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Performance Still Top Issue

According to a recent article in Computerworld, Microsoft has released a pair of Windows Vista updates, one of which is specifically a performance booster for the new operating system. This move shows that, as would be expected, performance remains a top concern for computer sites. Issues addressed by the “performance booster” update are speed of wake-up from hibernation and quicker time calculation for the movement of large files.

Performance problems generally can have many sources, including insufficient memory, outdated chipsets, and poorly-written applications. A prime source of poor performance, however, is disk file fragmentation. Such performance issues as slow boot-up, sluggish web browsing, slow application loading and delayed file access regularly trouble both users and, by referral, IT personnel alike, and many of these problems can be traced directly to file fragmentation.

Server fragmentation issues can, of course, cause further-reaching issues due to the high-volume constant access of server data. High-speed access to databases and CRM applications is obviously crucial both for company personnel and, today through the Web, directly by the public. CRM applications, once only used for internal employees on the phone, now interface with Web applications so that customers and even employees can interact with the company online. Databases such as SQL must be instantly responsive, as these interface with the Web as well. Add to that remote office and employee remote access, and a server can become quickly overwhelmed. As a key performance issue, file fragmentation must be kept under control on server disks at all times.

Because of exponentially increasing disk capacity, as well as ever-increasing file sizes, fragmentation occurs at higher-than-ever rates. Hence it is not only important to employ a defragmentation solution; particular attention should be paid to the defragmentation technology as well, especially in regard to site volume and requirements. For most sites, manual defragmentation–the case-by-case launching of a defragmenter when desired or needed–is no longer an option due to fragmentation levels and time required for a defragmenter to run. For many years, defragmenters have been available with scheduling options which would allow specific times for defragmentation to be set.

In the last few years, however, even scheduled defragmentation is starting to become out-of-date–it simply cannot keep up with fragmentation rates and disk sizes, and evolution of defragmentation technology that will work constantly in the background has begun to appear.

Until such time as computers are perfect, performance will remain a constant concern both users and IT personnel. As a basic function when tracing performance problems, file fragmentation should always be checked and regular defragmentation performed on all disks, especially those of servers.

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