But we also believe in doing things the right way, and whether it's vacation clubs or disk defragmenters, we know that is not always the way it is. Play fair. Win some and lose some. Get better, try harder, fight fairly and honestly. We don't always agree with Donn, and he doesn't always agree with us. But one thing we know...he's fair.
As the holiday season for many of us is in full swing, and as the tumultuous 2008 closes out and we look forward to the new year, I wanted to say thanks to our ever-growing family of PerfectDisk users for your support and the trust you have placed in us here at Raxco. We do not take your trust, or the business you give us, lightly.
From the entire PerfectDisk family, we wish you all the best wishes of the season and a great 2009.
Here in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, there is almost nonstop talk and planning for January 20, 2009, when an unprecedented number of people -- perhaps as many as 4 million -- converge on the city and suburbs for the inauguration of Barack Obama.
On a busy spring day, when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom, as many as 4,000 tour buses crowd the city and test its ability to deal with the masses. And of course, also reaping the economic benefits of thousands of visitors.
January 20th? They're calling for as many as 10,000 buses along with those 4 million spectators. People in neighboring Virgina and Maryland who plan to work that day? They're being encouraged to walk to work, as the roads and subway systems will likely be at a standstill. And that's if it doesn't snow...
That's one big event in Washington that the world will be turning its eyes to in January. There's another event also holding high anticipation, and while there won't be 4 million people physically in DC for this other event, virtually the numbers will be high from every corner of the globe.
Why? Here's what some are saying:
"faster, better graphics"
"...you heard and responded"
"a big step up"
"easier to use"
"much better than the last version"
"love the new interface, colors used and layout"
"seems better put together and better thought out"
"looks more professional"
"I can trust it"
"the best defragger in existence"
Join the throngs in Washington, DC in 2009 -- in person or from your computer.
"Always-on," background processing defragmentation is great in theory. And in some cases, it's great in practice. For users that have periods of activity on their PCs and laptops along with times when their computer is not in use, it can make a lot of sense. The same can be said for servers. Although, when you get to heavy-use, 24x7, mission-critical, non-stop use servers, finding any meaningful idle time - or any idle time at all - can be a fruitless venture. That's why PerfectDisk provides the flexibility to schedule the defrag of drives when background scheduling is not an option. And there are plenty of times when it is not an option.
But you know that.
You also know that background defragmentation does take some resources. It's doing something. So that takes some of your computer's resources. But even when "automatic," background processing makes sense, it doesn't make sense to keep using these "idle" resources when there's nothing to really accomplish. After all the leaves in your yard are raked, you don't keep raking do you? Well, you might if you weren't disposing the leaves but just raking them back and forth all over your yard...
What if your defragmentation software was smart enough to just stop background defragmentation when a drive was completely defragmented and free space consolidated. Of course, that would only be achieved if there was an optimization strategy in the first place, so there was the largest piece of contiguous free space possible.
Work done. Take a rest. No more resources used, invisible or not. Yard raked, nothing but green grass. Sit back and have that beer or lemonade.
Sometimes invisible is good. Sometimes it's better to be smarter.
You can take your pick about which year is really the "year of virtualization." As I've noted before, many have touted 2008 as that year. Others are saying that as big as 2008 was for virtualization, 2009 will be even bigger. Suffice it to say, virtualization is hot, not just as a buzzword, but in reality. Pick a poll, pick a survey, and you'll find the numbers all point to the majority of real businesses, real government, and real public and non-profit organizations with either virtualization fully implemented, partially implemented, or plans for virtualization under way. It's more than hype.
In a recent post in the widely-read DCIG blog, which evaluates products and services in the storage and electronically stored information (ESI) markets. Jerome Wendt writes that "2009 is shaping up as the year of server virtualization" and that "the hype is giving way to the reality of companies actually virtualizing their production servers as a means to improve energy efficiencies and slash infrastructure costs." Jerome also states that this move "is creating challenges, especially for Windows servers using utilities such as defragmenters that will begin to operate on virtual machines (VMs) and defragment each VM's associated file system." Jerome notes that there are larger defragmenting challenges "in virtualized server environments due to the performance impact on the host and guest machines and because most applications and operating systems are still not aware that they are virtualized and, as such, do not and cannot communicate with the underlying hypervisor. This becomes a problem when defragmenting the file systems associated with specific VMs, since the defragmentation utility assumes that it is defragmenting a file system that resides on direct attached storage and is not aware that the storage is under the management of the hypervisor, and therefore needs to defragment this storage differently."
