Saturday, January 31, 2009

Backup Speed and Hard Disk Fragmentation

Recently a long term client called and asked a question about why the Datashield Online Backup seemed to taking longer to complete when the new data was not increasing respectively.

First I tested the server upload speed at and it was normal at 410 kilobytes per second. Then I created a 10 mb test file and initiated a manual backup - the time to backup was just over 40 seconds. Not a significant slowdown considering all the communication going on between the source and destination computers.

At this point I decided to look at the performance of the local server and discovered that the hard drive was significantly fragmented. File fragmentation occurs over time as additional data is written to the disk. The more data written to the disk, the more fragmentation occurs. As file fragmentation increases so does the time to access them. Online backup lives by the same rules - if your disk is fragmented it will take longer to access and upload your files.

Not only do tasks take longer when a disk is fragmented but a disk also has to work harder which increases the potential for early failure. There are a number of automated disk optimization utilities available for home and business. These resource saving utilities can be set to defrag disks on a scheduled basis or when a disk reaches a predefined performance level.

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