New file system optimized for flash memory in upcoming Linux kernel

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The upcoming 3.8 release of the Linux kernel will support a new, Samsung developed, file system. The system is called flash friendly file system (f2fs) and is optimized for dealing with flash memory. According to the developers of the file system it’s designed for devices that use flash memory with a Flash Translation Layer, such as memorycards, USB drives and SSDs.

The file system uses sequential writes which means that new data is written directly after the block that was written last. This ensures a minimum of fragmentation of the data on the device. When the capacity is filled the file system starts at the first available free block again and the system will fill up deallocated areas to store new data.

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New file system optimized for flash memory in upcoming Linux kernel

The file system is also designed to better cooperate with the Flash Translation Layer which takes care of e.g. distributing data evenly over the flash chips to deal with the limited writes of flash memory. By adopting the new file system in the Linux kernel the operating system offers an additional option to deal with flash memory for software that deals with flash memory. The 3.8 version of the Linux kernel is expected in February.

It’s likely that the Samsung developed f2fs will be used in Android devices that make use of flash memory. Samsung tried this before with its ‘robust file system’ (RFS) on the Galaxy S smartphone but the performance of RFS was substandard and Samsung switched back to the ext4 filesystem in other models.

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