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Windows 7 promises better performance with NAND SSDs

Microsoft's plans for improving performance of SSD drives in Windows 7 are starting to emerge concrete with some solutions.

Manufacturers like Seagate or Sandisk are working to finish their cut of the work as much as possible, and Microsoft is trying to make the Windows 7 fit as best as it can to the new storage technology. Microsoft stated that they are working with SSD manufacturers like Intel, Seagate, Sandisk and Samsung.

In an interview with Siobhan M. Lyons, from Seagate Consumer Solution division, that was confirmed.

As stated in the interview, there is very little chance that SSDs and HDDs can share the same solutions in the future, because they are completely different technology. Solutions that suit one, do not work that well on the other. For example, the NAND SSDs do not have requirements for a defrag option, but with that option on, the lifetime of an SSD is reduced. The lifetime of a SSD depends on the maximum number of reads and writes, so a defrag can only shorten the lifetime.

Nevertheless, Windows 7 promises three more optimization techniques. All three are tied to the reducing the number of reads and writes as much as possible. The first is disabling merging for deleted data blocks, second is early garbage collecting and the third, keeping the drive as clean as possible.

Microsoft Research has completed an analysis of the SSD drive work and technology. In this analysis, which is very useful literature if you want to research SSDs, there is discussion about trade offs that should be taken to improve performance. For example, if a large page size is used, then the page table will be smaller. However, then we get to an increased number of read-modify-writes. A large allocation pool gives us good load balancing, but needs more chip-ops. Of course, all of this also includes a brand new SSD drive hardware controller.

Unfortunately, the people behind the analysis cannot be sure that all of the measures will actually increase the performance or durability of SSD drives. The analysis was measured in laboratory conditions, not long-term use. Aside from that, flash-based drives are sure to be an important storage medium in the future.

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