Last week we had a first look at Diskeeper 2011 for Windows Home Server. Now it’s time for our review.
The Diskeeper Corporation have been around now since 1981, so you have probably heard of them before. They have produced many different versions of their disk defragmentation software, including previous versions for Windows Home Server.
This review concentrates on the latest version of Diskeeper 2011 HomeServer edition, which will be released very shortly. The review will cover why you need it, some of it’s key features, how to install it and then our final thoughts.
Why Do I Need It?
You might ask yourself why you would want to buy disk defragmentation software. Well the answer is that you may not want to. What do I mean by that? Well, put simply it is a matter of personal preference. Disk defragmentation software is one of those topics that often gets one of two similar responses – either “I must have it” or “I don’t want or need it”.
Personally I must have it. If you don’t know why you might want it, put simply, as files are stored, moved, deleted, updated and so on, over time they can be potentially stored on different areas of the disk rather than in a single block. This is called disk fragmentation. There could be thousands of parts of files scattered all over the disks on your home server. What this means is that it takes longer to read and write those files than it would do if they were all in the same place. That annoying delay waiting for that Word document to open? Could be disk fragmentation.
This is where disk defragmentation software comes into play. The software examines the disk and all of your files, figures out where the parts of the files physically on your drives are and attempts to move them together to make things run faster and smoother. This is a good thing – just imagine having hundreds of gigabytes of files scattered all over the disk.
So, are you convinced that you might benefit from defragmentation software? If so, one thing that is very important to understand is that no matter what software you use, it MUST be Windows Home Server aware because of the way that Drive Extender works in WHS.
What’s New and Improved in 2011?
Diskeeper 2011 is the first pre-emptive solution to the problem of fragmentation. Imagine a system that doesn’t fragment data on the hard disk and has requires no I/Os to handle defragmentation. Clean disks enable servers, workstations and laptops to operate at optimum speed reliability and efficiency over time. Disks that are uncluttered by fragmentation can last years longer due to reduced drive wear, easing the strain on tight IT budgets and reducing total cost of ownership for hardware investments.
IntelliWrite fragmentation prevention technology helps you achieve a new level of peak system performance.
Diskeeper 2011 addresses the cause of fragmentation and prevents up to 85% fragmentation. IntelliWrite keeps disks clean and fast by intelligently writing contiguous files to the disk, significantly improving system performance.
This proprietary technology enables faster file reads and writes, with zero impact on system resources during fragmentation prevention. It minimizes and eliminates data replication traffic and storage requirements caused by technologies that monitor block level changes (such as Snapshots). Another significant benefit is greatly reduced drive wear: if disks do not have to work hard writing fragmented files to the disk, they’re spinning less, consuming less power, and generating less heat. Further, with less use, drives will last longer, providing a better ROI for companies and reducing overall hardware costs.
Instant Defrag™ – New
Diskeeper 2011 offers a ground breaking new combination of technology that prevents (IntelliWrite) and immediately eliminates (NEW Instant Defrag) performance-impacting fragmentation so you’ll likely never access slow files ever again. IntelliWrite prevents up to 85% and more, fragmentation from occurring on the initial write. If fragments are not prevented during the initial write, IntelliWrite passes along information about the remaining fragments, in real-time, to the Instant Defrag engines for immediate handling. This exclusive design allows Diskeeper to stay ahead of performance robbing fragmentation on systems that split up data at a high rate. It also minimizes system-resources by eliminating time-consuming whole-volume fragmentation analysis in order to determine what recently written data needs to be defragmented.
The user is informed of the benefits of Instant Defrag in the Dashboard which displays the average time to prevent and handle newly occurring fragments.
IntelliWrite, combined with the new Instant Defrag, provides 100% performance 24×7. With IntelliWrite preventing the vast majority of fragmentation before it can occur, writing files contiguously in the first place, and Instant Defrag immediately eliminating any fragments that sneak by, performance levels are always at peak.
Efficient Mode™ – New
Efficient Mode, new in Diskeeper 2011, minimizes the time and resources used by Diskeeper to restore and maintain peak performance and reliability.
Diskeeper reports information about Efficient Mode in the updated Diskeeper user interface. By tracking the I/O (Input/Output) activity on a system Diskeeper 2011 also now estimates the overall I/Os saved (due to removing fragmentation) with time-based data in the updated Diskeeper Dashboard and cumulative statistics in the Diskeeper History section.
The new Efficient Mode is smart enough to know the difference between fragmentation that is a problem and fragmentation that is not a problem. Efficient Mode only addresses problem fragmentation. By eliminating the extra effort to get to a state of 0 total fragments, the resources required to restore peak performance are minimal. Efficient Mode is available in all Diskeeper 2011 editions expect for Home edition.
Performance Report – New
Diskeeper’s new performance report overlays the main User Interface (UI) to provide the user with an instant view of gains they experience with the new Diskeeper 2011. Users will see:
System Configuration Status
Read and Write Access Time – % improvement
How much fragmentation was prevented and eliminated
Cumulative Number of I/Os Saved
InvisiTasking® – Improved
InvisiTasking has been redesigned to be more assertive in I/O active environments while still maintaining invisible processing. The enhancements allow Diskeeper to accomplish more defragmentation and resolve it faster (e.g. Instant Defrag) during typical production workloads. It also gives Diskeeper, and especially Instant Defrag, the ability to keep pace with rapidly fragmenting volumes in the multi-terabyte ranges.
The “green” evolution undertaken with InvisiTasking for Diskeeper 2011 is to defragment while the system is actively used, but to still do so with zero overhead. InvisiTasking is now more intelligent about when to interject defrag work while a disk is active. In many cases even a fairly active system still has unused resources that can be tapped without starving other processes of resources. Not only does this new design result in energy savings, it also aids in a addressing another growing problem – busy 24/7 systems that are never “idle” long enough for the previous version of InvisiTasking to accomplish its task. New Improved InvisiTasking now allows even large 24/7 never-“idle” systems to be defragmented invisibly with a virtually zero resource hit.