Today, companies conduct most or all of their internal and external business on computer. Hence the computer system is a major portion of a company’s budget, and a hefty portion of that computer budget is dedicated to hardware. It becomes imperative for an IT department to maintain that hardware and get as much life out of it as possible–and when it comes to hard drives, file fragmentation can rob a good portion of that life.
A hard drive is the only prime computer component (the others being memory and CPU) that has mechanical, moving parts that can break down. Every time a file is requested, a read/write head must move across the disk platters and retrieve that file. Every time a file is written, that same read/write head must write the file to free space on the drive. Many years ago, file fragmentation was developed to better utilize disk space and it now occurs on every computer as a natural fact of life, so when a file is accessed the read/write head will have to do extra work to retrieve all the fragments of the file. Because the free space on a drive is also fragmented, the same holds true for writing a file: the read/write head will have to keep moving until it has written all the fragments of a file in the free spaces available.
In today’s computing environment, with its enormous file sizes and disk capacities, it is not at all uncommon for a file to be fragmented into hundreds or even thousands of fragments. The extra work a hard drive has to perform to read and write files under such conditions is substantial, and if left unaddressed file fragmentation can mean the loss of a third to half of a hard drive’s expected life.
Long ago, defragmentation solutions were developed to address file fragmentation and make files as whole as possible on a regular basis. The traditional method of defragmentation for some time has been scheduled defragmentation; the defragmenter could be scheduled to run at times when users weren’t on the system. Because of today’s file sizes and disk capacities, however, scheduled defragmentation is no longer keeping up with fragmentation, and fragmentation is continuing to build in between scheduled runs, negatively affecting system performance and stressing hard drives.
To truly keep pace with fragmentation, it takes the right defragmentation technology. In today’s enterprises that technology is fully automatic, running invisibly in the background whenever otherwise idle system resources are available. Instead of defragmentation only occurring at scheduled times, it is consistently happening, maximizing performance and maintaining the lives of hard drives. Defragmentation never negatively impacts users on the system (as scheduled defragmentation does when it is running) and no scheduling is ever required.
File fragmentation takes a serious toll on hard drives. The right defragmentation technology counteracts that toll and ensures hard drives last through their expected lifespans.