SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

December 01, 2010 17:16 ET

Don't Put Advanced Technologies on an Unstable System

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - December 1, 2010) - There are plenty of advances with which to improve a system today. Virtual machines make it possible to launch multiple servers from a single hardware platform. SAN enables the moving of storage off production machines, increasing data processing speeds and storage retrieval times as well. Cloud technologies make it possible to use resources on an "as-needed" basis, allowing priority processes the resources they need to truly service the company.

Before implementing such innovations, however, it is wise to inspect a system for stability. Does performance have a tendency to be sluggish? Do hard drives seem to be failing before their expected time? Are there unexpected crashes? Is the IT department inundated with help desk calls about stability issues, that they need to then spend valuable time chasing up? Are there reoccurring instances of file corruption and data loss?

If any of the above are true, then the system is suffering the effects of file fragmentation. Because fragmentation necessitates many extra I/Os for the retrieval of a file, it takes a heavy toll on resources -- and impacts productivity company-wide.

Putting technological advance onto such a system will not make that system better. In fact, each and every one of these innovations will suffer in its own way from fragmentation -- simply making the situation far more complex. For example, in virtual machines there are a minimum of two I/O requests, one for the guest and one for the host system; fragmentation has a profound effect on their operations. Fragmentation robs SAN of its main benefit -- speed -- and creates wasted disk space besides. The potential benefits from cloud computing are negated if data transfer rates are slowed to a crawl.

It is a vital necessity to implement a robust fragmentation solution along with such technologies, giving them a stable platform from which to operate. This means a solution that consistently addresses fragmentation so that it is never even an issue. In today's computing world, manual operation and scheduling aren't truly even possible -- which means that such a solution must be fully automatic, operating invisibly in the background. There is even a solution now available that prevents a majority of file fragmentation before it even occurs.

Until fragmentation is fully addressed, adding advanced technologies to an unstable system is a waste of both financial and computing resources. It is well worthwhile to take the relatively small extra measure to make sure fragmentation will have no impact at all.

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