Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Preventing Fragmentation in The Cloud

With the trend in shrinking corporate form-factors and heavier reliance on the Internet, cloud computing seems to be the major trend of the future. Why spend the money on costly resources in terms of space and computer systems if they can simply be hosted by a third-party company—well off the premises—and only used and paid for as needed? The other added advantage is that they can be accessed from anywhere, over the web, which fosters yet another movement of the future: virtual offices.

Many new technologies are part and parcel of cloud computing, including virtual machines, SAN, NAS and other leading innovations. There are also now applications and systems dedicated solely to cloud computing itself.

But if a company is going to give a good portion (or all) of its computing needs over to a third party cloud provider, the one demand they are going to have above all others is response. When an employee goes looking for a record, it needs to appear quickly. When billing needs to occur, it needs to happen fast so the company gets paid. As inventory is updated, the database needs to reflect changes right away and be able to provide accurate and up-to-date information to anyone who needs it.

The one factor that drastically affects that performance—and can literally bring that cloud to the ground—is file fragmentation. Underneath all the technical advances that have resulted in cloud computing, data is still saved the way it always has been: on hard drives. File systems natively fragment files saved on hard drives, and that fragmentation results not only in slow performance, but in system hangs, shortened hard drive life and many other reliability problems as well.

A cloud must always be accessible—which means that there is never going to be time in which fragmentation can be addressed off-line. That means that any solution chosen will have to be one that consistently addresses fragmentation and keeps it completely at bay—fully automatically.

The best and most state-of-the-art technology available today actually prevents a majority of fragmentation from even occurring. This means that the cloud can continue to function at peak performance always—and that clients that have entrusted their computing resources to the cloud provider will always have fast and reliable access to their data.

The cloud is rapidly becoming the new computing paradigm for businesses of all sizes. Keeping that cloud aloft means eliminating file fragmentation as an issue.

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