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Fragmentation: Impact on Virtual Network

As companies have come to rely more and more on data processing, the amount of data to be processed has increased tremendously. In terms of storage, this has meant higher-capacity drives and more of them. At some point something had to be done before companies couldn’t afford to house all the computing power they so desperately needed.

As developers of technology will do, they did evolve solutions. First came server blades, which allowed multiple servers to be housed in the same box. Shortly following that came the revolution server virtualization. It became possible to run multiple servers within a single physical server platform. Both solutions have allowed escalating amounts of computing to be performed within substantially reduced space.

Server virtualization still suffers from an age-old problem, however: file fragmentation. Hard drive partitions are made to appear as entire drives dedicated to the virtual machines, but underneath the “virtual” layer the hardware is storing files the way it always has. It is fragmenting files from all partitions across the whole disk.

Virtual machines have their own I/O requests which are passed along to the host system. Hence, multiple I/O requests are occurring for each file request—minimally, one request for the guest system then another for the host system. But in a common fragmentation scenario, especially with virtual servers creating high amounts of disk activity, files will be fragmented into tens, hundreds or even thousands of fragments. Imagine the frantic activity with multiple I/Os for each fragment of each and every file requested. The impact on performance is horrendous.

Much of the time virtual servers also have the requirement of constant access. While file fragmentation is a persistent and crippling problem, times to schedule maintenance to address it are nearly nonexistent. It becomes a no-win situation.

Sites can keep up with the hectic fragmentation rates of virtualization, with the new V-locity 2.0, virtual platform disk optimizer designed to deliver invisible background optimization of all Windows Guest operating systems running on the VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms. New to V-locity 2.0, is the addition of the breakthrough IntelliWrite fragmentation prevention technology originally introduced with Diskeeper 2010. Utilizing IntelliWrite technology, V-locity writes files to the disk to prevent up to 85 percent of fragmentation from occurring before it even happens.

Published Friday, August 06, 2010 5:39 AM by David Marshall
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