Scott offered some introductory information on disk drives and the headaches of fragmentation. Here’s some advice on how to keep your disks running efficiently and effectively.
There are many tools available for dealing with fragmentation; some are even included with many typical operating systems used today such as Windows, which has an application built right in called Disk Defragmenter. Such tools can analyze the disks or RAID volumes to determine just how scattered the data is, where the blank blocks or sectors are, and then will proceed to reorganize the data so that it’s in sequential order beginning with the inner most blocks, moving the blank sectors to the outer ends of the disks where they belong.
Many of these defragmentation tools will allow users to schedule defrags so they are done when the system is not in use. In many cases, defrags should be performed on a daily basis, depending on how much data or content is removed and written in relationship to how full the disks are. The fuller the disks, the more frequently a system may need to be defragged. By defragmenting, your system could find renewed performance.
Another tool that can have a big impact on performance, especially write performance on a system, is virus software. Most of us have had, at one time or another, the misfortune of dealing with a virus and have been forced to be prepared for future scares. What we do not realize is that the very software we rely heavily on to combat these threats can severely impact our business productivity, especially in write performance-sensitive applications such as uncompressed video capture as well as professional audio software.
This happens because the virus software wants to scan each file as it enters the system as well as when the file is opened, and that process is time consuming. Even a millisecond can cause a drop frame or a write delay. Either can require a user to start over only to have it happen again. Not only can this be frustrating and costly, but also confusing. Not being aware of the issue could cause a software problem to look like a hardware problem. Of course, the solution can be as simple as disabling the software during the use of performance-sensitive applications.
As the industry continues to change, so too will the issues and demands facing disk management. In response, more and more solutions will become available for overcoming such issues. Having the knowledge and appropriate resources in place before encountering any obstacles can protect your day-to-day operations and essentially ensure streamlined content management and productivity.
Scott Leif is President and CTO of Globalstor Data Corp., a leading storage technology provider for the professional audio and video, post-production, government, medical, education, and military industries. He is responsible for designing high-performance storage servers and storage area networks widely recognized among film and video, post-production, and audio professionals.