GuardedErase: Extending SSD Lifetimes by Protecting Weak Wordlines


Duwon Hong, Seoul National University; Myungsuk Kim, Kyungpook National University; Geonhee Cho, Dusol Lee, and Jihong Kim, Seoul National University


3D NAND flash memory enables the continuous growth in the flash capacity by vertically stacking wordlines (WLs). However, as the number of WLs in a flash block increases, 3D NAND flash memory exhibits strong process variability among different WLs. This strong process variability, which causes a severe imbalance in the reliability of WLs in the same flash block, makes it difficult for an SSD to fully utilize the maximum endurance of flash blocks, thus significantly reducing the SSD lifetime. In this paper, we propose a new block erase scheme, called GuardedErase, that effectively mitigates the process variability problem within a 3D flash block so that the SSD can fully utilize the maximum endurance of flash blocks. The key mechanism of GuardedErase is to delay the wear-out speed of weak WLs by reducing an erase voltage applied to weak WLs, thus maximally delaying the time when the flash block becomes bad. In order to support the GuardedErase scheme, we suggest a new hardware design to selectively control different erase voltage levels to individual WLs. From an extensive characterization study using real 3D flash chips, we constructed a novel NAND endurance model under varying erase voltages at each WL. Using this endurance model, nine different GuardedErase modes are proposed to optimize the flash lifetime without degrading I/O performance from the reduced usable block capacity. Furthermore, exploiting the endurance-capacity trade-off of the proposed NAND endurance model, we have implemented the GuardedErase-aware FTL, called longFTL. Experimental results using various workloads show that longFTL can improve the SSD lifetime on average by 21% over an existing FTL with little degradation on the SSD performance.

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.

This content is available to:

@inproceedings {277832,
title = {{GuardedErase}: Extending {SSD} Lifetimes by Protecting Weak Wordlines},
booktitle = {20th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-26-7},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {133--146},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb,

Presentation Video