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How Virtualization Exacerbates Fragmentation

Oct 23, 2009, 17:32 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Drew Robb)

"As to why virtualization is such a boon to heavy fragmentation, let's start with a basic explanation of fragmentation itself: When Windows writes a file, it generally splits it into multiple pieces spread around the disk. Any time you access that file, each piece must be located, gathered up and then fed to the user. This consumes time and system resources, and frays tempers as you wait for the machine to boot up, the application to load or the file to appear. Over time it gets worse. Things slow down even more and can sometimes be reduced to a crawl.

"Now factor in today's much larger files and massive disk sizes. You'd think that with loads of disk space still available, fragmentation wouldn't occur. Not so. Windows seems bound and determined to not let tiny pieces of free space remain unused, while at the same time leaving vast tracks of disk unused. Thus, it fragments just about anything it touches."

This might help admins who need to explain to their bosses why using Windows as the host OS may not be the best choice-- ed.

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