While it’s true that uninterrupted file access is important no matter the work being done, it’s especially important when it comes to music editing. A large part of the creative process that goes into music editing is listening to the playback to see how it all flows and hangs together; if there is an unexpected pause in the playback or if the playback is jerky, the person doing the editing has his or her attention very firmly yanked off the music and onto the mechanics of rendering that music. This is a severe interruption of the artistic progression and can result in a less-than-perfect product.
File fragmentation affects file access in all cases. In today’s computing environments, it is not at all uncommon for a file to be fragmented into hundreds or thousands of pieces (fragments). The extra I/O traffic needed to access all the fragments of a file in such a state is horrendous and has a substantial effect on performance and on the life of the hard drive.
In music editing, file fragmentation is further compounded by the large sizes of the audio files themselves. Larger files mean more fragmentation. Fragmentation is also further compounded by today’s high disk capacities; searches can already take longer because of the amount of data. If that data is fragmented, it becomes a performance nightmare. All this can only mean jerky playback.
For some time, the traditional solution to file fragmentation has been scheduled defragmentation; defragmentation could occur when the computer was not being used and (theoretically at least) the drive would be in a defragmented state the next time the computer was accessed. The problem with music editing is that in between the scheduled runs, with files being constantly accessed, modified, saved and re-saved, fragmentation is continuing to run wild and impact performance in between scheduled runs. Additionally, with the large files sizes and disk capacities associated with music editing, scheduled defragmentation, in many cases, is not addressing fragmentation at all.
The only real solution to ensure consistently smooth playback in music editing is one which is fully automatic, one that is working whenever otherwise idle system resources are available. Such a solution addresses fragmentation whenever and wherever possible so that performance is always maximized.
With this kind of fragmentation solution the music editor can actually perform his or her job, and render the best and most creatively rich product possible.