Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eliminating Waste of Computer Resources

Up until fairly recently, we have been a wasteful society. Cutting down forests, piling trash into landfills, burning as much energy as we could possibly consume—these have been the indexes of our lifestyles. It is only in the last few years that we as a culture have begun to realize that eventually such waste comes back to haunt us in the worst ways imaginable, and how vital conservation of resources is to our survival.

Computer resource management has paralleled the trend in waste. A relatively short time ago, “more power” was the mantra of computing—with no regard whatsoever to the burning of energy. As hardware prices dropped, hardware resources could be added and wasted without a thought, just as long as the system was kept up and running as efficiently as possible.

Today, most of us have realized the errors of our ways. Form factors have shrunk to be able to accommodate data and processes that used to require ten times as many resources. Technology has now evolved so that servers can be launched without any extra hardware whatsoever. Computers have become far more energy efficient so that the same or even more work can be accomplished using less.

One area of waste in computer resource management still being addressed is the waste of I/O resources. This particular type of waste has significant ramifications including waste of drive space, wasted hardware purchases, waste of hardware in general, and even waste of manpower.

Such waste comes about when files are left in a fragmented state and not properly optimized. Fragmentation is the splitting (fragmenting) of files into thousands or tens of thousands of pieces, in order to better utilize drive space. Many extra I/O requests are required to read—and to write—files that exist in such a state. Additionally, processes take far longer, users have to wait, and performance generally suffers.

While defragmentation for a long time was the only method of dealing with these problems, today’s complex technological innovations, along with enormous volume and file sizes and highly increased rates of fragmentation, make simple defragmentation outmoded.  Optimization technology now exists to maximize performance while eliminating wasted disk I/O activity. A majority of fragmentation can now be prevented, making it a non-issue, and file optimization and other solutions are combined to make a total solution.

With this technology utilized in all enterprises, the waste of I/O resources is eliminated altogether. It is one major step in our overall conservation of computer resources.

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