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Automatic – Not scheduled – Defragmentation is Vital to Extending Hardware Life

Seeing to the life and health of computer hardware is among the many vital tasks that must be regularly undertaken by corporate IT departments. Being one of the foremost expenses an enterprise can undertake, hardware life must obviously be extended as long as possible. Of all the different hardware devices, hard drives are probably the most crucial; that’s where all the data is stored. Not only is maintaining hard disk life important from a cost standpoint, it’s also imperative for data preservation. Hard drive failure can be one of the worst emergencies that can befall a company, especially if it’s a server drive.

File fragmentation–the splitting of files into parts so a disk drive can be completely filled–takes a considerable toll on hard drives. One file split into a hundred or a thousand fragments means that instead of one or two I/Os to retrieve that file, there are hundreds or thousands. You can guess the considerable stress put on a hard drive from all this extra I/O activity as disk heads thrash about to retrieve needed data.

Due to the extra seek time users have to wait for requested files, but beyond that drives can actually hang and fail from fragmentation. A hard drive failure can mean that sales reps suddenly aren’t getting needed customer info or pricing. It can mean that shipping isn’t getting orders to send out. It can mean that accounting isn’t providing needed cost analyses, tax data or quarterly reports in a timely fashion. In short, a company can come to a complete standstill. Hopefully the data was backed up; otherwise it must undergo lengthy re-creation that can take days or even weeks.

Regular defragmentation has been long-ago proven to extend hard drive life. But what may be not known to many is that the traditional defrag solution–scheduled defragmentation–is no longer adequate to the task. Files have grown to be enormous, as have hard drive capacities. As a result, fragmentation rates have spiraled out of control, and between scheduled runs fragmentation is continuing to compound, stressing hard drives and slowing performance. Under certain circumstances, as with very large drives and low free space, scheduled fragmentation may not be defragmenting the volume at all.

The net result of scheduled defragmentation’s shortcomings is that hard drive life is once again being shortened. That significant investment is once again not being maintained.

The defrag solution for today’s computing environment is one which is totally automatic. Because it is operating invisibly (not impacting users) in the background and defragmenting whenever possible, fragmentation rates are kept under control, and hard drive life is once again extended as long as possible.

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