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Articles:

1.SanDisk rolls format for flash drives /EETimes

2. SanDisk Introduces ExtremeFFS - New Flash Management System for Improving SSD Performance and Reliability / SanDisk press release

 

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1. SanDisk rolls format for flash drives



New metric for solid-state drives also debuts
 
SAN JOSE, Calif. — SanDisk Corp. is announcing a new flash-file format for solid-state drives it will release in its 2009 products, claiming it bolsters performance 100-fold on some operations. The company is also releasing details about two metrics for comparing the performance of SSDs.

SanDisk (Milpitas, Calif.) has no plans to license the ExtremeFFS file system so far, despite the fact the earlier TrueFFS format from MSystems which SanDisk acquired in 2006 was widely licensed. It is however working to make its new measures for SSD performance and endurance broadly accepted.

ExtremeFFS aims to improve sequential write performance by providing a direct route to writing individual pages of data. Rather than requiring a system to update and move an entire block at a time, Extreme FFS can simply write a new page to a new block and invalidate the old page.

The file system handles garbage collection simultaneously with reads and writes in multiple non-blocking channels. It can also learn which data structures are most and least often accessed and optimize the placement of the data sets.

The sequential write issues were relatively small for digital cameras and other devices that have used NAND flash cards to date. But Windows PCs typically require many sequential random write operations that can raise significant performance issues for SSDs.

ExtremeFFS should not only improve performance on random read and write operations but lower power consumption and optimize flash endurance as well, said Don Barnetson, senior director of marketing for SanDisk's SSD group.

"Most of our competitors don't like to talk about what's going on inside their drive, but we are trying to be more open about it," said Barnetson.

The earlier generation TrueFFS format was used for PCMCIA flash cards in Microsoft Windows 95 and became widely licensed by flash-card makers. SanDisk had royalty revenues of $450 million's in 2007 based on licenses companies took for its range of patents including those on TrueFFS.

While SanDisk currently has not plan to license ExtremeFFS, it is encouraging the industry to adopt two new SSD metrics to communicate performance characteristics to end users.

Virtual RPM is a method for calculating the performance of an SSD in the equivalent of rotation figures used to measure hard drives today. The equation takes into account the very different read and write performance characteristics of flash as well as the typical mix of reads and writes in average PC applications.

"vRPM answers the question: How fast would you have to spin a virtual hard drive to achieve the level of performance seen by an SSD in a client PC?" said Rich Heye, general manager of SanDisk's SSD group in a press statement.

The company has posted details about the vRPM approach at its Web site.

"There are so many axis of performance that it's difficult to measure the relative performance of SSDs today," said Barnetson. "Our goals are to get the industry to adopt this metric and to be transparent about how it works," he added.

"There has been a deluge of SSD products with varying levels of quality that have created undeserved hype and confusion," said Joseph Unsworth, research director at market watcher Gartner Inc. (Stamford, Conn.) in a press statement. "Industry support behind a common metric that clearly articulates the value proposition of an SSD on a like-for-like basis to a HDD will be instrumental in driving end-user understanding and subsequent adoption" of SSDs, he added.

A second metric announced earlier this year offers a way to measure endurance of SSDs, an important aspect of the devices. Unlike hard disks media which does not degrade significantly over typical product life spans, the flash cells in SSDs can wear out before a product reaches its end of life.

SanDisk has written a white paper on its so-called Long-term Data Endurance metric. It submitted the paper recently to the Jedec 64.8 working group that is developing standards for SSDs.

 

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2. SanDisk Introduces ExtremeFFS - New Flash Management System for Improving SSD Performance and Reliability


Wednesday November 5, 8:00 am ET

SanDisk Also Proposes Two Metrics for End-Users to Measure Performance and Endurance: virtualRPM (vRPM) and Long-Term Data Endurance (LDE)
-- ExtremeFFS(TM) greatly accelerates SSD random write speeds and endurance
-- vRPM allows consumers to measure and compare SSD and hard disk drive performance
-- Industry encouraged to adopt a simple endurance metric to determine the lifespan of an SSD

 

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SanDisk® Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK - News) today unveiled an advanced flash file system for solid-state drives (SSDs) that yields dramatic improvement in performance and reliability for computing applications. Called ExtremeFFS, this next-generation patented flash management system – which has the potential to accelerate random write speeds by up to 100 times over existing systems – will ship in SanDisk products during 2009.

