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what's the best defrag tool for a web / database server running windows 2008 server?

will regular defrag improve performance? what are your experiences

thanks

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How do you propose to account for an X hour (lets say... 24) server outage, in order to save a few nanoseconds here and there? –  Izzy Nov 4 '09 at 4:24

3 Answers 3

Fragmentation can be a lot more severe than "a few nanoseconds here and there". I deal with files that are sitting in hundreds of thousands of fragments on a weekly basis.

For single-file defragmentation, nothing beats the command-line tool Contig from SysInternals (free download). It can be used to defrag folders as well.

For full drive defragmentation, I use Defraggler, which is free (and you can opt out of the Yahoo! Toolbar during installation). It allows scheduling, which means you can set up an unattended defrag during off-peak times, a Quick Defrag (which is configurable), plus a command-line version.

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Under certain circumstances, it is possible that defragmentation could help. If your server automatically creates large numbers of files, or you have rapid incremental growth of a database on the box, or are otherwise doing a large number of file writes, defragmentation can help. For the low-intensity writes commonly seen (ftp uploads, log files, etc.) you might just schedule something infrequent during low-use times.

I don't have experience with Server 2008, but on 2k3, we used DisKeper Server for an application that wrote large numbers of PDFs to disk. It worked really well for us. We also used it to minimize fragmentation caused by database backups on a separate server.

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Exactly what and how performance will be affected is dependent on the user of the server. For example, if you have 100+ users accessing the same file server at more or less the same time, you could have a heavily fragmented server that has no perceptible performance issue under most circumstances - especially when using small files. If you routinely store files that are 100's of MB in size then this could have a significant performance impact, especially if you copy those files locally for what ever reason. Another thing that defragging can help with is backups - an appropriately defragged system can result in faster overall reads when the backup system is performing its backup.

I agree with Diskeeper Server use - though there are other products that can be used.

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