SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

December 30, 2008 13:47 ET

As Drives Get Bigger, Backups Get Longer

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - December 30, 2008) - It's true of anything: the more you have of something, the longer it will take to move. A 3-story house full of furniture is going to take much longer to pack up and truck to its new location than that from a single-story unit. A musical act with 5 amplifiers, a drum kit and multiple instruments will take longer to get to the show than the lone folk singer and his one guitar. And, multi-terabyte disks are going to take much longer to back up -- even with today's faster network speeds -- than the multi-gigabyte disks of just a few short years ago.

What happens when the time to move something is misestimated? The job either runs into another scheduled task (interfering with it and slowing both jobs down), or it must be curtailed altogether until it can be finished. Since backups take a majority of resources when they are running, they must be done during times when there is little to no activity on a system. If the time to back up a drive is not figured correctly, the backup procedure slams right into production time and will probably have to be aborted.

Backups also abort on their own -- and the reason is the same, in many cases, as the reason they run overly-long: file fragmentation. 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. The result is a backup job that must be aborted so users can get on the system, or that hangs or crashes and goes undiscovered until morning.

With today's enormous multi-terabyte drives, fragmentation's effect is increased even further, due to larger file sizes and the sheer number of files that will fit on such a drive.

An organization relies completely on the integrity of its data, hence backups are vital. 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.

It takes longer to move larger amounts of data. Put truly automatic defragmentation to work in your site, and ensure your time estimations for backups are always correct.

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