LightNVM Support Is Going Into Linux 4.4

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 3 November 2015 at 09:16 PM EST. Add A Comment
Jens Axboe sent in the patches today for landing support for LightNVM and Open-Channel SSDs within the mainline Linux kernel!

The developer at Facebook wrote, "This first one adds support for lightnvm, and adds support to NVMe as well. This is pretty exciting, in that it enables new and interesting use cases for compatible flash devices."

Open-Channel SSDs implement the LightNVM specification for exposing more physical characteristics of the solid-state storage to the host operating system in order to make smarter choices. It's further explained as:
Open-channel SSDs are devices that share responsibilities with the host in order to implement and maintain features that typical SSDs keep strictly in firmware. These include (i) the Flash Translation Layer (FTL), (ii) bad block management, and (iii) hardware units such as the flash controller, the interface controller, and large amounts of flash chips. In this way, Open-channels SSDs can expose direct access to their physical flash storage, while keeping a subset of the internal features of SSDs.

LightNVM is a specification that gives support to Open-channel SSDs. LightNVM allows the host to manage data placement, garbage collection, and parallelism. Device specific responsibilities such as bad block management, FTL extensions to support atomic IOs, or metadata persistence are still handled by the device.
LightNVM has been a long-time work-in-progress, you can learn more about it from the original patch series and the support for open-channel SSDs.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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