Tag Archives: Microsoft XP

New Product Spotlight: Align Your Drives on a Virtual Network with Paragon’s new Partition Alignment Tool

As newer 4K Advanced Format hard disk drives become more prevalent in the virtual environment, partition alignment issues continue to increase in frequency (especially, with machines running Microsoft XP and Server 2003) — and are now permeating the virtual environment. The problem of partition misalignment is that it causes slow write times and inefficient disk operations because the physical and the logical sectors are not aligned. The misalignment causes redundant read/write operations, thus putting unnecessary strain on the hardware. The Paragon Alignment Tool (PAT) ESX version follows on our partition alignment software technology in PAT 3.0, launched a few months ago for consumer products.

PAT ESX was developed to facilitate remote partition alignment of virtual systems. PAT ESX requires minimal virtual disk space (only 3 – 4MB per disk) to perform partition alignment with no need for additional space on the system for snapshots or copies of the processed volume. Should an unexpected interruption occur, the alignment operation can be continued without loss of data or need for restoration.

Paragon's virtual partition alignment software

Click on the image to see a video on Paragon's partition alignment software for virtual environments

With the growing trend in resource consolidation through virtualization, we are seeing significant increases in the number of virtual servers and workstations. Due to the transition of the storage standard from 512B to 4K sectors, the appearance of partition misalignment and performance issues in these systems are increasing. Our customers’ need to resolve these issues is what drove the development of PAT ESX!

The partition alignment software provides easy and comprehensive management for virtual disk alignment operations. Installed on an administrator’s machine within the ESX environment, PAT ESX enables remote access to all virtual disks to check their state and perform alignments in an unattended mode. PAT ESX allows an administrator to browse data stores, select target virtual machines, and then connect to virtual disks to determine whether partition alignment is required. PAT then recommends alignment options if needed.

The Partition Alignment Tool Benefits include an increase virtual machine operations’ performance up to 300 percent, External control, management and alignment of dozens of virtual drives located on different virtual servers (no need to install on every virtual machine); and a decrease hardware costs by eliminating the need to have storage dedicated for migration functions.

To learn more about PAT for ESX, see our press release at Paragon Alignment Tool™ 3.0 for ESX® Now Available for Remote Partition Alignment in the Virtual Environment

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Removing Boundaries Between Physical and Virtual Environments

Virtualization is a current key trend across all IT segments.  The benefits of virtualization are well known and widely leveraged since data can now be stored and managed over diverse virtual environments in large data centers – or simple standalone servers. Even the most populous segment – home users, can now virtualize their existing software or make cross-platform configurations.

This article highlights how Paragon ConnectVD Technology addresses many data management challenges on diverse virtual and physical machines. ConnectVD allows a myriad of tasks to be performed with ease in a virtual environment – such as partitioning, data transferring, imaging, copying and many other complex tasks.
<h1>Virtualization Challenges</h1>
One of the key benefits of virtualization is that you can run as many virtualized environments on one physical computer using currently available hardware.  The number of serviceable systems may widely differ when using a single physical computer/single system approach or when leveraging dozens of virtualized systems. However the capabilities of IT personnel and administrators are not unlimited and expanding number of virtualized systems may cause a significant work backlogs.

Another thing to consider is that there are many different types of virtualization software. The main vendors are VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle, who offer incompatible solutions with many versions: enterprise or home user; bundled to the OS or independent; copyrighted by license or open-sourced. Managing and transferring data between these environments can be highly complex and nerve-wracking if things go awry.

These vendors naturally provide instruments for data management, migration, and conversion on virtual machines, but there are few vendor independent software tools that support all types of virtual machines. Administrators are typically faced with using many different tools simultaneously to perform tasks such as copying files between VM’s or virtual disk conversions.

Additionally, a typical VM is a complex environment that completely copies the physical computer’s partitions, file systems, one or several operating systems, software and data. On each level a special type of management is needed, which may or may not be provided by the VM software. If you recently installed all the necessary utilities, tools and management software to one or several physical machines, now you have to repeat this process with many virtualized clones. Having software that provides tools for the external management of data on dozens of VM’s from an original single copy is quite handy.

