The word “efficient” is defined as, “Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.” It could also be defined as, “The extent to which time or effort is well used for the intended task or purpose.”
The word certainly can be, and usually is, applied to a business process. The objective of any business process is to get the highest quality work done in the least amount of time, with a minimum of effort. Similarly, "efficiency" also applies to mechanics, and has going back hundreds of years. It means getting the most mechanical production for the least amount of energy output. Efficiency in business processes, mechanics and energy also has a keen impact on economics.
A computer system is unique in the regard that it directly impacts all these elements: business processes, mechanics, energy and therefore economics. Hence a computer system must be as efficient as possible in every aspect of its operation.
Many innovations have contributed to the highest-ever efficiency we see in systems today. Components use the least amount of power to render maximum processing and storage. Form factors have become increasing small so as not to over-utilize another aspect of efficiency: space. Probably the most interesting of these innovations is the virtual machine, which relies only on the power of its host and takes up no physical space at all.
One aspect of computer system efficiency that is still sometimes overlooked, however, is the use of I/O resources. Inefficient use of these impacts all other computer resources: drive space, hardware life, processing and backup speed, and—worst of all—performance.
A primary cause of I/O resource inefficiency is file fragmentation. A natural function of a file system, fragmentation means the splitting of files into pieces (fragments) in order to better utilize drive space. It is not uncommon for a file to be split into thousands or tens of thousands of fragments. It is the fact that each and every one of those fragments must be obtained whenever that file is accessed that wreaks such havoc on performance and resources.
For many years, defragmentation was the only method of addressing fragmentation. But because of today’s complex technical innovations, efficiency now comes in the form of optimization technology, which both maximizes performance and eliminates wasted disk I/O activity. The majority of fragmentation is now prevented, while file optimization and other innovations are combined to complete the solution.
This solution puts the final touch on—and completely maximizes—computer system efficiency.