[RTEMS File System] - Flash Memories for Space Applications

Michele Fabiano michele.fabiano at gmail.com
Sat May 2 13:13:50 UTC 2009

Hi, everybody!

I'm Michele Fabiano, PhD Student in Politecnico di Torino.

With my group, we are working on Flash Memory for Space Applications and,
now we are facing some problems (as wondered... :D).

Our final goal should be to get a Non Volatile Storing Device (let's simply
say an Hard Disk) based on Flash Memory Technology; a lot of requirements
need to be met, but do not take care of them! ;)

However we know that the OBC (On-Board Computer) that is going to be sent in
the space will have the RTEMS OS on it and so we were investigating first of
all *WHAT to do*, i.e., all the possibilities that we can use in our design,
crossing them with RTEMS capabilities.

First of all we would like to choose the "best" suitable File-System for
Space Applications: I read on your nice Wiki pages that, actually, in the
MSDOS FS there is the "Block Device" supporting "Flash disk", mainly
accomplishing a block-device emulation, creating the illusion that the OS
and the applications are accessing a "classic" Hard Disk (e.g., FAT32
formatted) but in reality there's a hidden mapping between a block-device
(just existing and that the OS can just use) and the Flash device. (correct
me if I'm wrong)

I point out once more that we are investigating on WHAT to do: that's why
I'm thinking a lot about it. In fact:

 *:)* -> on one side for us there's the chance to choose the "simplest" way
to go on, choosing a FS just supported by your RTEMS;

 *:(* -> on the other side there's the fact that actually there's no support
for Journaling, and so we need to manage power failures by ourselves (and
for sure we need to do it in Space Applications, and also *power
consumptionis a big issue concerning Space Applications

So we're wondering also about choosing the "hardest" way to go on,
developing or just re-using a native FS which supports Journaling (e.g.,
YAFFS) and could be more "suitable" for our goals.

So, my questions are:

   1. in your experience, what do you think is the *"best" way to proceed*?
   If you were me, what would you be wondering and taking care of?
   2. depending in your previous answer, could you please suggest me some
   stuff to "study" to accomplish your idea? Or some tips to not lose too much
   time developing something that someone just did better than me? (Let's say,
   some *tips to not reinvent the wheel*! :D )

We do not have too much experience with RTEMS, a little bit more experienced
with Flash Memories and that's why I am here asking you those questions: *we
do not know which are the actual capabilities generating from the crossing
of these 2 "strange" animals*, i.e., RTEMS and Flash Memories, and if there
is a one-size-fits-all solution or whatever else...we simply do not know! :D

Sorry for the lenght, but I tried to be the most accurate I could.

Any help/suggestion/remark will be really appreciated! Thanks in advance for

Have a nice day!


PS: just in case, if someone is interested, I could send him my academic
mail to share more details! See you! ;)


 Michele FABIANO

 Politecnico di Torino
 Dip. di Automatica e Informatica
 Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24
 I-10129 Torino TO

 "Hard•ware n. The part of a computer system that can be kicked."
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