In our recent white paper "Improving Flash Media Performance with Discards", we examined the performance and lifetime benefits that discards (or the "Trim" command) provide for NAND flash media. For a file system to realize these benefits, a path must be available all the way to the media through the various layers of the operating system. Operating systems are now scrambling to catch up, and that's good news for Datalight customers.
The discard interface is crucial for NAND flash that is managed by software. It is also quite important for hardware-managed NAND media, including solid state drives (SSDs), SD, and eMMC. Hard drives and a variety of other storage devices, usually with an internal write cache, are also utilizing the discard interface to improve performance and increase the expected lifetime of the device.
Up until recently, Linux was the operating system with the most complete support for discards. Drivers for media devices had the support, as did some file systems. The only wrinkle was just how best to use the discard interface - a topic we examined while designing our smart discard interface for Reliance Nitro.
In years past, for operating systems where Datalight software was supported - but discards were not - Datalight was forced to create its own discard logic between file systems and our flash media management products. This was done primarily because of the important benefits of this feature, which we describe in the aforementioned paper. We are happy to see that environments beyond Linux are beginning to provide that complete discard connection.
- Green Hills Software has incorporated a discard or trim interface into their INTEGRITY Storage Driver API as of the 11.7 release earlier this year. We have built in support for this interface with our Reliance Edge file system version 2.3, released earlier this year. The media storage aspect of the API will be supported by our FlashFX Tera product, to be released for INTEGRITY next month.
- Wind River has also incorporated a discard interface into their VxWorks 7 release, as of late last year. Datalight product patches are available to support this release now, and a full release for this platform that also supports Wind Rivers adoption of the LLVM compiler will be available shortly. Please contact our sales or support team for more information.
Learn more about the Datalight smart discard interface in our recent whitepaper, and subscribe to our blog for more information about this crucial flash memory topic in future posts.