Diskeeper 12 Boosts Server Performance With Caching, Defrag Technology

The latest version of Diskeeper features a GUI redesign and aggressive acceleration technologies that boost the hard-drive performance on servers, desktops and laptop computers. It can prove a handy tool for any network manager.

Condusiv Technologies' Diskeeper 12 enhances hard-disk-drive performance across applications and operating systems using advanced write cache technology and automated defragmentation. Diskeeper 12 is the latest version of the company's storied line of disk optimization products and features a major redesign of the GUI, as well as performance enhancements.

Diskeeper 12 is available under three different versions: Diskeeper Professional, Diskeeper Server and Diskeeper Administrator. Diskeeper Professional is designed to optimize PCs and laptops; Diskeeper Server is designed to optimize server hard drives, storage-area networks (SANs) and other network-based file systems/storage solutions; and finally, Diskeeper Administrator brings centralized policy management into the equation for multiple desktops and servers, allowing administrators to push the benefits offered by Diskeeper 12 across an enterprise.

When it comes to a value proposition for the typical network manager, it makes sense to first look at Diskeeper Server 12, which is positioned as a product that enhances network performance by speeding up disk reads and writes using a combination of anti-fragmentation and intelligent caching.

For testing, I installed Diskeeper Server 12 on an active Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 system with a highly fragmented hard drive. I used an imaging product to copy the volumes off a production server that had been in use for more than a year. That subject server provided the raw images for all tests.

Installing Diskeeper Server 12 is a simple process; the $374.95 product offers a wizard-based installation that simplifies deployment. Once deployed, you are offered several options and settings to fine-tune the server.

I set Diskeeper Server to automatically optimize server volumes.

The automated functionality launches defragmentation and also configures the product's IntelliWrite fragmentation-prevention technology, along with InvisiTasking and the Instant Defrag engine. Those technologies work together to improve disk performance. I measured performance improvements over using several different tests because of the dynamic nature of the environment. Still, it proved difficult to come up with exact statistics, because the results were affected by several other elements.

However, on average, I clocked a 17 percent improvement on large file rights, while reads also happened quicker-specifically after defragmentation. The product boasts zero overhead when used. I found that to be true, with Windows task manager showing a zero percent load and zero percent CPU utilization for the Diskeeper Server DLLs.

When I used a nonscientific approach (gut feelings), overall server performance felt noticeably faster, especially when launching applications that relied on server processing. Very noticeable was how quickly terminal services sessions came up from a remote system. However, other factors are at play when measuring performance increases, especially when accessing the server from a client system. Network overhead, traffic and many other factors also impact performance, making it difficult to quantify actual performance gains.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say that Diskeeper Server does benefit server performance.

Included with Diskeeper Server are several status-reporting and monitoring technologies. I found reports and dashboards that showed disk health, volume health, CPU utilization and historical reporting all very useful and a good way to quantify the value of the product.

Other notable features include support for Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), real-time dashboard monitoring, automated Directory Consolidation, as well as free space consolidation. Those features help to improve disk life, while keeping administrators informed of the state of the disk subsystems.