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Defragging could save the planet

Make your hard drive greener and leaner
Wed Jul 09 2008, 09:51

A RECENTLY RELEASED white paper by a company called Diskeeper reckons its automatic disk defragmentation software makes computers more power efficient.

The firm, which claims to have sold around 30 million licenses for its Windows-supported defragmentation software, says it can prove that, not only doe defragging make for greener computing, but also ups the performance of a PC to boot.

It's suddenly trendy in modern computing to save energy and 'go green'. But whereas most companies see smaller, more energy-efficient chips or virtualisation as the way forward, Diskeeper reckons software also has a significant role to play.

Whilst true that virtualised environments have been proven to save quite a bit of energy, some hypervisors, or virtual machine monitors, have been found to counteract the operating system's own energy conservation attempts by pushing machines to achieve the highest possible performance per watt, giving the overworked CPU little time to rest.

Using the services of 3D Professor, Diskeeper decided to put its software to the test, checking what, if any, power and cost savings users could reap from it.

The method involved monitoring wattage on a system first time without and second time with Dis­keeper's software.

According to the findings, the total combined time for all tests and benchmarks was nine hours and 21 minutes, using 0.97 KWH's of power when the software wasn't installed. When the software was installed and running, the total cumulative time was reduced to seven hours and 40 minutes, using a reduced 0.85 KWH's.

The company reckons this could translate into over $5,000 a year of energy savings for businesses, and boasts it could also increase computer up time and extend machine lifespan from between one and three years.

Michael Materie, Director of Product Management at Diskeeper, told the INQ that "While newer technologies such as SAS drives and SANs can process I/O requests faster, the disk remains the slowest component in a computer system. Minimising undue traffic to the disk subsystem is the primary objective of defragmentation software".

Materie went on to explain that "Fragmentation of files on a hard drive requires the disk head to move to multiple locations on the disk to access those files. Over time, all this extra, unnecessary mechanical activity translates to a higher disk failure rates".

Diskeeper says that the larger drives become, the more data people store on them, and as this data is edited and saved it gets shifted around the drive making it hard to find quickly. Defragmenting pulls the files closer together again, meaning the computer doesn't have to work as hard to find them.

Now, if the firm could only come up with a good way to help find misplaced car keys quicker, that really would be time and energy saving. µ

See Also
Virtualisation not as energy saving as it claims


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