Diskeeper Server takes the well rounded Diskeeper product and tailors it to the needs of servers. Features that may have been "overkill" on the desktop feel well suited for the server environment.
Note: This review was a not-for-resale review copy of Diskeeper Server provided by the vendor to TechRepublic.
- Product: Diskeeper Server
- Cost: $349.95 (volume discounts available)
- Hardware requirements: 38MB disk space
- Supported operating systems: Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008 R2, and 32-bit and 64-bit editions for all operating systems
- Additional information: Product Web site
- TechRepublic Photo Gallery - Note: The screens for the Server version are essentially the same as the Pro version.
Who's it for?
Unlike most of the other defrag products we have looked at, Diskeeper Server is targeted strictly at system administrators. Unless a business user or enthusiast happens to be using a server version of Windows, Diskeeper Server will not work at all for them.
What problems does it solve?
Most defragmentation products are designed with the typical desktop usage computer in mind, not the server environment. Some of the best defrag products out there do a great job with actual defragging, but lack the features that a system administrator requires, like centralized management and monitoring. Many defrag products usually work best when run as scheduled tasks late at night or on the weekend since they tie up the machine. Diskeeper works hard to prevent as much fragmentation as possible, and defragging is designed to take as few system resources as possible.
- Enterprise Features: Features like SCOM/MOM support and Group Policy management which felt potentially overboard on the workstation product are excellent to have in a server product. The ability to defragment multiple disks at a time, which is not useful for the typical desktop, is very important for a server.
- Beyond Basic Defrag: Diskeeper Server can defrag critical system files during boot that would ordinarily be skipped, and can monitor drive usage to tweak defragmentation algorithms. The InvisiTasking system reduces resource contention, and IntelliWrite changes how data is written to disk, to prevent fragmentation up front.
- Optional SSD Technology: If your servers use solid state disks, you can add the HyperFast technology for a $50 up charge, which makes Diskeeper work better with SSDs and reduces read/write cycles.
- Complexity: If you are serious about getting the most out of Diskeeper, you need to take some time to learn about all of the various features and decide which ones you need to use on which volumes.
Bottom line for business
The market for disk defragmentation products is pretty full, and we've reviewed an awful lot of them here at TechRepublic. However, each one that we have looked at so far has not been designed with servers in mind. Does that mean that they will not work on a server? Not at all. But what is does mean is that they lack the features that system administrators really need in server products, like central management and monitoring. Diskeeper Server is the first product that we have taken a look at so far that really addresses this end of the market, and its only competition is PerfectDisk Server.
When I looked at Diskeeper Professional, I doubted the usefulness of the central management and monitoring. Not so with Diskeeper Server. System administrators need the control or else they waste far too much of their time.
Likewise, the features that Diskeeper does have, like their i-FAAST system (optimizes the defragging to match drive usage), IntelliWrite (changes how Windows writes files to disk, in order to keep fragmentation from occurring), and InvisiTasking (reduces resource usage for automatic defragging), all felt like a bit too much in a "typical business desktop," but I see them as major features in a 24/7 server environment. The fact is, while a desktop can defrag once a day or week in the evening, at best that is when the server is backing up, and at worst, the server never catches a break for a long running, resource intensive defragging session.
Diskeeper Server is still an expensive product. At $349.95 (and $50 extra if you need the HyperFast functionality for SSDs), it is much pricier than using Windows' built in defrag or perhaps a desktop grade defragger. The question is really one of scale. How many servers do you manage and how much load are they under? If you have more than a few servers (or just a few under a lot of stress) and they don't have a window from 5 PM through 9 AM to do backups, defrag, and everything else, you may very well consider Diskeeper Server's functionality well worth the price of admission.
Have you encountered or used Diskeeper Server? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
Read our field-tested reviews of hardware and software in TechRepublic's Product Spotlight newsletter, delivered each Thursday. We explain who would use the product and describe what problem the product is designed to solve. Automatically sign up today!
Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.