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On-the-fly Data Compression for SSDs

Feb 23, 2011, 16:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeffrey B. Layton)

"The key to good SSD performance is the controller. One SSD controller that has received good reviews is the SandForce SF-1200. However, a recent test of a SF-1200 SSD reveals some interesting things about what this controller does and just how it does it. Depending upon your point of view and, radically, your data, performance can be amazing.

"I've been writing about SSD's for awhile now. It's a cool technology that has great potential. However, given the universal law of TANSTAAFL ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch") there are some trade-offs in the design of SSD's. One of the ways to better address some of the trade-offs is to put more compute power or more capability into the SSD controller. But even this idea is a trade-off (TANSTAAFL again).

"Putting more capability into the controller allows the designers to improve many aspects of SSD's. It can reduce write amplification which improves the life of the SSD. It can provide performance improvements by various techniques and help data retention by checking for data problems. But all of this "gain" in capability comes at the price of a more complex controller probably adding cost. Is this trade a good one or a bad one?

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