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Faster FAT filesystem targets embedded Linux, Android

Jun 30, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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[Updated July 8] — Tuxera announced a new FAT filesystem for embedded Linux- and Android-based devices claimed to deliver faster data transfers than previous FAT implementations. The Tuxera FAT technology offers improved application responsiveness and power savings, while providing features including fail-safe operation.

Linux continually adds new and updated filesystems for embedded developers to sample, but for legacy purposes most consumer electronics still incorporate the FAT (File Allocation Table) filesystem. Like earlier Tuxera filesystems such as Tuxera exFAT and Tuxera NTFS, Tuxera FAT operates within Linux as a kernel module.

Tuxera concedes that FAT is not ideal for handling today’s larger multimedia files, but claims that Tuxera FAT provides the best performance, reliability and interoperability one can expect from a FAT implementation. Unlike NTFS Community Edition, Tuxera FAT is not open source, but it does have the benefit of being faster, says the company. It’s also much faster than the open source VFAT implementation, and it edges out ext4, which is Android’s default filesystem, according to the company’s own benchmarks (see below).



Tuxera-supplied filesystem benchmarks
(click images to enlarge)

 

Unlike VFAT, Tuxera FAT offers a fail-safe feature so that files will not get “lost or corrupted in plug off or power off situations,” says Tuxera. The technology is said to be suitable for portable devices equipped with an SD slot, as well as automotive and in-flight infotainment systems, home entertainment consumer electronics, demanding industrial systems, and wireless storage, NAS, and routers.

Key features and benefits of Tuxera FAT are said to include:

  • Runs on Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Firefox OS, and Tizen
  • Runs on ARM, x86, MIPS, PowerPC, SH and other architectures
  • Supports all Microsoft FAT versions and SD specs, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8
  • Supports storage media types including USB, Flash, SD/SDHC/MMC, HDD
  • Supports APM, GPT, and MBR partition schemes
  • Low-power use optimized for increased battery life
  • No practical limits in number of files, folders, file sizes, and partition sizes
  • Active caching, advanced algorithms, and data structures optimized for maximum IO on both small and large files, plus high IOPS
  • Fault-tolerant design guarantee

Additionally, Tuxera FAT ensures “full compliance with both Microsoft patent licenses and GPL,” according the company’s website. Microsoft’s FAT filesystem patents have been the subject of considerable controversy.

“Many people think FAT is slow and unreliable but Tuxera’s modern implementation proves that this doesn’t have to be true,” stated Szabolcs Szakacsits, Tuxera President and CTO.

Tuxera FAT appears to be available now. More information may be found on the Tuxera FAT product. Further details regarding the benchmark data shown above appear here. Tuxera does not list pricing for Tuxera FAT, but provides an inquiry form on its OEM and volume licensing page.
 

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