Probably billions of words have been written on the subject of “reactive versus proactive” in many areas. These include money management, company management, marketing, and just about every important endeavor under the sun. If you can see changes coming on the stock market, you can act accordingly to make a profit no matter what. If you can predict problems within your company, you can head off potential production crunches or work slowdowns before they occur. Even on a personal level, if you can set aside money on a regular basis, you can cushion yourself and your family against emergencies.
In the IT area, the topic of “proactive versus reactive” can be a pretty hot one, simply because of the number of “fires” that seem to present themselves on a regular basis. When the help desk phone is ringing off the hook, getting ahead of the curve can seem nearly impossible.
Interestingly, file fragmentation has been around nearly as long as computing, and it’s only recently that a truly proactive approach to it has been developed. Defragmentation has been utilized for many years as the “proactive” approach—and when that’s all there is, it’s the best anyone can do. The technology has become very advanced, and in fact can now be done completely automatically, so it can’t be said that defrag is a totally “reactive” approach.
But a truly proactive approach to fragmentation would be its prevention before it happens. That would save the I/O resources required to defragment files after they have already been fragmented, and set up the disk to be read smoothly right from the beginning.
One could wonder why the major operating system developers, especially after the considerable years that have passed, have not built OSs in a way that they would not fragment files. It’s a worthy question—but you have to realize that one of an operating system’s prime functions is the efficient utilization of disk space. In that regard, fragmentation can be seen to be a “bug not a feature” and not something to be totally eliminated.
It has finally happened, though, that a fragmentation prevention utility has been evolved and is now on the market. The challenge before developers was to prevent fragmentation in such a way that it did not impact resources in any way—and this considerable challenge has been met. The majority of fragmentation can now be prevented before it happens, completely automatically, For the first time, fragmentation can be made virtually a thing of the past for enterprises everywhere.
Now, we can truly say we have a “proactive” approach to fragmentation.