Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Overcoming Waste with Proper Optimization

In today’s business environment, “waste” is a particularly derogatory term. It can apply to money, material, use of personnel, and even production motion. Many innovations, such as lean manufacturing, exist to cut down on and prevent waste, and companies themselves often evolve programs that curb waste in just about every business process.

In the particular area of computing, there are categories of waste that can go unnoticed. For example, IT staff—the hours of whom do not come cheap—can be spent in chasing up problems that never seem to get solved. Backup and other processes running inefficiently waste both staff and system time. Hardware becomes worn out, and is replaced before its time, which is a material waste.

A closer look reveals that it is the lack of proper optimization that causes much of this waste. It all begins with wasted I/O traffic; a much higher-than-needed number of I/Os are being spent retrieving files that are in a state of fragmentation, or a non-optimized state. Fragmentation means that a file exists in thousands or even tens of thousands of fragments—a natural state of affairs unless a solution is in place to prevent it.

If fragmentation is not prevented, and files are not optimized, there is a myriad of symptoms that can result, such as dramatically slow performance, process freezes, system hangs, and even disk crashes. IT personnel can spend countless valuable hours chasing up these symptoms—but unless the actual root of the problem is located and addressed, these hours are wasted as the problems won’t actually be solved.

This issue also causes backups and other processes that do not complete in a timely manner. This results in waste of user time—waiting for data or results—and a waste of system time as these processes take far longer than they should.

Fragmentation also takes a serious toll on hardware and energy expenditures. Because so much extra I/O activity is required, hardware life can be cut by 50 percent or more.

Previously, defragmentation was the only method of dealing with such issues. Due to today’s complex technological innovations, however, along with enormous volume and file sizes and highly increased rates of fragmentation, simple defragmentation is no longer enough.

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.

Such technology means just one very significant benefit for an enterprise: eliminating the waste.

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