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A Hidden Culprit Behind IT Overtime Cost: Fragmentation

When confronted with the long laundry list of IT tasks, it can be tough to pinpoint any exact situation when it comes to overtime–except that there’s just a lot of work to do. A new server needs to be installed and be up and running ASAP. The update to the database program needs to installed, tested and put into operation. Three new OS patches need to be deployed to all computers. All this is quite in addition to the putting out of fires all across the company. But there is one situation–file fragmentation–which very well could be a hidden source of overtime.

With the advent of scheduled defragmentation several years ago, fragmentation shouldn’t be any sort of problem. The theory is that every night or so the defragmenter fires off and defragments drives so that files are pulled back together making access much quicker. That’s why scheduled defragmentation was invented, and it should be working fine, shouldn’t it? How would that cause IT personnel overtime?

The answer warrants a closer look by any company looking to lower their IT overtime costs. The fact of the matter is scheduled defragmentation is contributing to overtime in several ways.

First, it has to be scheduled. While that might seem terribly obvious, the fact is that someone has to perform this scheduling. Back of that, someone has to analyze all the drives on the entire network to determine just what these schedules should be. Frequently, due to changes in use and traffic, these schedules need to be adjusted. Right there, hours are being robbed from valuable IT time.

Second, times to run scheduled defragmentation so that it doesn’t negatively interfere with users and processes on the system are rapidly disappearing due to many sites running 24X7. Slowed performance equals help desk calls. Help desk calls equals–you guessed it–IT hours eaten up.

Third, and most importantly, scheduled defragmentation is no longer doing the job it was meant to do. Because of today’s incredible rates of file fragmentation due to huge files, increased usage and disk capacities, fragmentation is continuing to build–and impact performance–in between those scheduled runs. Again, slowed performance, and again, those help desk calls.

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IT departments can check all this for themselves by downloading a trial version of a fully automatic defragmenter. They can utilize the analysis utility to check fragmentation levels on their drives, and see the difference that completely automatic defragmentation, running whenever idle resources are available, makes in terms of performance. They can also note the regaining of IT hours formerly invested in having to schedule defragmentation.

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