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A Simple Fix to Improve Performance Problems of Your Storage System

by on December 8, 2010

Every administrator knows that their data is ballooning and storage demands are growing. That’s because not only are more files being created on their systems every day, but many of those files are larger, too. In addition to contributing to data bloat, those larger files have another detrimental effect on the performance of a storage system: fragmentation.

Defrag In a perfect world, files would be written contiguously on a hard disk. Unfortunately, they’re not. Worse yet, the bigger the file and the more often it’s accessed, the more fragmented it can become. Fragmented files can severly impact a system’s performance over time. Here are some of the ill effects of fragmentation.

  • Crashes, hangs or freezes.
    Fragmentation stresses input and output activity on a computer. That stress can cause a machine to crash and display the dreaded blue screen of death or disable all activity on the box with a hang or freeze. Marginal software activity–faulty device drivers or file filters–that can limp by under normal circumstances may be brought to its kness by the strain imposed on it by fragmented files.
  • Slow or aborted boot-ups.
    Windows often refuses to load a heavily fragmented system hive file and won’t boot its system. Since that file is often very large and is written to often, it’s also likely to be fragmented.
  • Slow or aborted backups.
    With backup windows continuing to shrink, administrators want to see faster backup times, not slower ones. Defragmented storage can be backed up faster than fragmented disks.

When looking for a defragmentation solution, it’s a good idea to look for one that defrags dynamically. That is, it prevents files from being fragmented in real time. Otherwise, computing power will be wasted writing fragmented files to disk and later, defragmenting them.

Certainly defragmentation isn’t a panacea for all the storage woes confronting administrators, but it can be a qucik, easy and significant tool in managing those woes.

  1. jwed permalink

    I agree on real time defragmentation being the need of the day. I have an automatic defragger on my home pc and have found it much more convenient to let it run in the background than run the defrag manually or schedule a task which may not go through. At our work place, the IT guys have got a commercial defragger that has reduced their job of defragging the servers significantly. Nowadays when pcs are being used round the clock and there is no such thing as ‘free’ time, its ideal to get a program that can run unobtrusively along with other operations.

  2. Jwed, I agree (obviously) the trick is finding a program that runs in the background but that doesn’t affect performance. And as I said, defragging isn’t the savior of storage but it’s one of those small, easy fixes that can help performance.

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