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Condusiv Releases Diskeeper 15 SAN Defragmentation Software

By - Source: Condusiv

Condusiv Technology has sold over 45 million software licenses, but it's best known for its defragmentation products geared for DAS storage. Condusiv's Diskeeper 15 extends the benefits of defragmentation out to the SAN with the novel technique of reducing fragmentation before the data leaves the server.

Diskeeper 15 is not compatible with virtualized environments, and it only works with physical servers connected to SAN storage appliances. Condusiv predicted that over 2 million servers can benefit from its software, even without support for the broader virtualized market.

Conventional wisdom holds that administrators should never defragment a SAN, because the appliance manages the blocks at the physical layer and automatically handles any defragmentation internally. That wisdom still holds true. However, Diskeeper adds another layer of efficiency by intercepting data at the logical layer and defragmenting it before sending it to the SAN.

Diskeeper installs on the host server and injects a new level of intelligence into the Windows filesystem. Condusiv explained that when Windows creates a file, it allocates storage addresses in chunks. Windows has no predefined notion of the intended file size; it merely continues to dole out chunks of space as it creates the file. The net effect is that files are broken into multiple chunks at the file layer. The fragmented file layer requires multiple I/O operations to process a single file at both the server and SAN. This leads to increased I/O overhead for the storage subsystem.

Diskeeper works by informing the filesystem of the projected file size before creation. This intelligence allows the operating system to create the file as one long contiguous block instead of multiple smaller blocks. In effect, one file that consisted of many chunks becomes one long, and easy to manage, block of data. This reduces the number of I/O operations, which speeds up overall performance. This technique can also reduce the number of operations that travel over the network, thus easing network contention.

Condusiv designed Diskeeper to minimize host overhead. Every I/O requires some CPU overhead to process, and reducing the overall quantity of I/O handled by the system will likely serve to alleviate host burden, as well. The net effect is a performance boost for the server, SAN and associated networking. The performance increase varies depending upon workload.

According to Steve Taylor, CTO at Plan B Technologies in Bowie MD, "Considering that fragmentation dampens the performance of mission-critical applications by 25 percent or more, Diskeeper 15 Server's list price of $399.95 per server makes it a 'no-brainer' for our customer base. If storage administrators want to keep their SAN storage systems running like new, they need to work with their in-house Windows server administrator to deploy Diskeeper 15 Server across the physical server environment to prevent fragmentation from occurring at the logical disk layer. This provides benefits at both the compute and storage layers since less overhead is required to process any given file."

The benefits of fragmentation are media-agnostic, meaning it can also boost the performance of hybrid or all-flash arrays. Diskeeper 15 is available now for $399.95 per server.