Today we officially switch over the PerfectDisk blog to a new platform which has more capabilities and flexibility. For those of you who subscribe, you should continue to receive automatic updates. If for some reason you do not, I ask you to please subscribe from the new site. For those of you on Typepad, a reminder that the URL for the blog is www.perfectdiskblog.com.
Thanks for your continued reading, and keep the comments coming!
PerfectDisk 10 Exchange now includes our exclusive, patent-pending Virtual Aware technology, extending our virtualization leadership in the defrag market. The feedback and response we've received on our defrag virtualization technology since the launch of PerfectDisk 10 earlier this year has been tremendous and our users have been asking for more.
I'm glad to report that more is coming, starting with PerfectDisk 10 Exchange. But it's not the last; more announcements on our work in the virtualization space are coming soon. PerfectDisk 10 Exchange is already the only automatic disk defragmenter with automated defragmentation and compaction of Exchange data stores together with patented drive optimization. We're excited to add this piece.
Virtualization defrag leadership is here with PerfectDisk. And now, add virtualization defrag for Exchange environments.
Writing in the Information Week Analytics Blog, Art Whittmann writes this week about a panel discussion on the future of the data center at this week's Interop show in Las Vegas. The panel consisted of leaders from Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Riverbed, and Art points out that they all agreed on an overlying message -- now is the time to be consolidating servers, networking, storage and even data centers. With the result "a highly responsive environment that takes far fewer resources to manage."
Art then gets into the management aspect of the virtualized data center, and asks if the right vendors ("the usual suspects") are the right ones to handle this new virtualized world. Of course, at Raxco we're often pointing out that one aspect of management that sometimes gets overlooked is defragmentation. And virtualization defragmentation is just as important as physical defrag. Actually, for businesses placing more and more emphasis on virtual solutions such as ESX and Hyper-V, it could be argued that it is even more important than ever. Which is why we have virtual aware defrag solutions with PerfectDisk. The old school defraggers won't cut it in this new world.
Consolidate. Go virtual. And keep on defragmenting to get performance right.
Reasonable people can have reasonable disagreements, and often do. Politics, music, travel, to name a few. And of course, our favorite - defragmentation. And while we naturally feel PerfectDisk gives you the best defrag, what often makes the decision to use PerfectDisk a no brainer is the large amount of functionality beyond disk defragmentation and free space consolidation - PerfectDisk's Space Management component.
From freeing up space consumed by unnecessary files to finding and removing duplicate files to seeing a full view of a drive, many users find these tools invaluable. And the fact that they come included with a top-line defragger is all the better.
Leslie Alder of Austin, Texas writes that she was leaning towards PerfectDisk because she was impressed with the free space consolidation "that other tools I looked at did not address very well. But then I came across the Space Management piece of PerfectDisk and I was sold. I do a lot of video editing and I love being able to clean up my drive. After the cleanup and a defrag, my laptop and desktop run like new."
Keeping on top of all the updates, new versions, and happenings with Windows products, operating systems, drivers and the like is a challenge for everyone. In our labs here, it can be quite a learning experience just to walk through the many stations to see various combinations of software and hardware interaction. I use a combination of our internal R&D labs, official Microsoft and vendor sites, and a wide range of forums and blog sites to try to keep on top of all that's going on.
As we make final preparations for our next PerfectDisk 10 build, I was reviewing the improvements we are making to the PerfectDisk 10 for Windows Home Server installation procedure. I got to thinking that there are some really useful sites for WHS users that are packed with information and even give away WHS-related products from time to time.
For any WHS users, if you aren't already aware of the resources out there, I thought I would list a few:
If you're setting up a Windows Home Server environment, thinking about it, or have one already and just want to keep on top of the latest developments, I've found these to be some great resources. I'm sure there are other favorites; these are just some I've found particularly useful. As always, remember to defrag your WHS environment!
