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The Fragmentation Disease and The Unfinished Process

Unfinished anything is never any good. For example, two legendary classical music composers, Beethoven and Schumann, both left behind unfinished symphonies. Music lovers the world over wish they could have heard what should have been the final strains of those works–for we’ll never know to what aesthetic heights we might have been lifted. In Beethoven’s case, his “unfinished” symphony was his tenth, following the very famous and astounding Ninth.

In day-to-day life, leaving something unfinished is always worrisome–for it’s an “almost” but not something completed that’s truly useful. It can range from something annoying like a partially washed car, to a real burden such as a half-completed building. In the computer world, “unfinished” takes on a whole new level of bother in the form of incomplete (aborted) backups. A backup can be aborted either purposely by the operator (the time window for the backup has run out) or because there are reliability issues with the drive being backed up.

At the root of overly-long backups is usually the attempt to back up files which are too severely fragmented. Files fragmented into hundreds or thousands of fragments (not at all uncommon) require an enormous amount of extra I/O traffic to access, hence the backup time for a whole fragmented drive is greatly increased. Most sites have a very fixed time window in which backups can occur and if the entire drive can’t be backed up during this time, there is data at risk of being lost as it is not backed up.

A drive infected with the fragmentation disease also has reliability issues. When fragmentation becomes too severe, “hangs” and crashes become more likely. If one of these occurs during the backup procedure, the backup can be aborted, and if no operator is in attendance to notice (which is often the case) the problem will not be known about until morning when an IT personnel discovers it.

Unfinished backups are obviously serious business. For many companies, backing up data is the only guarantee that data will be retrievable in case of a crash or catastrophe. It is in the very best interest of enterprises everywhere to make sure that backups always complete.

In today’s frantic computing environments, the best way to ensure that backups occur within their allotted times is to employ a defrag solution that is always working, that allows for a drive to be consistently in a defragmented state. Fully automatic defragmentation works invisibly, in the background, utilizing only idle resources. Drives are always defragmented, no scheduling is ever required, and there is never a negative performance hit from defragmentation.

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Put automatic defragmentation to work in your site–and eliminate unfinished backups forever.

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