Defragmentation: Significant ROI for the Enterprise

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Simply type in "ROI" along with "software" or "computer" into a search engine today, and one sees that, for corporations, ROI is still the prime factor in deciding on any software or automation solution. It of course can be a complex determination, but CFOs and CIOs must be able to clearly see that the returns of a solution in terms of time and finance outweigh the costs of purchase, implementation, and maintenance. Software vendors constantly promote the ROI of their products almost as boilerplate text--but the actual analysis lies with the enterprise itself, and whether or not that solution will fit the bill.

    Although sometimes unappreciated in terms of its effects, disk file fragmentation takes a considerable toll in any company. Files split into multiple fragments (and hundreds or thousands of fragments are not at all uncommon with today's operating systems and applications) slow system performance and access considerably, affecting each and every employee and executive's production. Fragmentation also takes a severe toll on hardware, specifically disks, so hardware upgrades become necessary sooner than needed. Extra IT staff time is also taken up in solving problems caused by fragmentation.

Many IT departments and executives have known at least some of these facts for years, and have implemented various solutions. The most common today is scheduled defragmentation, so that disks can be defragmented during downtime or at the least when access is at its highest ebb. Because the defragmenters can be scheduled, ROI is potentially seen in IT personnel time gained back, hardware maintenance improved, and increased personnel production across the enterprise.

But a new analysis may be in order. With the advent of virtual computing and other cutting-edge technologies, combined with unheard-of disk capacities and file sizes, fragmentation has reached entirely new levels. A company can test for themselves and see that, especially on busy server volumes, scheduled defragmentation is actually leaving fragmentation behind after defragmentation runs and in some cases isn't even defragmenting the volume. This of course lowers the ROI, slowing performance, impacting employee production, and involving extra personnel time to solve problems that are most likely unseen by CIOs--solutions are supposed to be in place for them.

In today's enterprise, the defragmentation solution which will bring true ROI is one which is completely automatic, running constantly and invisibly in the background, with no impact on system resources. Productivity is maximized while IT personnel can attend the many more important matters before them.

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Amanda Gilmore
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