There are many free utilities and applications out there, and if what you are doing is meant to be insignificant or small, they’re probably adequate. For example, there are a few free music recording apps available that will allow to you record multiple instruments and vocals to your computer, and then mix the results into a song. But if the resulting track is to be used for professional purposes, you’ll find it sorely lacking; you need Logic Pro, Pro-Tools or the like to even come close to competing in the major markets.
There are numerous free accounting programs—probably fine for keeping track of bake sale income or the like. But used in a company or corporation to track income, accounts payable, expenditures, profit and loss? Hardly. The same could be said for databases; a free one available for download won’t hold a candle to an Oracle or SQL when it comes to business use, and no IT professional would even consider it.
On the utilities side, there are free defragmenters. Unlike the examples given above, these may not even be worth it for the home user, simply due to the nature and quantity of today’s fragmentation. But that argument aside, it is an obvious truth, upon examination, that these freebies are definitely not meant for business or corporate use.
Fragmentation is the splitting of files into pieces (fragments) on a hard drive, to better utilize disk space. A defragmenter is meant to solve this problem by “re-assembling” these files back into a whole, or a nearly whole state. In the corporate environment, the levels of fragmentation are far beyond the capabilities of a free defragmenter to accomplish this task.
A free defragmentation utility must also be scheduled; it has been discovered by anyone having to actually try this that scheduling is practically impossible in today’s enterprises simply because systems are constantly up and running.
But the primary problem with a free defragmenter is that, today, it takes more than defragmentation to truly tackle the resource loss associated with I/O reads and writes. Multi-faceted optimization is, by far, the best approach.
Technology is now available that, instead of defragmenting, actually prevents a majority of fragmentation before it ever occurs. This same technology also orders files for faster access, and performs a number of other vital actions that greatly increase performance, and maximize reliability. All of these functions occur completely automatically, with no scheduling or other operator interference required.
Free software is definitely not meant for the big time. This is doubly true in addressing fragmentation.