Servers

Review: Diskeeper Server

Diskeeper Server is targeted strictly at system administrators and includes features such as centralized management and monitoring.

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.

Specifications

  • 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.

Standout features

  • 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.

What's wrong?

  • 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.

Competitive products

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.

User rating

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.

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About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

9 comments
spencer.allingham
spencer.allingham

Hi, I am the Technical Director at Diskeeper Europe and thought it might be useful to point out here, some of the new and improved features in Diskeeper 2011. Diskeeper is still a great defragmenter, but with the built-in IntelliWrite technology, the focus is more on the prevention of fragmentation. This is very important, as if you can eliminate fragmentation before it gets a chance to happen, your system will benefit from an efficient disk I/O performance, especially important with read after write operations. New InvisiTasking technology can now use more idle resources (CPU, Memory, Disk I/O) faster for background optimisation routines on even the busiest systems. It will ensure that Diskeeper does not compete for resource with other users or processes. As mentioned, Diskeeper 2011 still features IntelliWrite technology that helps the Windows Write Driver more intelligently write files to an NTFS volume in as non-fragmented state as possible. Prevention is definitely better than cure! In fact, on an average system you can expect to see around 80% of fragmentation prevented from ever happening. However, for those files that cannot be written contiguously Diskeeper???s new InstantDefrag Engine will be informed by IntelliWrite that the file had to be written in a fragmented state. InstantDefrag will then set about defragmenting just that one file, so that you don???t have to wait for the next full defrag run of the entire volume to handle just that one file. Diskeeper 2011 now has a new Efficient Mode, which is smart enough to know what fragmentation is causing bad performance and will target and eliminate those badly performing file fragments, whilst using the least amount of I/O to achieve its objective. Finally, there is a new Free Space Consolidate Engine that allows Diskeeper to swiftly consolidate free space, which is very important to give IntelliWrite enough contiguous free space to write files in a non-fragmented way to begin with. There are other great features as well, all of which are designed to keep your system running at peak disk I/O efficiency. You can find out more information and get a free 30 day trial at http://www.diskeeper.com. Of course, if you would like to know more from me, please feel free to contact me directly at s.allingham@diskeeper.co.uk. Best regards, Spencer Allingham Technical Director Diskeeper Corporation Europe.

mrbobyu
mrbobyu

Do you have any data as diskeeper server version vs other brand of defragmentation software? Like perfomance wise, before defrag and after defrag? Is there any big difference?

ellasanti29
ellasanti29

Like it! Happy to know and being informed of new items and pc applications. Wish to buy one. On the other hand, I'm a bit sad when i heard the news that lots of businesses and companies today been struggling since the recession a couple of years ago. Some of them had done "Business For Sale Strategy" thinking that it's the best way to save it. Hope this dilemma will soon be aided.

sancretor
sancretor

In use at a production location. Powerful and well engineered filesystem utility- addresses fragmentation quietly and effectively. The automation, flexibility and administration options are icing on the cake. Definitely worth it if time is of value to you.

Justin James
Justin James

That I judged what amounted to a very similar feature set in the desktop and server products felt so much different. It was simply the fact that when I have my server admin hat on as opposed to my desktop technician hat, a whole swath of features goes from "meh" to "yes, I like that!" Kudos to Diskeeper for packaging some good technology in a useful way. I have a feeling that my look at PerfectDisk for servers will be about the same. J.Ja

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you defrag hard drives on workstations you manage using network tools? What application are you using? Have you tried Diskeeper Server yet?

Justin James
Justin James

I do not have the facilities to simulate the kinds of loads which would show significant performance gains/degradation for any particular reasons, unfortunately. J.Ja

chris
chris

With Diskeeper Administrator you can remote install and manage all your servers and workstations centrally. Excellent product!