Mapping Table Size

This lesson discusses two practical techniques for making mapping tables in FTL.

The second cost of log-structuring is the potential for extremely large mapping tables, with one entry for each 4-KB page of the device. With a large 1-TB SSD, for example, a single 4-byte entry per 4-KB page results in 1 GB of memory needed the device, just for these mappings! Thus, this page-level FTL scheme is impractical.

Block-based mapping

One approach to reduce the costs of mapping is to only keep a pointer per block of the device, instead of per page, reducing the amount of mapping information by a factor of SizeblockSizepage\frac {Size_{block}} {Size_{page}} . This block-level FTL is akin to having bigger page sizes in a virtual memory system. In that case, you use fewer bits for the VPN and have a larger offset in each virtual address.

Unfortunately, using a block-based mapping inside a log-based FTL does not work very well for performance reasons. The biggest problem arises when a “small write” occurs (i.e., one that is less than the size of a physical block). In this case, the FTL must read a large amount of live data from the old block and copy it into a new one (along with the data from the small write). This data copying increases write amplification greatly and thus decreases performance.

To make this issue more clear, let’s look at an example. Assume the client previously wrote out logical blocks 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 (with contents, a, b, c, d), and that they are located within physical block 1 at physical pages 4, 5, 6, and 7. With per-page mappings, the translation table would have to record four mappings for these logical blocks: 2000→4, 2001→5, 2002→6, 2003→7.

If instead, we use block-level mapping, the FTL only needs to record a single address translation for all of this data. The address mapping, however, is slightly different than our previous examples. Specifically, we think of the logical address space of the device as being chopped into chunks that are the size of the physical blocks within the flash. Thus, the logical block address consists of two portions: a chunk number and an offset. Because we are assuming four logical blocks fit within each physical block, the offset portion of the logical addresses requires 2 bits; the remaining (most significant) bits form the chunk number.

Logical blocks 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 all have the same chunk number (500) and have different offsets (0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Thus, with a block-level mapping, the FTL records that chunk 500 maps to block 1 (starting at physical page 4), as shown in this diagram:

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