Jerome rightly points out that defrag vendors are already aware of these problems in virtualized server environments. He also declares that some defragmentation software is better suited to meeting these new challenges than others, and calls out PerfectDisk as one in particular. This is because of PerfectDisk's superior free space consolidation. As Jerome writes, "the benefit that companies gain as physical machines running PerfectDisk are virtualized is that the performance impact when the defragmentation process runs is diminished...PerfectDisk executes in a shorter amount of time while decreasing the impact on the underlying physical server." Jerome covers other PerfectDIsk advantages for virtualized environments in the article.
But here's where the big news kicks in. The post ends up with this statement: "But PerfectDisk, like most products, now needs to evolve to better communicate with the underlying virtual infrastructure to deliver the new range of benefits that most companies expect to realize from their virtual infrastructure in the coming years."
With all this virtualization news and just about every vendor under the sun with a virtualization product or product to try to assist virtualization users, it's interesting that none of these products, applications and even operating systems are even smart enough to be aware that they are in a virtual environment.
Just think if a defragmentation product was aware it was in a virtual environment. No more blindly consuming resources during a defrag run, "invisibly" or not. No more guests getting more than their share of the resource pie to the detriment of other guests and the host. No more conflicts. No more guessing. Virtual guests' defrag software dynamically adjusting its resource consumption behavior with respect to its physical resource load.
Imagine disk defragmentation software that is truly virtual aware. That time is not years away. And it won't be invisible.
Computer Power User (CPU) Magazine, in its January 2009 issue, devotes its cover to What's Best and What's Next. The feature covers several categories, including a Software -- 2008's Head-of-the-Class Code section. Author Warren Ernst writes "we really love using what's best. Perhaps the stars were just aligned properly one night for that perfect combination of ease, power, usability, and functionality wrapped into an unbeatable program or suite." This year, CPU gives its This Stuff is the Best nod to 12 Windows programs in four categories, one of which is System/Drive Utilities.
Just 3 products fall into the System/Drive Utilities category -- Avanquest Software Fix-It Utilities, ShadowProtect, and PerfectDisk, the only defragmenter that made it. As Ernst notes, "once a system is cleaned up, there are still hardware and software problems that can keep a Windows system from running properly." And that brings him to PerfectDisk 2008 Professional.
"Sometimes when you have a specific medical problem, you want to see a specialist. For disk defragmenting needs, we think a specialist, in the form of PerfectDisk 2008 Professional, is a better choice than the defragmenter that comes with Windows or any utility suite. PerfectDisk is wicked fast, has plenty of options for background or screen saver optimizing, and sports an attractive interface that encourages exploration. It also includes a handy "folder-size" utility that helps you track down where all your free space disappeared to. Its 'SMARTPlacement' of file helps resist file fragmentation in the future, meaning you have to defragment less often, which is a winner in our book."
Another accolade for PerfectDisk, in a year that has seen many. Now, on to 2009.
One of the challenges we face with PerfectDisk is maintaining and improving speed as files and drives get bigger, while also continuing to provide smarter defrag methods, such as SMARTPlacementoptimization. Besides enhancing the product set with new features and capabilities, our development team is always looking at ways to improve the underlying engine's speed and performance. This has gone on for years, including several years ago when we pioneered the support for the very large drives that are now much more common. Many of our users have drives of several terabytes, with files of several hundred gigabytes.
And PerfectDisk does do more "work," because it is not merely defragmenting files and moving them around haphazardly like rearranging chairs on the Titanic.
SMARTPlacement is smarter, an optimization strategy that ultimately reduces overhead and resource consumption, and results in a slower rate of refragmentation.
So we have significantly improved the analyze phase of the disk drive that PerfectDisk performs - up to 30% faster, depending on the size of the drive's files and the number of files.