As a system administrator, the last thing you need is mystery. This is especially true when it comes to performance issues — no IT personnel wants to discover that the system has slowed down through a barrage of help desk calls from angry users. A key to maintaining performance, of course, is defragmentation, and most sites over the years have implemented scheduled defrag to address it. Sites are now reporting that scheduled defrag is no longer adequate to the job, however — and users are complaining. Now you can find out exactly how much fragmentation is being left behind.
Scheduled defrag was once “state of the art” and the best way to go. Defragmentation could be scheduled and run during off-hours when users weren’t on the system. But now that globalization has affected so many enterprises, “off-hours” are for many no longer a reality. Also, due to enormous growth in file sizes and disk capacities, fragmentation builds up at unheard-of rates. In between scheduled runs it continues to impact performance, and in some cases (as with very large drives) fragmentation isn’t being addressed at all. How can IT personnel discover this for themselves?
Left to traditional methodology IT staff must guess, and they might even be somewhat correct. For example, it’s a pretty good chance that a primary server disk will need regular defragmenting, and scheduling might not be doing a great job there. But what about all those other local and server volumes all across the company? Again, you can rely on user complaints, but that isn’t a very scientific measure; they may or may not complain. Another possible solution has been to run a fragmentation analysis on each machine’s drives individually, but in truth this is no solution at all; with today’s IT personnel shortage, there are far greater demands on IT time.
The guesswork can fortunately be eliminated on an enterprise basis with a tool called Disk Performance Analyzer for Networks, from Diskeeper Corporation. With this free application, a system administrator or IT personnel can obtain real information on the amount of fragmentation on each volume as well as the impact it is having on network-wide performance. Scanning systems from one access point, you can identify performance bottlenecks and pinpoint system problems before they become help desk headaches.
Key features of the product include the ability to run scheduled reports with results emailed to you, custom group creation for easy management, and the ability to scan either through Active Directory or using IP addresses.
Users of the product have reported being able to isolate servers that were at risk of failure or that had poor performance, and the ability to defrag to keep critical production machines running at peak performance every day.
Disk Performance Analyzer for Networks is available for download at www.diskeeper.com/freeware/dpan/dpan.asp.