Diskeeper 2009 Server/Administrator Review Ambleside
Grange Over Sands
Diskeeper 2009 Server/Administrator Review
Tidy minded users ensure that their hard disks are kept in tip top condition by regularly defragmenting them and although Windows does have a utility for this, it’s undeniably basic. Vista and Server 2008 have a slightly updated version that provides a scheduler but even this is well short on features. If you want more, then Diskeeper has a lot to offer, as it has maintained its podium position as the professional disk defragmenter of choice.
In this review we take a look at the Server and Administrator versions of Diskeeper 2009 to see what they can offer business environments. Diskeeper Administrator doesn’t provide any defrag tools itself and is designed purely for remotely managing all installations of Diskeeper and looking after defrag schedules on multiple systems.
Diskeeper Administrator requires a SQL database to store client data and they can use an existing one or the bundled MSDE, which can be loaded during installation. It comprises two main components with a Windows service looking after schedules, logging, reporting and alerting information and a console that provides management access. Usefully, Administrator can be managed remotely using more than one console and supports multiple database instances as well.
The main Diskeeper Administrator console is a cheerful affair that provides easy access to all management features. The Getting Started page offers quick links to all main tasks and from here you can scan the network and gather your client systems into groups for easier management. You can select individuals systems or groups and deploy the various Diskeeper products to them using the PushInstall feature.
Deployment is straightforward as you select which Diskeeper products you want to install, point Administrator to the location for the software packages, and either run an immediate push or schedule the task for later. During this process you view the network tree and pick the groups and individual systems that are to receive the software.
All defrag tasks can be fully automated using policies and as long as your client systems have Diskeeper 2007 or 2009 loaded you can streamline this even further with the automatic defrag policy option. For legacy versions up to and including Diskeeper 10 you’ll have to create specific policies for primary and secondary defrag actions.
Policies automatically run defrag jobs on all available volumes on each host system so you don’t need to specify these although it would be nice to have the option to block some volumes if you wanted. During policy creation you can also apply a schedule that determines when jobs can or can’t run and you can use these to suspend activities on specific dates.
The I-FAAST (intelligent file access acceleration sequencing technology) feature runs an analysis on each volume to see what performance gains can be made. It then runs in tandem with background defrag jobs and moves frequently used files around so that that they can be more easily accessed. The SmartSchedule feature takes even more of the load off your hands as it keeps track of the number of files moved each time Diskeeper is run and dynamically alters the schedule as required.
Diskeeper really tries to keep as low a profile as possible as its InvisiTasking feature monitors I/O requests and pauses defrag jobs when other processes or programs want to access the hard disk. InvisTasking also does away with the need for creating manual jobs as it runs in the background to provide real time defragging. It aims to have zero impact on general performance as it monitors the system and only utilises unused resources. The local Diskeeper software provides a Dashboard view with a rolling graph showing idle resources and those being tapped by InvisiTasking.
There are some tasks beyond the Administrator’s capabilities and if you want to view the Dashboard graph you’ll need to load the local instance of Diskeeper. This isn’t a problem as Administrator provides a remote control feature where you choose the target system and it’ll bring up the local Diskeeper interface for you to view and configure.
The Diskeeper 2009 Server interface is virtually identical to that presented by the Professional version although it does also offer access to the optional HyperFast feature for defragging SSDs. The only other significant extra feature is the TVE (terabyte volume engine), which is designed to handle very high storage capacities.
We tested Diskeeper 2009 Server and using Administrator deployed it to systems running Windows Server 2003 R2 and Server 2008 in a few minutes. On the latter we used the Fragger utility to mess up the system volume and after leaving it to run for an hour or so, Diskeeper’s disk analysis reported serious fragmentation to the tune of nearly one million excess fragments.
We set Diskeeper to work cleaning the volume up and it took nearly three hours to complete this task. However, with its armoury of automation behind it all further defragmentation was carried behind the scenes during the test period and had no further impact on server operations.
Diskeeper has been working hard on its business disk defragmenting solutions and it shows as this latest version delivers more features than any other product on the market. The Administrator is a must have for larger networks as it makes light work of managing multiple systems and many features of Diskeeper 2009 are designed to have a minimal impact on systems and operations.
Author: Dave Mitchell