IT professionals responsible for server hardware well understand the value that professional grade disk defragmentation software brings to their servers. Storage servers can experience high levels of disk thrashing (the constant writing and rewriting of small amounts of data) caused from excessive file fragmentation.
Problems in delivering services to users however are difficult to directly trace to server fragmentation issues. Network and application issues have a much more visible impact on the performance of network-based services, especially when problems with those functions are encountered. But with the negative impact on ROI that network performance problems cause, IT pros would be ill-advised to overlook the advantages that assuring the optimization of the underlying hardware infrastructure can bring. Optimal disk performance translates into better ROI. Testing will bear this out.
We tested the impact of server disk defragmentation by looking at common tasks that network servers, both physical and virtual, encounter, ranging from maintenance tasks such as server backup and anti-virus scans, to basic knowledge worker tasks involving opening files stored on the host server and virtual machines, and manipulating email. We also looked at tasks that are more taxing on the server, such as database queries, index creation, and bulk updates. Each test was performed as the sole task on the server.
When considering the results of our testing keep in mind that a production environment will see significantly heavier server use, which results in much greater potential for ongoing disk fragmentation. In your production environment with dozens, if not hundreds, of users touching your server storage simultaneously, your disk fragmentation can become severe in a very short time. Preventing this fragmentation from affecting server performance is an ongoing process.
Continue reading to learn more about the impact of disk fragmentation on servers.