SanDisk Develops Faster SSD Technology - InformationWeek

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SanDisk Develops Faster SSD Technology

ExtremeFFS, which introduces an architecture where all of the NAND flash memory channels are able to behave independently, is scheduled to ship in products next year.

SanDisk this week said it has developed a flash memory file system for solid-state drives that would greatly accelerate the write speeds of existing products.

The technology, which SanDisk calls ExtremeFFS, is scheduled to ship in products next year. Rich Heye, senior VP and general manager for SanDisk's SSD business unit, unveiled the new file system Wednesday at the WinHEC conference in Los Angeles.

In order for SSDs to replicate or surpass the performance of hard disk drives attached to Windows Vista, write speeds of the SSDs have to be faster, Heye said. Many flash drives today use TrueFFS, a file system that SanDisk introduced in 1994. While the technology worked well with previous versions of Windows. Vista changes the game by requiring a large quantity of random writes, as opposed to the sequential access demanded by other versions of the operating system, Heye said.

ExtremeFFS introduces an architecture where all of the NAND flash memory channels are able to behave independently, with some reading while others write. The new technology can also "learn" usage patterns to store frequently accessed data in areas where it's more easily accessible to maximize performance of the drive.

Heye predicted that SSDs next year would be four times faster than the current generation and nearly six times that of the latest 2.5-inch hard drives.

In addition to ExtremeFFS, Heye introduced two metrics for evaluating SSDs. Virtual RPM, or vRPM, is for comparing performance between an SSD and a HDD or another SSD, and LDE, or long-term data endurance, is for calculating the lifespan of a SSD. SanDisk is proposing industry adoption of the metrics as part of an effort to provide customers with better evaluation tools. More information on vRPM and LDE is available on SanDisk's Web site.

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