SOURCE: Diskeeper Corporation

February 25, 2009 12:06 ET

Truly Automatic Defrag Is Vital for Virtualization

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - February 25, 2009) - If someone wanted to make a real fortune, they would invent a device that would address the number one maintenance task of driving a car so that it would never have to be done. That task, of course, would be refueling. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to drive endlessly down the road and never run out of gas? Performance would be constant and unhampered except for other far less frequent maintenance tasks.

Over the years, as the lonely system administrator worked overtime into the night to get hard drives defragmented, he or she surely had similar thoughts: what if there were a utility that would just take care of fragmentation no matter what, without requiring time-consuming scheduling or -- worse -- manual operation?

In additional to the scheduling and running problems, there are others. Today's systems fragment files at higher rates than those of yesteryear. In between manual or scheduled runs, fragmentation is continuing to build and impact system performance and reliability unseen.

When it comes to virtualization, this is even more of an issue. The key to understanding fragmentation's impact on virtualization lies within the word "virtual" itself. For storage, virtual machines are making use of hard drive partitions which appear as entire drives dedicated to the virtual machines. But underneath the "virtual" layer, the hardware is storing files the way it always has, utilizing an entire disk and fragmenting files from all partitions across the whole disk.

Virtual machines have their own I/O requests which are passed along to the host system. Hence, multiple I/O requests are occurring for each file request -- minimally, one request for the guest system, then another for the host system. But in a common fragmentation scenario, especially with virtual servers creating high amounts of disk activity, files will be fragmented into tens, hundreds or even thousands of fragments. Imagine the frantic activity with multiple I/Os for each fragment of each and every file requested.

With virtualization, regular defragmentation is vital -- but so is the fragmentation technology utilized. Scheduled defragmentation cannot possibly keep up with the fragmentation rates of virtualization. The best possible solution is the fully automatic defrag provided by Diskeeper® defragmentation.

"Our biggest performance increase from Diskeeper was of course seen on our fileservers, including a NAS that stores about 15 virtual servers," said Daniel Wagner of Zebra Network Security. "If you are going to be running any virtualization on a NAS or direct storage, Diskeeper is a must. The large disk files that virtualization uses are very difficult to defrag while keeping good response time for the virtual machine. Diskeeper prevents them from getting fragmented in the first place."

The moral: anyone implementing virtualization should also utilize Diskeeper. Diskeeper will keep up and allow virtualization to deliver its intended performance gain and resource savings.

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