SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

November 10, 2010 17:35 ET

Fragmentation: Beware the Mysterious Symptoms

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - November 10, 2010) - Keeping a computer system up and running is no small matter. It usually involves a whole staff of personnel, committed more than full time to functionality of all applications, operational capacity of hardware, maintaining operating systems in their latest incarnations, and much more. From a user's viewpoint, it may seem easy; and if IT is doing its job, it should -- the user simply comes to work, logs on, performs his or her functions, and goes home.

Within the IT department, though, it's a wholly other view. The help desk phone is ringing off the hook with a full range of issues: lagging performance, PCs or notebooks that won't start up, applications that aren't functioning properly, forgotten logins, and much more. For IT staff, the job often becomes handling the fires as they flare up -- to the point they can't step back and assess what may be a single cause for many of their problems.

File fragmentation can certainly be like this. A help desk call comes in about database access being slow, another about an unexpected crash, and yet another about processes that keep hanging. On top of that, the backup failed last night. Various system staff go scrambling off to address each of these issues -- never thinking for a moment that fragmentation might be behind each and every one of them.

Fragmentation severely taxes a system, simply because the file system is trying to access files in thousands or tens of thousands of pieces, instead of one or just a few. The toll is taken on performance (slow access, hangs and crashes) as well as on hardware.

The fragmentation issue might also be overlooked because "a fragmentation solution is in place." This makes it even worse, because now the problem is considered solved, and for that reason is never taken into account. A closer look will reveal that the "solution" is not one at all. It could be that it needs to be scheduled -- something that is rarely possible with today's requirement of constant uptime. Or, it could be that it needs to be run manually. Again, this is almost impossible to do on today's systems. Or worst of all it could be that the solution just isn't adequate to the task of handling high rates of fragmentation -- which is a given with today's operating environments.

Today a solution must be fully automatic -- addressing fragmentation consistently in the background. It must also be "enterprise-worthy" and fully tackle the fragmentation generated at a site. The best solution now available actually prevents a majority of fragmentation before it occurs -- making fragmentation a thing of the past.

If these symptoms are occurring in your company, there is a better than decent chance that fragmentation is behind them. Research and pick a solution that will eliminate it forever.

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