SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

April 23, 2009 07:17 ET

Don't Let Fragmentation Stop the Mainframe of the 21st Century

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2009) - VMware, a leader in the virtual server platform software, has just announced the launch of a product called vSphere 4. At the same time they issued the statement, "Virtualization is the mainframe for the 21st century." The release, expected to arrive within the next few months, will allow enterprises to transform their data centers into a "virtual compute cloud" in which applications can be moved on-the-fly across computing, network and storage resources to utilize whatever capacity is available.

The power of a computing cloud can meet and exceed that of the mainframe, but the primary difference is that the resources of the computing cloud are infinitely scalable, whereas a mainframe has definite resource boundaries as well as a substantial physical footprint. A key element of cloud computing is virtualization, in which numerous virtual servers reside on a single physical server. This technology dramatically cuts down the occupied space and utilized energy of computing resources, while at the same time offering greatly increased computing power.

Some technology never changes however, and while virtualization is a fantastic new breakthrough, the basic hardware is saving files the way it always has. A single drive or set of drives is supporting a number of virtual machines -- and data from all of those machines is saved on the drive or set of drives. File fragmentation, which drastically slows down performance on any drive, has an even more profound effect in virtual server environments.

A virtual machine has its own I/O request which is relayed to the host system. This means that multiple I/O requests are occurring for each file request -- at least one request for the guest system, another for the host system. When files are split into hundreds or thousands of fragments (a common scenario) there are multiple I/O requests for each fragment of every file. This scenario is then multiplied by the number of virtual machines resident on any host server, then again multiplied by the number of servers. Performance is drastically slowed -- and can even be stopped -- for an entire computing cloud.

The correct defrag technology is the only guarantee of smooth operation of virtual machines. Such technology ensures that files stored at the hardware layer are consistently and automatically defragmented. This method uses only idle resources to defragment, which means that users are never negatively affected by the defrag process, and scheduling is never required. Performance and reliability of the hardware layer, and thus virtual machines, are constantly maximized.

Don't let fragmentation stop the mainframe of the 21st century. Ensure you employ the right technology in keeping it running all the way to the clouds.

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