Database and SQL administrators deal with structured data -- defined and preset tables and the like that follow definite patterns and rules. But a lot - or most - of the data that "regular" users are creating and modifying is unstructured. For example, regular text documents, images, and videos and music files don't have a set format. This unstructured data is typically stored outside of the structured database, resulting in extra complexity for the data management. If the data is associated with structured storage, file streaming and performance can take a hit.
FILESTREAM is a new data type available with SQL Server 2008 which allows data to be stored outside of the SQL server data tables and then be handled by NTFS. FILESTREAM integrates the SQL Server Database Engine with an NTFS file system by storing varbinary(max) binary large object (BLOB) data as files on the file system. Transact-SQL statements can insert, update, query, search, and back up FILESTREAM data. FILESTREAM uses the NT system cache for caching file data, helping to reduce any effect that FILESTREAM data might have on database engine performance. The SQL Server buffer pool is not used, leaving this memory available for query processing.
The Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN), of which the PerfectDisk development team is a long-standing member, lists 6 "Best Practices" for FILESTREAM Physical Configuration and Maintenance. Number 2 on the list? "Regularly defragment FILESTREAM computer systems." Another instance where automation -- whether background processing or via an automated schedule -- and defragmentation come together to improve system performance.
If there's one thing worse than the ol' "bait and switch," it's a "bait and cover-up." Or put another way, the devil is in the details.
So from "the other guys" we get the following:
"at the root of virtual machine performance problems is file fragmentation." Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Do we think that fragmentation is the cause of many performance problems? Of course. But we're not going to sit here and tell you there are no other performance considerations in a virtual environment, just as we wouldn't say that for physical environments.
"the only real solution to optimizing virtual machine performance and reliability is a fully automatic defragmenter, one that is constantly taking care of the fragmentation problem." Well. Besides the caveat from above, I would alter it to the following: "the only viable defragmentation solution to optimizing virtual machine performance and reliability is a fully automatic defragmenter that is virtually aware. Without virtual awareness, your defragmenter will very likely do more harm than good."
Here's the deal. As Erwin Solis clearly demonstrated in our recent Webinar on defragmentation in a virtualization environment (ESX, Hyper-V, etc.), automatic defragmentation without virtual awareness is a road to performance problems. Solutions like VMware's vMotion address resource contention at the virtualized machine level. PerfectDisk 10 Server Virtual Edition addresses it at the virtualized software level. There are finite resources to go around. Treating a virtual machine like a physical machine in this environment, with the goal being to try to solve fragmentation and performance problems, is going down the wrong path.
With the PerfectDisk solution, you not only eliminate resource contention, but increase the resources available for your busy virtual machines. Without that awareness, the idle machines are basically stealing resources needed by busy guests, defeating the purpose of what you were trying to accomplish and very likely causing new performance problems. Not smart.
In Erwin's example, he shows a fairly loaded hypervisor with a couple of servers -- one busy and one not. The results without virtual awareness? Not pretty. Or as Erwin puts it, "it's like a man trapped inside a room with no doors; the room looks large, but he doesn't see the reality - he's trapped in his box."
To see and listen to the 30-minute webinar, Defragmentation in a Virtual Environment," go here.
Automatic defragmentation without virtualization is a fool's errand. Test yourself and see.
Get out of the box and see your whole world -- virtual and physical.
It's the third and final installment of our 3-part Webinar series -- Defragmentation in a Virtual Environment. You'll get to see our Virtual Aware defrag in action and see why it matters.You'll see why we say that without it, the potential for performance hits in a virtual environment are significant. If you're running VMware ESX, vMotion, Hyper-V, or any Windows-based host, you'll want to check out this 30-minute presentation. Exchange in a virtual environment is also covered, along with VMware Workstation and VMware Server. Senior technical engineer Erwin Solis presents, with our 5-time Microsoft MVP Greg Hayes handling the interactive questions and answers.
Tuesday, May 5th, 12:00 p.m. EDT, 9:00 a.m. PDT, dinner time in Europe, breakfast time in Australia. Register here.
Stephanie Diamond of Digital Media Works recently sat down with Raxco Software's president and CEO Bob Nolan. Bob touched on the market reaction to PerfectDisk 10, PerfectDisk's impact on consumers and businesses in the current economic environment, the challenges of defragmentation in a virtual environment, and more.
