Книга: Embedded Linux Primer: A Practical, Real-World Approach

2.3.4. Flash File Systems

2.3.4. Flash File Systems

The limitations of the simple Flash layout scheme described in the previous paragraphs can be overcome by using a Flash file system to manage data on the Flash device in a manner similar to how data is organized on a hard drive. Early implementations of file systems for Flash devices consisted of a simple block device layer that emulated the 512-byte sector layout of a common hard drive. These simple emulation layers allowed access to data in file format rather than unformatted bulk storage, but they had some performance limitations.

One of the first enhancements to Flash file systems was the incorporation of wear leveling. As discussed earlier, Flash blocks are subject to a finite write lifetime. Wear-leveling algorithms are used to distribute writes evenly over the physical erase blocks of the Flash memory.

Another limitation that arises from the Flash architecture is the risk of data loss during a power failure or premature shutdown. Consider that the Flash block sizes are relatively large and that average file sizes being written are often much smaller relative to the block size. You learned previously that Flash blocks must be written one block at a time. Therefore, to write a small 8KB file, you must erase and rewrite an entire Flash block, perhaps 64KB or 128KB in size; in the worst case, this can take tens of seconds to complete. This opens a significant window of risk of data loss due to power failure.

One of the more popular Flash file systems in use today is JFFS2, or Journaling Flash File System 2. It has several important features aimed at improving overall performance, increasing Flash lifetime, and reducing the risk of data loss in case of power failure. The more significant improvements in the latest JFFS2 file system include improved wear leveling, compression and decompression to squeeze more data into a given Flash size, and support for Linux hard links. We cover this in detail in Chapter 9, "File Systems," and again in Chapter 10, "MTD Subsystem," when we discuss the Memory Technology Device (MTD) subsystem.

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