Solid state drives are already one of the fastest storage solutions going around, but a new breakthrough in SSD middleware has the potential to make the drives even faster.
Due to the inherent way NAND works, it’s impossible to directly overwrite data stored in areas of memory, so when you write to the drive, it writes the data to a different area first before invalidating the old area. This causes drive fragmentation, which is currently solved through a process called “garbage collection” that rearranges data through a series of writes, slowing down the overall writing speed.
A team from Japan’s Chuo University have developed a new technology that partially solves this problem; a problem which has been present in SSD technology since the beginning. The solution is complex, relying on a “logical block address scrambler” to reduce the effects of fragmentation while simultaneously reducing the amount of copies needed during garbage collection.
The new technology has a number of benefits that were observed during the team’s testing. First and foremost, they managed to increase the write speed of an SSD by up to 300%, but they also saw a 60% reduction in power consumption, as well as a 55% decrease in write/erase cycles that should help prolong the lifespan of drives.
It’s also possible to apply the new type of middleware to existing solid state drives, as it doesn’t require any modifications to the NAND hardware. It seems unlikely that SSD manufacturers would push out such significant software updates to their old products, but we could see the tech integrated into new drives over the next few generations.