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Optimizing Linux with cheap flash drives

Mar 08, 2011, 15:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Arnd Bergmann)

"Flash drives are getting larger and cheaper; as a result, they are showing up in an increasing number of devices. These drives are not the same as the rotating-media drives which preceded them, and they have different performance characteristics. If Linux is to make proper use of of this class of hardware, it must drive it in a way which is aware of its advantages and disadvantages.

"This article will review the properties of typical flash devices and list some optimizations that should allow Linux to get the most out of low-cost flash drives. The kernel working group of the Linaro project is currently researching this topic as an increasing number of embedded designs move away from raw NAND flash devices to embedded MMC or SD drives that hide the NAND interface and provide a simplified linear block device. This drives down system design complexity and cost but also means that regular block-oriented filesystems are used instead of the Linux MTD layer that can talk to raw flash."

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