Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yes, you should defrag your solid state drives

Two of the hottest trends in IT are solid-state drives and virtualization. Both have resulted in an accidental boon to Diskeeper, which just about owns the market for defragmentation utilities. In fact, the company is advising top SSD manufacturers about fragmentation, according to VP for public affairs Derek De Vette. Administrators are unsure what to do, posting queries on technology Web sites about defragging their SSDs. Interestingly, many experts are advising against SSD defragging, saying the concepts of contiguous placement and large-block storage are rendered moot by the new drives. Yet De Vette said fragmentation does occur, and that the performance hit of fragmentation is such that the hype of SSDs giving greater performance than mechanical disk drives hasn't yet been realized. As for virtualization, people understand that the hard drive can fragment, and so can the virtualized environment. But De Vette said most administrators are only beginning to realize that fragmentation can occur at the mapping level between the two layers. And he cautioned that too much fragmentation in a virtualized environment, just like in a physical one, can effectively shut it down.

-- David Rubinstein

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