Fragmented IT Costs

If CIOs are like most computer users, they probably don’t think much about disk fragmentation until performance degradation brings their desktop systems to a grinding halt. Many IT executives are just too busy with the complexities of managing their technology divisions to pay much attention to tactical matters such as disk performance.

That could be a costly mistake.

“Corporations are losing as much as US$50 billion per year as a result of not defragmenting every server and workstation on the network,” says Steve Widen, director of storage software research at International Data Corp. (IDC) in Framingham, Mass. He notes this figure represents the annual cost associated with service delays caused by systems handicapped by fragmented disk drives.

In a white paper titled Disk Defragmentation for Windows NT/2000: Hidden Gold for the Enterprise, Widen notes that many organizations unnecessarily upgrade hardware systems – to the tune of US$6 billion a year – in an attempt to increase the performance of their networks. According to Widen, regular use of defragmentation software on Windows desktops and servers can meet or exceed the performance improvements achieved through hardware upgrades.

In addition, the white paper indicates IT staff costs for manual defragmentation could be reduced through the use of a network defrag tool that automatically monitors systems on the network. For a network with 10 servers and 1,000 workstations, for example, IDC says 52,520 staff hours would be spent annually on manual defragmentation, representing a salary-related cost of about US$2.1 million. However, through the use of a network defragmentation utility, IDC claims the number of staff hours spent on this task would be reduced to 24 per year, cutting the cost dramatically to about US$960.

For more information about the IDC white paper, visit