SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

May 25, 2011 15:10 ET

Fragmentation and Slow Anti-Virus Scans

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - Besides natural or man-made disasters, the highest threat to computer security is viruses. They can mean deletion of data, corruption of data, or -- probably the worst scenario -- the stealing of data by ill-intentioned pirates or criminals. Companies, then, will take every measure necessary to ensure that data is safe and secure. Such measures of course include anti-virus software, and the more robust, the better.

Anti-virus software can be set up to operate in one of two basic ways: either it can be configured to scan each file as it is read or written to a drive, or periodic scans of entire volumes can be regularly scheduled. Because of the way it operates, the trade-off for such advanced protection is reduced performance. If each file is checked as it is used, the anti-virus software positions itself between the system and the applications utilizing the data, adding another process into the mix. For scheduled scans, each file on every drive is read and checked in one run, and the process continues until all files have been checked.

Anti-virus solutions are thus natively taxing on performance. But an added factor -- fragmentation -- can mean that resource taxation is made far worse. Fragmentation is the splitting of files into pieces (fragments) originally intended to better utilize volume space. A file split into thousands or tens of thousands of fragments (not at all uncommon) can mean a greatly slowed down anti-virus solution, as the solution must then check every fragment of every file.

For many years, a defragmenter was the solution to such a problem. Periodically scheduled or set to operate automatically, it would defragment files -- meaning put the pieces back together -- as much as was possible given drive space and other factors. But because of the many innovations resident on today's systems -- thin provisioning, replication, snapshots, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and deduplication, to name but a few -- it takes more than a defragmenter to tackle the issue. An optimization solution, which addresses a broader scope of issues than fragmentation only, is required.

Such a solution tackles several aspects of file read and write I/Os in addition to fragmentation -- a majority of which is prevented before it even occurs. It includes intelligent ordering of files for faster access, and other advanced technologies designed to automatically maximize system performance and reliability.

An anti-virus solution is vital for any enterprise, for the safety and security of their data. But companies should also utilize a proper optimization solution so that the accompanying performance drain is negated as much as possible.

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