 

Speaking in Los Angeles at WinHEC 2008, Rich Heye, senior vice president and general manager for SanDisk’s Solid-State Drive (SSD) Business Unit, presented ExtremeFFS along with two metrics – vRPM and LDE – that can help end-users evaluate SSDs. vRPM enables comparisons in performance between an SSD and a hard disk drive (HDD) or another SSD, and LDE calculates the lifespan of a solid-state drive.

For SSDs to perform optimally in Windows Vista, and thus replicate or surpass the functionality of hard disk drives, a new flash management technology is needed to accelerate SSD write speed and endurance, he said. “SSDs will revolutionize client storage, but we need new benchmarks that allow them to be treated differently than HDDs.”

In 1994 SanDisk introduced TrueFFS, which has been the leading flash file system for major mobile handset vendors. TrueFFS was incorporated into one previous version of Windows, as the PCMCIA FTL of choice for its performance, scalability and low overhead. When using an SSD under Windows Vista, the demands on the SSD require a large quantity of random writes, as opposed to sequential access. “The mismatch to block size is significant,” said Heye.

Enter Extreme FFS

To maximize random write performance, SanDisk developed the ExtremeFFS flash file management system. 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,” Heye said.

New Performance and Endurance Metrics Proposed

Since hard drive performance is measured in RPMs (revolutions per minute), SSDs need a simple performance metric for comparisons, he said. virtual RPM (vRPM) accurately and easily allows consumers to compare SSDs to HDDs and to each other when used in PCs, said Heye. “vRPM answers the question: How fast would you have to spin a virtual HDD to achieve the level of performance seen by an SSD in a client PC?” Heye predicted that SSD net performance next year will be four times faster than the current generation of SSDs and nearly six times that of the latest 2.5-inch HDDs.

Commenting on vRPM, Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner, said, “There has been a deluge of SSD products with varying levels of quality that have created undeserved hype and confusion for consumers and corporations. Industry support behind a common metric that clearly articulates the value proposition of an SSD on a like for like basis to a HDD will be instrumental in driving end-user understanding and subsequent adoption as prices continue to fall.”

Apart from vRPM, SanDisk is proposing Long-Term Data Endurance (LDE), which simplifies endurance as a useful number, as the first industry metric of long-term data endurance. “This is a lot like measuring tread wear on a tire,” said Heye. Major PC OEMs and SSD competitors have reviewed and commented on SanDisk’s initial proposal, he added, and SanDisk has submitted a proposal and white paper to JEDEC, the leading developer of standards for the solid-state industry.

LDE represents the total amount of data writes allowed in the lifespan of an SSD. SanDisk will spec LDE on its future PC SSD products and “we strongly encourage others to follow SanDisk’s lead,” he added.

Regarding LDE’s impact on SSD adoption, Greg Wong of Forward Insights said, “LDE allows OEMs a simple way to compare SSDs and determine, based on the applications usage patterns, which drives are suitable for a particular application. The beauty of LDE is that it captures endurance in one single, understandable figure. A common metric is necessary to facilitate SSD adoption moving forward.”

(Note: The LDE proposal and white paper, along with a backgrounder on vRPM, is available on the SanDisk website at www.sandisk.com/SSD/Tech_and_metrics).

SanDisk Corporation, the inventor and world’s largest supplier of flash storage cards, is a global leader in flash memory – from research, manufacturing and product design to consumer branding and retail distribution. SanDisk’s product portfolio includes flash memory cards for mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders; digital audio/video players; USB flash drives for consumers and the enterprise; embedded memory for mobile devices; and solid state drives for computers. SanDisk (www.sandisk.com/corporate) is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States.

SanDisk’s product and executive images can be downloaded from http://www.sandisk.com/corporate/media.asp

SanDisk’s web site/home page address: http://www.sandisk.com

SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries.

ExtremeFFS and TrueFFS are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder (s).

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including expectations for new product introductions, technology measurement standards, applications, markets, and customers that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include among others: the proposed standards may not be adopted by the market, market demand for our products may grow more slowly than our expectations or there may be a slower adoption rate for these products in new markets that we are targeting, and the other risks detailed from time-to-time in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. We do not intend to update the information contained in this press release.

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