Workload-Based Configuration of MEMS-Based Storage Devices for Mobile Systems

Appeared in Proceedings of the 8th ACM & IEEE Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT '08).


Because of its small form factor, high capacity, and expected low cost, MEMS-based storage is a suitable storage technology for mobile systems. However, flash memory may outperform MEMS-based storage in terms of performance, and energy-efficiency. The problem is that MEMS-based storage devices have a large number (i.e., thousands) of heads, and to deliver peak performance, all heads must be deployed simultaneously to access each single sector. Since these devices are mechanical and thus some housekeeping information is needed for each head, this results in a huge capacity loss and increases the energy consumption of MEMS-based storage with respect to flash.

We solve this problem by proposing new techniques to lay out data in MEMS-based storage devices. Data layouts represent optimizations in a design space spanned by three parameters: the number of active heads, sector parallelism, and sector size. We explore this design space and show that by exploiting knowledge of the expected workload, MEMS-based devices can employ all heads, thus delivering peak performance, while decreasing the energy consumption and compromising only a little on the capacity. Our exploration shows that MEMS-based storage is competitive with flash in most cases, and outperforms flash in a few cases.

Publication date:
October 2008

Mohammed G. Khatib
Ethan L. Miller
Pieter H. Hartel

MEMS-based Storage

Available media

Full paper text: PDF

Bibtex entry

  author       = {Mohammed G. Khatib and Ethan L. Miller and Pieter H. Hartel},
  title        = {Workload-Based Configuration of {MEMS}-Based Storage Devices for Mobile Systems},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 8th ACM & IEEE Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT '08)},
  pages        = {245-254},
  month        = oct,
  year         = {2008},
Last modified 5 Aug 2020