Coordinating garbage collectionfor arrays of solid-state drives

Youngjae Kim, Junghee Lee, Sarp Oral, David A. Dillow, Feiyi Wang, Galen M. Shipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Although solid-state drives (SSDs) offer significant performance improvements over hard disk drives (HDDs) for a number of workloads, they can exhibit substantial variance in request latency and throughput as a result of garbage collection (GC). When GC conflicts with an I/O stream, the stream can make no forward progress until the GC cycle completes. GC cycles are scheduled by logic internal to the SSD based on several factors such as the pattern, frequency, and volume of write requests. When SSDs are used in a RAID with currently available technology, the lack of coordination of the SSD-local GC cycles amplifies this performance variance. We propose a global garbage collection (GGC) mechanism to improve response times and reduce performance variability for a RAID of SSDs. We include a high-level design of SSD-aware RAID controller and GGC-capable SSD devices and algorithms to coordinate the GGC cycles. We develop reactive and proactive GC coordination algorithms and evaluate their I/O performance and block erase counts for various workloads. Our simulations show that GC coordination by a reactive scheme improves average response time and reduces performance variability for a wide variety of enterprise workloads. For bursty, write-dominated workloads, response time was improved by 69 percent and performance variability was reduced by 71 percent. We show that a proactive GC coordination algorithm can further improve the I/O response times by up to 9 percent and the performance variability by up to 15 percent. We also observe that it could increase the lifetimes of SSDs with some workloads (e.g., Financial) by reducing the number of block erase counts by up to 79 percent relative to a reactive algorithm for write-dominant enterprise workloads.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6338925
Pages (from-to)888-901
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Storage systems
  • flash memory
  • garbage collection
  • redundant array of inexpensive disks
  • solid-state drives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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