LightNVM: The Linux Open-Channel SSD Subsystem


Matias Bjørling, CNEX Labs, Inc. and IT University of Copenhagen; Javier Gonzalez, CNEX Labs, Inc.; Philippe Bonnet, IT University of Copenhagen


As Solid-State Drives (SSDs) become commonplace in data-centers and storage arrays, there is a growing demand for predictable latency. Traditional SSDs, serving block I/Os, fail to meet this demand. They offer a high-level of abstraction at the cost of unpredictable performance and suboptimal resource utilization. We propose that SSD management trade-offs should be handled through Open-Channel SSDs, a new class of SSDs, that give hosts control over their internals. We present our experience building LightNVM, the Linux Open-Channel SSD subsystem. We introduce a new Physical Page Address I/O interface that exposes SSD parallelism and storage media characteristics. LightNVM integrates into traditional storage stacks, while also enabling storage engines to take advantage of the new I/O interface. Our experimental results demonstrate that LightNVM has modest host overhead, that it can be tuned to limit read latency variability and that it can be customized to achieve predictable I/O latencies.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {202260,
author = {Matias Bj{\o}rling and Javier Gonzalez and Philippe Bonnet},
title = {{LightNVM}: The Linux {Open-Channel} {SSD} Subsystem},
booktitle = {15th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-36-2},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {359--374},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

Presentation Audio