SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

July 15, 2010 07:30 ET

Why Optimize Virtual Environments?

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - July 15, 2010) -  Virtual machines are an amazing development. 10 years ago, if you had told an IT director or other system personnel that someday they'd be able to hit a few keys and launch an entirely independent server -- utilizing the same hardware as their current server -- they would likely have winked and answered that they'd go ahead and purchase that bridge in Brooklyn you're selling, too. Then, if you informed them that they'd not only be able to launch that one but several more servers in the same way, they would probably then have just asked you to shut up and leave.

But now, they're here. They indeed run as entirely independent servers would, and can even utilize entirely different operating systems than their host server. Best of all, they can be easily and affordably implemented by most organizations.

It would make sense that virtual machine developers have done all they can to ensure that virtual machines perform well, and in most respects they have. Technology has made it possible for many such servers to share hardware and operate smoothly without conflict. But one basic aspect of computer operation still needs to be addressed before virtual environments can operate at maximum efficiency: file fragmentation.

File fragmentation is a basic problem on all hard disks, and since virtual servers still save and retrieve data from hard disks, fragmentation affects them as well. But a virtual environment is a bit more complex, hence fragmentation has more of a profound effect. When a file request occurs on a virtual server, the I/O request is relayed, at the least, from the guest system to the host system -- which means multiple requests are occurring for each file request. When a file is fragmented into hundreds or thousands of fragments, there are multiple I/O requests for each fragment. This operation creates an enormous amount of unnecessary overhead.

Additionally, virtual disks set to dynamically grow don't shrink when users or applications remove data. This bloats and wastes the space that could be allocated to other virtual systems.

The answer is optimization technology that completely negates the effects of fragmentation in virtual environments. Such technology allows a majority of files to be written in a non-fragmented state to begin with, so that fragmentation never gets a chance to impact performance and reliability. All optimization operations are performed invisibly, in the background, so that processes are never negatively affected. Because free space is also consolidated as part of the process, virtual disk "bloat" is eliminated.

The net result is not only greatly enhanced virtual machine performance, but greater capacity to create more virtual machines without adding hardware.

When implementing virtual environments, ensure they are also optimized so that they operate fully as intended.

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