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Flash memory solid state disk (SSD) is gaining popularity and replacing hard disk drive (HDD) in mobile computing systems such as ultra mobile PCs (UMPCs) and notebook PCs because of lower power consumption, faster random access, and higher shock resistance. One of the key challenges in designing a high-performance flash memory SSD is an efficient handling of small random writes to non-volatile data whose performance suffers from the inherent limitation of flash memory that prohibits in-placc update. In this paper, we propose a high performance Flash/FRAM hybrid SSD architecture called Chameleon. In Chameleon, metadata used by the flash translation layer (FTL), a software layer in the flash memory SSD, is maintained in a small FRAM since this metadata is a target of intensive small random writes, whereas the bulk data is kept in the flash memory. Performance evaluation based on an FPGA implementation of the Chameleon architecture shows that the use of FRAM in Chameleon improves the performance by 21.3 %. The results also show that even for bulk data that cannot be maintained in FRAM because of the size limitation, the use of fine-grained write buffering is critically important because of the inability of flash memory to perform in-placc update of data.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2008