Lewis Allard, from Colorado Springs, is a 25-year old programmer for a major defense contractor. While at his job he gets programming performance boosts from PerfectDisk, I'm writing today about the performance improvements his systems get while playing video games. Lewis plays a wide variety of games, with World of Warcraft probably being his favorite.
WoW is big -- it takes up 15GB for the game and another 1.5GB for patches, which Lewis keeps on hand in case he needs to reinstall and repatch. As he says, "even by today's standards, it is a HUGE game." Another of Lewis' favorites, Fallout 3, takes up another 6GB. Lewis originally purchased PerfectDisk to increase his framerate in WoW's most populous areas, such as major cities and player versus player battlegrounds. Not only did PerfectDisk help improve his game's frames per second (FPS), it also improved the time it takes to load World of Warcraft (and other games). Lewis points out that "obviously some factors of loading into the game are out of control of the computer due to the games online connectivity, but the overall time was significantly lower than previous logins without PerfectDisk.
When Lewis moved to the Windows 7 Beta, he knew he would need the same firepower he had previously to keep on top of his games. He found that "on Windows 7, logged into WoW sitting in Dalaran (the game's most populous city), I could get roughly 20-45 FPS, depending on the time of day. Those aren't bad frames on a game that runs 11 million-plus people worldwide, but I felt I could do better with PerfectDisk." Sure enough, he got to 35-50 FPS in the same situations.
Just ask Lewis...if you're going to take on the world, you better have the best tools.
Writing at the Help Desk Geek web site, which covers "Computer Tips for IT Pros," systems analyst Aseem Kishore discusses the technical merits of defragmenting, while acknowledging the ongoing debate about its worthiness. Following his investigations and research, he summarizes that "PerfectDisk has made me a believer in defragmenting again and I think it will make a big difference if you are a heavy PC user. It's great for IT environments." You can read the entire post here.
The second live webinar of our 3-part series is tomorrow, Tuesday, at noon (9:00 a.m. PDT). This one is entitled Defragmentation in the Corporate Worldand goes into the PerfectDisk 10 client in detail. The webinar will be about 30 minutes in length.
You can register here, where you can also register for May 5th's webinar on Defragmentation in a Virtual Environment.
From time to time, I've saluted Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals), recognizing the invaluable service they provide to the Microsoft user community in numerous categories. Having an MVP on staff here has only deepened my appreciation for what they do. Of course, I have to admit it's nice to know and makes us proud that PerfectDisk is the preferred defragmenter of choice of MVPs around the world.
I love hearing their stories, which are relayed to us frequently. Keith Elder is a Microsoft MV and INETA speaker, and runs the popular, informative and entertaining Deep Fried Bytes technology podcast as well as his blog, Words of Wisdom from the Elder. Keith is a big fan of the PerfectDisk base product, but also has experienced huge benefits from PerfectDisk 10 for VMware.
Actually, his story starts out with the prior version, PerfectDisk 2008 for VMware. Keith had a virtual machine that would not boot. He kept receiving an error message and it appeared to him that the disk was somewhat corrupted. Keith says he "ran PerfectDisk on it and after it was done it fixed the problem, and I'm still developing in this VM right now. Had it not been for PerfectDisk's integration with VMware, I honestly don't know what I would have done next. Probably would have had to resort to recovering off site backups."
As the world commemorates Earth Day 2009 and the entire global community moves environmental discussions to the forefront, it's the perfect opportunity to look at the defragmentation issue from an environmental perspective. Industry reports abound about the tough time PC makers are going through now, with netbook sales doing well, but other PC shipments suffering along with the rest of the economy. As families and businesses do everything they can to squeeze dollars and resources wherever and however they can, a new computer is turning into one thing that gets delayed. And a good defrag helps extend computer life.
