Raxco Unveils PerfectDisk for Second Millennium

In the NT disk-defragging marketplace, Raxco Software Inc. (www.raxco.com) and Executive Software (http://www.execsoft.com/) have historically wrangled with one another in the back-end enterprise space. But with the introduction of the latest version of its PerfectDisk product -- rechristened PerfectDisk 2000 – it looks as if it’s Raxco’s turn to claim bragging rights in the Windows NT disk-defragging space.

While the idea of file fragmentation in the NT File System (NTFS) was initially greeted with some skepticism, these days it’s a generally accepted phenomenon. The general idea behind PerfectDisk 2000, and behind disk-defragmentation utilities in general, is that such tools can help maintain system service levels by eliminating file fragmentation and other file system anomalies that can affect system performance.

NTFS is a secure file system that stores security information about files in a Master File Table (MFT), which, because of security restrictions, cannot be moved or restructured while the operating system is in online mode. Defragmenting an NTFS disk subsystem, therefore, can cause problems. Add to this the complication that directories and operating system paging files cannot be moved or restructured under NTFS while the operating system is in online mode.

Version 4.0 of Executive Software’s Diskeeper was the first NT-based defragmentation utility capable of defragmenting NTFS directory structures and pagefiles. PerfectDisk 2000, however, goes Diskeeper 4.0 one better by adding the ability to defragment NTFS MFTs.

"This gives us in essence 100 percent coverage of the NTFS environment," says Joe Abusamra, director of product marketing at Raxco. "The significance here is that the paging file is probably one of the most important files on the disk, given that it takes upwards of 20 percent of the space on the disk."

Executive Software’s Diskeeper successfully circumvented the problem of NTFS file restrictions by performing tasks such as directory defragmentation and pagefile consolidation by means of a boot-time device driver that performs while the operating system is in off-line mode. PerfectDisk 2000’s MFT defragmentation tool functions in a similar fashion.

Because Executive Software will likely introduce MFT defragmentation technology in its next revision of the Diskeeper product, both PerfectDisk 2000 and Diskeeper are expected to offer essentially commensurable performance and feature sets.

PerfectDisk 2000 is available as a separate point product for a flat-rate fee of $49 for workstation or server versions. PerfectDisk 2000 also ships as part of Raxco’s InstaNT and InstaNT Pro utility suites, which provide remote control, disk management, security, registry management and event log management functionality under one hood.

According to Philip Mendoza, a system management software analyst with International Data Corp. (www.idc.com), IT organizations are expected to move away from point products and seek comprehensive suites, such as InstaNT. "Even though there are some fine system resource utilities available for Windows NT, they are limited because they are generally point products and cannot be remotely distributed or managed throughout the enterprise," Mendoza says. "As Windows NT matures and becomes accepted as an enterprise operating system, the need will be for more comprehensive, integrated, enterprise-manageable suites of system utilities."