Given the title of this article some might think, “Oh, yeah, file fragmentation. Been there, done that, got that all covered.” But with the ever-changing state of computing environments today, it is really worth a look, newly, into what fragmentation is actually costing you–even though it may have been “covered” for many years.
If you know how fragmentation operates–the breaking of files into fragments so that all disk space gets used–then you know that it’s an unpreventable fact of life on computers. Due to the multiple I/Os needed to access fragmented files, computer performance is dramatically slowed down in ratio to the fragmentation. And fragmentation can be bad; files can be split into tens, hundreds or even thousands of files. Not only can be performance come to a near-standstill, but system hangs and crashes can result as well.
How does this performance hit affect a company? Well, how long does it take an average employee to open a Word document that’s in a thousand fragments? How long does a sales rep have to wait for a database record that must be accessed on a fragmented disk? How long does a customer have to wait for a web page being retrieved in pieces? How many help desk calls are coming in as a result of all this waiting? And how much does a hard-drive’s life get shortened due to all the extra disk activity? As you can see file fragmentation, although it is a very basic problem, has a profound effect on every aspect of corporate operations.
But again you may say, “Yes, but we really do have fragmentation handled. We have scheduled defragmentation in place. It runs every weekend.” But despite this regular running of a scheduled defragmenter, you’ll most likely find if you analyze your system that fragmentation is still affecting performance.
Why is that? Because first, due to today’s gargantuan disk capacities, mammoth file sizes and sheer number of active files, fragmentation is continuing to flourish in between scheduled runs. Second, fragmentation can become so serious so fast that scheduled defragmentation doesn’t even affect it. And third, with an ever-increasing number of sites operating 24X7, there is almost no time left in which to run a defragmenter when it won’t negatively impact users while it is running.
Add to all that the IT cost in help-desk calls and having to schedule those defragmentation runs, and you’ll see that scheduled defragmentation is really no longer a solution.
Today’s enterprise computing environment requires a fully automatic solution that, with modern technology, defragments a drive whenever idle resources are available. There is never a negative performance hit on users due to defragmentation, and it requires no scheduling. Your IT personnel can return to the more important tasks for which they’re actually qualified.
But most importantly, your company will stop losing money to fragmentation. With a system consistently running at peak performance, there is no more time lost to waiting for data, there is no more lost performance due to fragmentation running while users are on the system, no more premature hardware degradation, and no more IT hours lost to attending to defragmentation.