Macro-modeling and energy efficiency studies of file management in embedded systems with flash memory



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Texas A&M University


Technological advancements in computer hardware and software have made embedded systems highly affordable and widely used. Consumers have ever increasing demands for powerful embedded devices such as cell phones, PDAs and media players. Such complex and feature-rich embedded devices are strictly limited by their battery life- time. Embedded systems typically are diskless and use flash for secondary storage due to their low power, persistent storage and small form factor needs. The energy efficiency of a processor and flash in an embedded system heavily depends on the choice of file system in use. To address this problem, it is necessary to provide sys- tem developers with energy profiles of file system activities and energy efficient file systems. In the first part of the thesis, a macro-model for the CRAMFS file system is established which characterizes the processor and flash energy consumption due to file system calls. This macro-model allows a system developer to estimate the energy consumed by CRAMFS without using an actual power setup. The second part of the thesis examines the effects of using non-volatile memory as a write-behind buffer to improve the energy efficiency of JFFS2. Experimental results show that a 4KB write-behind buffer significantly reduces energy consumption by up to 2-3 times for consecutive small writes. In addition, the write-behind buffer conserves flash space since transient data may never be written to flash.