SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

September 23, 2009 17:47 ET

Preventative vs. Reactive Maintenance

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - September 23, 2009) - When something goes wrong, it always seems that there's somebody there saying, "You know, you could have prevented this by ____." Such a comment is usually quite annoying, and the instant response (often stifled) is usually a sarcastic comment such as, "Ya think??"

Interestingly, though, most of us will then return to "normal operation" after such an emergency, ignoring the advice we found so obvious. For example, a car engine starts grinding and the driver pulls into the mechanic's garage. The mechanic takes a look under the hood and says, "There's almost no oil in the engine, and what's there is really dirty. You should check it once in awhile, and change it every 3,000 miles." After paying what may be a hefty repair bill, the driver then goes on his way, muttering under his breath about the mechanic's preachy advice, just thankful that the car is running again. The mechanic's words are quickly forgotten -- until sometime later when the engine seizes up on the freeway.

Due to the sheer volume of work, plus staff and funding shortages, this kind of thing can happen all too often in the IT department. If you want to get yourself thrown out of a computer room on your ear, though, just try offering preventative advice after a team of system personnel have been up all night handling some crisis. And in many circumstances it's justified; there just isn't the funding or manpower to implement the suggested prevention.

There is one persistent problem, however, that could be prevented -- at least more easily than is done in some sites: file fragmentation. An issue with all computers, fragmentation takes a heavy toll on performance and hardware life. Yet some companies are still "making do" with either scheduled or manual defrag -- and continuing to experience the effects of fragmentation as a result. This is because, in between the defrag runs that can be accomplished, fragmentation is still occurring and still causing many problems.

In this case, a site can go a long way toward preventative maintenance by implementing a fully automatic defrag solution, one that works in the background to consistently address fragmentation. Due to the lack of need for scheduling or manual operation, countless IT hours are freed up. Because performance and reliability are always maximized, all the other issues associated with fragmentation -- such as help desk calls about slow access times and hard drives failing ahead of life expectancies -- are virtually eliminated. The cost to implement such a defrag solution is minimal when compared to that of IT overtime, lost productivity and hardware replacement that occurs as a result of fragmentation left unaddressed.

So in the case of fragmentation, system personnel can cut way down on reacting. True prevention would be the prevention of fragmentation in the first place -- and hopefully that will be along soon. But for now put in fully automatic defrag and breathe easier.

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