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Technical Insight: Solid State Storage Performance

In this Technical Insight report on Solid State Storage performance, we discuss the performance behavior considerations for NAND Flash Memory.

Performance Behavior Considerations for NAND Flash Memory

Enterprise class Solid State storage can offer better performance than rotating magnetic storage media, i.e. hard disk drives (HDDs).   But in order to achieve a better level of performance from solid state storage there needs to be an understanding of its unique behavior.

Solid state storage has a unique performance behavior different from what consumers are used to with magnetic rotating media.   Solid state storage, has no moving parts so delays from moving mechanical arms and rotating media are no longer factors to consider.  Some of the metrics for HDDs are rotational latency, seek times, data density, and others associated with the workings of mechanical rotational media.  With the elimination of these mechanical delays, access times are much faster and measured in the microseconds instead of milliseconds.  This results in much higher performance (IOPS) and read throughput (MB/sec).  Write throughput can still be a challenge depending on the storage system design.

Over time, the degradation of NAND Flash memory cells limits the life span of solid state devices (SSDs).  Each cell of a NAND flash module can handle a limited number of read/write cycles (around 10 million writes) before they become unusable.  Therefore, misaligned partitions can shorten the life of NAND flash by generating unnecessary read-modify-write operations.   There are several factors to consider to not only extend the life of flash but to also sustain or improve performance over the life of the storage.

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