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LinuxConf Europe 2007
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Sunday 2nd - Wednesday 5th September
University Arms Hotel, Cambridge, England

LinuxConf Europe 2007

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Jörn Engel - logfs.org

Hard disks are dead. Now what?

Nearly every week some company anounces a Solid State Disk (SSD), a diskless notebook or some other piece of hardware in which flash has replaced hard disks as the storage medium. While hard disks certainly aren't dead yet, a lot of companies seem to bet their money on other technology. If those companies are right, hard disks will die.

But what happens when hard disks are dead? Manufacturers like to pretend that SSDs are just like disks, only better. That is understandable, as it furthers their goal to sell hardware to an established market. But in fact, flash behaves fundamentally different to hard disks.

Many attemps exist to make flash behave similar to hard disks, by means of a so-called Flash Translation Layer or FTL. All these attempts are, as one might guess, incomplete. Given enough paint, a horse may look like a zebra from a distance, but it is still a horse.

This presentation will explain the differences between hard disks and flash. It will further explain a well-documented FTL, smartmedia, in detail and roughly point out how alternative approaches could work and the various advantages and drawbacks.

Submitted paper

Paper (PDF) and Paper (tgz) .


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