With fewer PCs being purchased, fewer are being discarded and recycled. But what about the computer you're running? With a single-pass defrag strategy that in essence "shrinks" the drive, PerfectDisk users save on the computing resources they use. This is in contrast to typical multi-pass defraggers that need to churn and churn away at the problem. You won't want to turn your PC off at night or any other time with a multi-pass defragmenter, because chances are good you won't have a completely defragged drive. And if you've got just one big, nasty fragmented file, PerfectDisk users can quickly and easily defragment that one file and then move on to their other business.
PerfectDisk is doing its part on the virtualization front as well. As businesses move heavily to the virtual server model, we're helping them get the most out of this setup. As businesses utilize fewer physical servers and look to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprints, PerfectDisk's exclusive Virtual Aware Defrag helps ensure they'll be as efficient as possible. And of course, the same single-pass strategy applies here as well, ensuring the most efficient use of resources.
Here at PerfectDisk headquarters, besides the "easy" things like using all recycled paper and more electronic software distribution over physical, we've reduced our energy consumption over 25%, despite an increase in heating degree days of 78.7%. More virtual machines, fewer physical machines, resulting in less energy consumed and a smaller footprint. Even as we've grown the business and added employees.
We're all aware of our impact on the environment more than ever now. Every little bit helps.
Another day, another 5-star award for PerfectDisk 10. The latest is from ITreviewed.
The ITreviewed states that PerfectDisk is faster, more effective, and offers a lot more features and flexibility than the Windows built-in defragger, and is the best of third-party offerings. The review indicates that PerfectDisk helps users “maintain the best possible hard drive performance,” whether they are novice users, power users, or “network gurus.” ITreviewed says that “using PerfectDisk is a joy and it’s always great fun to see how much space you can recover from your hard drive - PerfectDisk even shows the before and after performance of the drive, the type of files moved, and how frequently modified each file normally is. The software is easy to use, and there are plenty of settings and reporting for advanced users.
“Besides the effectiveness of PerfectDisk, those with older (slower) machines will appreciate the software’s low footprint and the way it allows you to get on with your tasks without dragging your machine to a crawl - it doesn’t overload the CPU and RAM like many utility programs sometimes do. This is an obvious advantage over the typical Windows 7/Vista/XP Defrag, which typically cuts performance horribly.” You can see the entire review here.
We know that there are always some things that you wish you could do with PerfectDisk, but they just are not built into the application, at least yet. That's why we have a few tips and tricks for you advanced users that can help you do a little more.
Things like turning off the PerfectDisk services or shutting down the operating system after PerfectDisk runs, or modifying the way the PerfectDisk 10 Enterprise Console links to an Active Directory OU.
"I love stuff that works." That's how Alex Webley's blog about business and personal life starts out in a recent post about PerfectDisk. Alex describes himself as a corporate and business coach, life coach and counselor. His "approach to business, as in life, is to seek out and implement best practice" in areas in which he loves, enjoys and excels in. His overriding philosophy? "Life is too short and valuable to do otherwise" and he wants to "help as many people as possible" before he leaves this world.
His is not a technology blog. But in the case of PerfectDisk, Alex has found a tool to help him in all his other pursuits, and feels it will help others in theirs. Alex writes that "because I use computers so much I need top quality applications that enable me to stay productive. Getting bogged down with computer maintenance or technical issues is not good. Running a computer defrag (defragmentation) regularly is a smart thing to do."
He writes that he has tried a number of computer disk defragmentation programs, including Windows own built-in method, over the years. But he's "found one program which met my exacting standards. That program is PerfectDisk which I have been using now since 2004. My research indicated that Perfect Disk is the best Defragger and use has proved it."
He goes on to state that he has spent "enough time on research to ensure that what I obtained was the best for our needs. PerfectDisk was the clear winner by a long way. We especially like the way the software does a high quality defrag while we are working - we therefore suffer no loss of productivity or valuable billable time. The time spent researching to get things right from the start paid off."
He ends his post telling his users to "benefit from the time and effort I spent in getting making the right choice."
On a global scale, we've all seen what the wrong choices can lead to around the world.
Now more than ever, making the right choice is critical. Stuff that works.