A new white paper, The Importance of Defragmentation in Virtual Environments, co-authored by Osterman Research and Diskeeper Corporation, demonstrates that virtual environments require defragmenting even more than physical environments. This is due to the fact that virtual environments support multiple operating systems and create a higher intensity of disk activity. 

“The need for defragmentation is even more acute in virtual environments,” the white paper states. “This is because physical hardware in a virtualized storage environment must support more operating systems and so can undergo even more disk access and more stress than in a non-virtualized environment. Further, disk I/O in one virtual machine has a cascading effect on disk I/O in other virtual machines, and so the problem of excessive disk I/O in virtual machines is, in fact, even worse than what would be experienced in a physical disk environment.” 

The white paper indicates that fragmentation, which reduces system performance in a physical storage infrastructure, can even create more of a performance loss in a virtual storage infrastructure. Virtual disks can become fragmented over time just like the physical disk or disks on which they reside. The result is a fragmented virtual disk on a fragmented physical disk—or fragmentation within fragmentation.  This data is especially important in light of the rapid growth of virtual environments. Organizations are particularly interested in virtualization due to its many benefits, which include reduced hardware costs, ease of adding additional capacity to existing infrastructure, ease of administration and maintenance, and simplified migration from one server to another.  Because of the complexity of I/O traffic in virtual environments, simple defragmentation is not enough to fully address the fragmentation issue. For that reason, Diskeeper Corporation has developed new technology for virtual environments, found in their V-locity™ 2.0 virtual platform disk optimizer. A recent product release for VMware and Hyper-V, V-locity 2.0 is the first optimizer that truly eliminates the barriers to full virtual efficiency. V-locity 2.0  employs IntelliWrite™ and InvisiTasking® technologies to both prevent a majority of fragmentation in the first place and to efficiently coordinate VM resources when defrag is running invisibly in the background. The complete white paper is located here.