C-level executives lead busy lives. Flooded with information from a mind-boggling variety of communication channels, it is sometimes easy to miss vital and important information that could be saving their companies serious amounts of capital — especially in terms of time and efficiency of their internal information systems. Such is the case with defragmentation or “defrag” as it is more commonly known.
At a recent gathering of high level executives, it was discovered that, although many had heard of defrag, most were not familiar with what it actually was nor how important it could be to the running of their information systems. And yet, defrag is of such importance, that CIOs and CEOs who have this type of software installed on their systems wouldn’t consider ever being without it once they have seen what it can do for them. The fact that many of the largest companies and governmental agencies in the world have defrag on their systems is a testimony to its importance.
Why is defrag so important? Hard drives have a habit of scattering data all over the disk as new information is written to the drive. With the ever-increasing size of hard drives and networks, the more scattered the information on the drives, the longer it is going to take for data to be retrieved, and thus, the slow and slower a system will be over the course of time. This is a process known as fragmentation. If the situation gets bad enough, the system can even crash or shut down.
Defrag or defragmentation handles this problem by putting files where they should be i.e., in one continual unit where the data is again rapidly accessible. Free space — which can also be wildly fragmented — is also organized into contiguous units, which, again, significantly increases system speed.
Fragmented hard drives also cause problems in many other areas of systems administration such as system backups, virtualization, and networking to name a few. Defrag is perhaps especially valuable to large companies with hundreds or thousands of workstations to deal with. The problem of cluttered, unorganized hard drives, when multiplied by a hundred or a thousand fold, can lead to significant loss of production and possibly even the need for too-early replacement cost.