Many know that file fragmentation exists, and that it can drastically impact performance. The saving and retrieving of files in pieces (fragments) is a solution to the utilization of disk space which became a performance-crippling disease that must be constantly battled. But besides the obvious performance slowdown, there are numerous other symptoms that can alert a system administrator to the presence of this malady on his or her system.
An example is hard drive failure–something that can be a catastrophe in a company. Hundreds of employees can suddenly be staring at an unmoving screen, work can come to a halt for hours or even longer, and there is suddenly an unexpected expense for IT and the enterprise.
Hard drives can fail for a number of reasons including manufacturing defect, but the most common reason given no such defects is undue wear and tear. And the most common cause of undue wear and tear on a hard drive? The fragmentation disease. Because fragmented files require substantial additional I/O traffic in order to access them, that I/O traffic takes an undue toll on the read/write head frantically moving across the platters to retrieve all the fragments of requested files. The result is commonly a hard drive’s life reduced by a third to a half–and potentially an unexpected failure.
Another symptom can be slow network traffic. While such a problem can be attributed to other factors such as inadequate bandwidth, unnecessary email traffic and badly timed broadcast messages, the fragmentation disease can also be a common culprit. Since files are commonly accessed from, and saved to, a server, requests for fragmented files can cause undue delays across networks if server files are fragmented. In fact, complaints of a slow network can cause IT personnel to go chasing causes that aren’t there and performing tweaks on network components to no avail because the root of the problem is this insidious disease.
Today’s best solution to each of these symptoms–and for the root cause, fragmentation–is a completely automatic solution, one which consistently addresses the fragmentation issue invisibly, in the background. There is never a negative impact on performance due to defragmenting as only otherwise idle system resources are used. Hard drive life can run its predicted course and network traffic can hum right along. Freed from the fragmentation disease, performance all across an enterprise can be maximized.