created_at2022-05-22 22:57:45.706245
updated_at2022-05-22 22:57:45.706245
descriptionTicKV (Tiny Circular Key Value) is a small file system allowing key value pairs to be stored in Flash Memory.
Alistair Francis (alistair23)





TicKV (Tiny Circular Key Value) is a small file system allowing key value pairs to be stored in Flash Memory.

TicKV was written to allow the Tock OS kernel to persistently store app data on flash. It was written to be generic though, so other Rust applications can use it if they want.

TicKV is based on similar concepts as Yaffs1.

Goals of TicKV

TicKV is designed with these main goals (in order)

  • Fully implemented in no_std Rust
  • Power loss resilient
  • Maintain data integrity and detect media errors
  • Wear leveling
  • Low memory usage
  • Low storage overhead
  • No external crates in use (not including unit tests)

TicKV is also designed with some assumptions

  • Most operations will be retrieving keys
  • Some operations will be storing keys
  • Keys will rarely be deleted
  • Key values will rarely need to be modified

System Guarantees

A successful write or erase is durably committed.

The design does not support concurrency, such that it imposes a total order on all read, write and delete operations. Successful individual operations are therefore atomic. Applications that require higher-level atomicity (e.g., read/modify/delete/write, multiple writes) need to build this on top of these operations.

TicKV is not robust to low-level flash failures, power loss, or system crashes. However, a failure only affects a single key: a failure to write or delete key K will corrupt at most only K. A value to read will have no effect.

Under the constraint that underlying flash operations succeed, TicKV provides atomicity. If the underlying flash has an error, the system crashes mid-operation, or power is lost mid-operation, an operation may be partially committed.

If a write fails with only a partial write to flash the entire length of the key will be used in the storage.

TicKV ensures durability and once a transaction has completed and been committed to flash it will remain there. TicKV also takes measures to apply wear leveling to the flash storage.

Using TicKV

See the generated Rust documentation for details on using this in your project.

How TicKV works

Unlike a regular File System (FS) TicKV is only designed to store Key/Value (KV) pairs in flash. It does not support writing actual files, directories or other complex objects. Although a traditional file system layer could be added on top to add such features.

TicKV allows writing new key/value pairs (by appending them) and removing old key/value pairs.

TicKV has two important types, regions and objects.

A TicKV region is the smallest region of the flash memory that can be erased in a single command.

TicKV saves and restores objects from flash. TicKV objects contain the value the user wanted to store as well as extra header data. Objects are internal to TicKV and users don't need to understand them in detail to use it.

For more details on the technical implementation see the SPEC.md file.


TicKV will prevent a new key/value pair with a colliding hash of the key to be added. The collision will be reported to the user with ErrorCode::KeyAlreadyExists.

Power loss protection

TicKV ensures that in the event of a power loss, all committed data remains committed. This is the durability guarantee as part of the ACID semantics. The only data that can be lost in the event of a power loss is the data which hasn't been write to flash yet.

If a power loss occurs after calling append_key() or invalidate_key() before it has completed then the operation probably did not complete and that data is lost.


TicKV uses CRC-32 checksums to check data integrity. TicKV does not have any measures to prevent malicious manipulation or privacy. An attacker with access to the flash can change the values without being detected. An attacked with access to flash can also read all of the information. Any privacy, security or authentication measures need to be layered on top of TicKV.

Hardware Requirements

TicKV requires that the flash medium allow at least two writes to a word between erase operations.


TicKV stores the version when adding objects to the flash storage.

TicKV is currently version 1.

  • Version 1
    • Initial release
Commit count: 12598

cargo fmt