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The Word for the Day: Automatic

way back to the beginning of computing. In fact, the computer itself was invented to automate complex math computations and other such tasks. As time came forward, it was used to automate manufacturing processes, accounting, record-keeping, and more. Today computers are taken quite for granted and automate so many facets of our lives that if they were to suddenly disappear our “normal” lives would come completely to a standstill.

Computer programmers have not ignored themselves and their computer-room staffs in their developments. Today we find many aspects of computer operations and system management are fully automatic: virus updates, patch download and deployment, system monitoring, disaster recovery, and much more. It is high time that defragmentation be included in such automated processes as well.

Today’s computing environment has greatly outpaced the limits of scheduled defragmentation. Because many sites are now 24X7, they no longer have time windows in which a running defragmenter will not impact performance. Scheduled defragmentation was evolved so that it would not impact performance while it ran, but now there is little choice. If defragmentation is to take place, it seems that production will be affected no matter what.

File sizes and disk capacities have grown tremendously, and consequently, so has fragmentation. Fragmentation continues to increase in between scheduled runs, impacting performance, and in some cases (very large disks) is not being touched. Such disks are generally attached to extremely busy servers, and the performance hit from fragmentation is intolerable.

And lastly but perhaps most importantly, a shortage of experienced IT personnel now means that they come at a premium, and their time is very valuable. Scheduled defragmentation requires a trained eye for analysis of fragmentation and subsequent scheduling to properly get a handle on it. With datacenter staff hours as valuable as they are, there are far more important plans and projects which could be executed instead of constantly having to monitor and set schedules for defragmentation.

Yes, it is time that defragmentation itself became an automatic procedure, operating transparently, requiring no scheduling, having no hit on system resources, and utilizing whatever system resources were available so that maximum performance and reliability could be maintained always. Fortunately, such solutions are now available so that datacenters can include them in their arsenal of automated solutions.

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