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NAND Flash and FreeBSD

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Published on May 17, 2014

NAND Flash and FreeBSD, An Overview

by Warner Losh

And overview of NAND technology, its relevance to FreeBSD, and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the NANDFS and other nand technology in FreeBSD. The first part of this talk will be generally about NAND flash, and is applicable to embedded, PCIe-based flash storage and SSD. The second part of the talk focuses on those technologies in FreeBSD to talk to raw NAND, what can be deployed today, and what additional work will be necessary in the future.

NAND Flash technology continues to be important to some market segments in which FreeBSD is deployed. This talk will be in two parts.

The first part of the talk will discuss NAND flash generally. The second part of the talk will focus on NAND in a FreeBSD context.

In the first part, an overview of AND flash will be presented. Basics about NAND generations, NAND storage strategies (SLC, MLC, TLC), characteristics of NAND, and operational considerations will be discussed. An overview of the trends in NAND evolution and their implications will be presented. The talk will explore how these features apply to SSDs and PCIe cards. This part of the talk will be of interest to anybody using these technologies either directly attached, or in a storage product.

The second part of the talk will be more focused on embedding FreeBSD, running FreeBSD from NAND and an exploration of the currently supported technology. Kernel configuration, build parameter and other details necessary to build a system will be presented. Creating a system image is a bigger challenge with NAND flash, because blocks on the part wear out and need to be retired (some blocks come from the factory this way), and how to compensate. The additional features need to be developed to deploy the latest NAND parts may be discussed. The second part of the talk will be more focused more on FreeBSD embedded systems using NAND.

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