Drive alignment issues are occurring with greater frequency when drives are upgraded from "standard" 512 sector size drives to high-capacity 4K drives, or when a migration occurs from a physical to a virtual environment. Drive loss can reach up to 50%, but usually ranges between 10 to 30%, according to Paragon Software, a vendor that targets the data storage market and other sectors.
"Every day we're getting pounded by mid-enterprise level organizations, consumers and small businesses about alignment issues," said Tom Fedro, president of Paragon Software Group, in an interview. "They buy SSDs and expect outstanding performance but when it doesn't happen they wonder why and find out the SSD is not properly aligned."
Partition alignment tools re-align drives, which helps to regain drive performance of storage systems and applications and extends the longevity of the drives, particularly SSDs, Fedro said.
Paragon Alignment Tool 3.0 is designed to help to resolve partition alignment problems associated with the new 4K Advanced Format HDDs, SSDs, and RAID, Fedro said. It also helps with alignment issues within virtual machines that run on virtualization platforms such as VMware, Hyper V, or Citrix.
Paragon's Alignment Tool is part of the Hard Disk Manager (HDM) 11 Server, released y Tuesday. The software suite is designed to ease data backup and disaster recovery tasks by incorporating partitioning, disk imaging and system migration technologies for advanced format hard disk drives (HDDs) larger than 2.2TBs with 4K sectors as well SSDs.
Fedro said over the past few months his company has received significant interest from small business and midsize enterprise customers for backup and recovery software solutions designed for hard drives larger than 2.2TBs. The reason is that the newer drives complicate backup and recovery procedures. Also, some Windows drivers fail to read any space over 2.2TBs, which compromises performance of the drive.
The release comes close on the heels of Seagate's annoucement that it has created the first commercially available 1 terabyte per platter external hard drive and will ship 3TB hard drives in the summer.
"This product is set up to take advantage of the latest Seagate GoFlex 3TB hard drive," Fedro said. "With Windows drivers you are unable to see anything over 2.2TB. Yet now with our HDM, we allow our customers to see the full 3TB and use it and boot from it."
The new Paragon HDM software features support for legacy operating systems, enabling XP and later Windows OS to recognize drives larger than 2.2TB. It also includes automated partition management, copy and restore functionality with the ability to shrink partitions to smaller drives, and support for GPT conversion capability. The software is applicable for both physical and virtual Windows server environments.