SOURCE: Boyers Marketing

November 19, 2007 15:25 ET

Yes, Larger, Faster Disks Do Need Defragmenting

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 19, 2007) - When larger, faster volumes began coming out a few years ago, part of the value proposition forwarded at the time was that because of their speed and capacity they would not require defragmenting. This was due in equal parts to their capacity, speed and on-board caching.

Several years down the road, real-world experience has taught us otherwise. Quite the contrary, as many sites have discovered, defragmentation is needed more than ever. Why?

First, such a broad, sweeping generality should always be suspect. Years ago (for a seasonal example outside of computing) when microwave ovens first came on the market, there were claims that a full-size turkey could be cooked in an hour and conventional ovens would never be needed again. If you've ever made the mistake of trying to microwave a turkey, you know how laughably wrong this particular bit of promotion was.

Second, a lesson that should have been applied from physics, was not: an empty space is a vacuum. If there is space to fill up, it will become full. This has certainly proven true with large-capacity drives, especially with today's much larger file sizes -- video, sound and multi-media among them.

Third -- and it's hard to believe this was not taken into account -- server disks will not only fill up quickly no matter the size, but access to them is constant. Those two factors, plus the vital necessity of fast access to support business, make defragmentation of such volumes a must.

As we've seen these larger, faster volumes become full, we've not only seen them fragment files beyond previous measure, but another horror has reared its ugly head: many defragmenters cannot handle the fragmentation rates on such drives.

The standard approach to such drives has been the same as it was for their smaller brethren -- scheduled defragmentation. Many have discovered that not only does fragmentation continue to build between scheduled runs, but that the defragmentation engines -- the core of any defragmentation solution -- could not impact the sheer volume of fragmented files.

These drives, as one might guess, require a more modern approach. First, a defragmentation engine must be hearty enough for the job; today, there are defragmenters which offer specialized solutions for large-capacity drives. Second, scheduled defragmentation, which leaves fragmentation behind between runs, is outdated; transparent, automatic defragmentation which runs whenever unused resources are available is the order of the day.

So not only is defragmentation of larger, faster drives necessary, the selection of defragmentation technology must be carefully made.

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