SanDisk: SSDs to get 100x faster

SanDisk, the computer storage manufacturer, has unveiled a new technology that it says will make solid state disks (SSDs) up to 100x faster than current drives.

The company has introduced a new file system for solid-state drives called ExtremeFFS that it says will dramatically improve performance and reliability. Write-speeds could be increased by over 100 times in certain situations.

Rich Heye, Senior vice president and general manager for SanDisk's SSD business unit presented ExtremeFFS at WinHEC 2008.

According to Heye, the new file system is necessary due to the way Windows Vista works, with the OS requiring many random writes rather than sequential access.

"For SSDs to perform optimally with Windows Vista, and thus replicate or surpass the functionality of hard disk drives, a new flash management technology is needed to accelerate SSD write speed and endurance, he said.

Heye explained that the file system operates on a page-based algorithm, which means there is no fixed coupling between physical and logical locations. This means that when a sector of data is written, the SSD puts it where it is most convenient and efficient. This delivers the huge performance benefits mentioned as well as increasing overall endurance.

The benefits will remain valid on future operating systems as Microsoft has said that the next version of its operating system, Windows 7, will not have any major changes to the file structure.

Microsoft used the WinHEC conference to call on developers to improve PC drivers, application compatibility and reliability.

SanDisk also introduced a new benchmark metric called vRPM, designed to make it easier to compare SSDs and conventional hard disks in terms of performance.

Commenting on vRPM, Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner, said: "There has been a deluge of SSD products with varying levels of quality that have created undeserved hype and confusion for consumers and corporations. Industry support behind a common metric that clearly articulates the value proposition of an SSD on a like for like basis to a HDD will be instrumental in driving end-user understanding and subsequent adoption as prices continue to fall."

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.