SanDisk announces speedy SSD file system

This morning, we posted a story about the tweaks Microsoft plans to build into Windows 7 to improve solid-state drive performance. We now see that flash memory vendor SanDisk has announced a new file system geared specifically toward SSDs.

SanDisk claims the new ExtremeFFS "flash management system" can deliver up to a 100-fold increase in random write performance by writing sectors where it's "most convenient and efficient." Here's the company's detailed explanation from the press release:

This 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," [Rich Heye, senior VP and general manager for SanDisk's SSD Business Unit] said.

SanDisk revealed ExtremeFFS at the ongoing Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, and it plans to ship the technology in products some time next year (although the firm doesn't say exactly how users will be able to use it). The press release hints that ExtremeFFS will work in Windows Vista, so SanDisk may not tie it to Microsoft's next operating system release.

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