is finally ready to be erased all the reused bits on the various blocks can be consolidated to fill a few fresh blocks.

    It seems to me this could be a huge advantage for use cases where you have a lot of small writes so that you end up with lots of partially filled blocks. Essentially they've introduced variable-size blocks to the SSD so that one physical block can be reused multiple times before erasure, until all available space has been used. Since erasing is pretty much the slowest and most power-hungry operation on the SSD that translates directly to speed and power-efficiency gains.

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