SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

January 12, 2011 07:23 ET

How Important Is Preventing Fragmentation?

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - January 12, 2011) - The fact that fragmentation exists on each and every computer system has never been in question. Fragmentation has been around since the advent of modern computing, as a solution to utilization of disk space. When files and free space are broken up into pieces (fragments), more space on the drive can be utilized, as opposed to trying to fit whole files in single pieces. 

Drive capacities and file sizes have both grown tremendously since that time -- and fragmentation has remained with us the whole while. In fact, as drive capacities and file sizes have increased, fragmentation has also become far worse; instead of fragmenting into a few hundred or a thousand fragments, files routinely break into tens or even hundreds of thousands today.

Mechanically, the read/write head on a drive must move to seek out every fragment of every file. Just by the sheer physics of the matter, fragmentation is going to cause a myriad of problems, including slow performance and system reliability issues.

Given that fragmentation exists and impacts a system the way it does, there are three approaches one can take in addressing it: 1) Ignore it completely, 2) Address it periodically and 3) Implement a solution to consistently and permanently does away with it.

Ignoring fragmentation completely is an approach some take, usually because they don't completely understand the ramifications of doing so. They then end up having to chase up and address each and every performance and reliability problem that arises -- wasting endless hours that could be eliminated with a proper fragmentation solution. Usually just testing out a competent fragmentation solution will be a real eye-opener to such people -- suddenly performance increases 50 percent or more, as does system reliability. Sometimes it's a question of not being aware of the problem until really viewing the solution in place.

Others choose to manually run a defragmenter, or schedule it to run periodically. While this may be slightly better, it really isn't a solution to the problem. Many real-world trials have shown that the fragmentation that occurs in between these runs still creates a significant impact -- one that can be seen, again, when a fragmentation solution truly up to the job is tested.

Hopefully it won't take a thorough experience of 1 and 2 above to convince someone that 3 -- implementing a competent fragmentation solution -- is truly the way to go. Such a solution only requires the little time to install it, and from then forward fragmentation is eliminated as a problem. Performance and reliability are thereafter maximized.

The only way to know for sure is to experience the gains for yourself. Download a fully automatic solution and test it on your system. There is even a solution today that prevents a majority of fragmentation before it ever happens -- most likely the best solution available.

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