In brief, the major virtualized system management issues are the following: efficient management of a large number of virtual machines  using a limited number of physical servers; the need to support data transfer and management between different types of VM’s; and the need for universal data management tools that can service as many VM’s from the outside physical world as possible.

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Drive Copy 10 Giveaway

MakeUseOf.com is giving away 100 licenses of Drive Copy 10 Personal. Drive Copy is a great utility for upgrading hard drives, creating a single image of your computer for recovery if the PC crashes, and many others. If you would like to grab a free copy, head over to MakeUseOf.com and read the post.

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Added Bonus:

They are giving away our personal version that will not work on servers.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Drive Copy 10 Server, Go HERE.

A Major Problem With Solid State Drives (SSD)

The Misaligned partitions problem is even more important for SSD drives than for traditional hard disk drives. Many modern SSD drives have an internal memory page size 4096 bytes or larger accordingly to 4K size, which are some analogue for 4K sectors. Thus all previously mentioned problems are the same for SSD partitions alignment.

This issue of SSD misalignment was highlighted in a recent OCZ forum where it was stated:

Take note here, partition alignment with SSD is the most important factor you have to deal with when installing your new drive. Tuning the drive’s alignment can add 30 to 50% more performance so failing to apply the correct alignment could ruin the experience you have with the drive.

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There is one crucial SSD issue besides file system speed decline (which is not so noticeable in comparison to traditional HDD). It is the SSD memory cells degradation after some amount of write operations. So if partitions on SSD are misaligned beside downgraded system speed you put your solid state drive in danger. After partitions alignment, PAT eliminates all redundant read/write operations and thus provides speed boost and grants the SSD a longer lifetime.

Is SSD alignment an issue for you? Find out here. Read the rest of Why Misaligned Partitions are a Problem for SSD.

Prepare For A Storage Explosion

We have the good fortune of having opportunities to contribute our insights to readers of popular online editorials like Processor.com. We have been featured by Processor.com for everything from how web development businesses use our products to the challenges to disaster recovery and even the power of partitioning.

This is the most recent article that we were able to contribute to. We were asked to respond to a series of questions related to storage and the growing trend of virtualization.

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Adaptive Restore Week

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About two weeks ago I had a computer crash. Not just a bad virus or other corruption but my PC gave me the dreaded blue screen of death and nothing I seemed to do was going to bring my PC back from the dead. I had a recent backup image of my computer. I was using Drive Backup scheduled for an image on a weekly basis but that alone wasn’t going to help since I was going to need a completely new computer to replace the one that was fried. Granted it was time to buy a new computer, the one that died was on it’s last leg and was over 3 years old.

I ordered a new PC online and when it was delivered I wanted all of my old data to be on the new machine. I was sure that our product had functionality to do this but wasn’t exactly sure how it worked or how difficult it would be since I was now using a completely new set of hardware. I asked my favorite Tech Support rep how hard it would be to restore my computer on the new hardware and he just about  laughed at me. He explained that with Paragons Adaptive Restore, I could restore my backup image onto ANY computer and it would be just as easy as running a regular restore with one minor adjustment. Adaptive Restore would do the rest automatically.

What does Adaptive Restore do?

Here is the explanation of what Adaptive Restore does given on our website.

  • Change of the Windows kernel settings according to the new configuration. We detect the given hardware profile and automatically install the appropriate Windows HAL and kernel.
  • Installation of drivers for boot critical devices. We detect those without drivers and automatically try to install lacking drivers from the built-in Windows repository. If there’s no driver in the repository, we prompt the user to set a path to an additional driver repository, strongly recommending not to proceed until all drivers for the found boot critical devices are installed. In case drivers for these devices are installed, but disabled, they will be enabled.
  • Installation of drivers for a PS/2 mouse and keyboard. This action will only be accomplished for Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003.
  • Installation of drivers for network cards. We detect those without drivers and automatically try to install lacking drivers from the built-in Windows repository. If there’s no driver in the repository, we prompt the user to set a path to an additional driver repository.

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Announcing Adaptive Restore Week

Because of this personal success with Adaptive Restore I wanted to dedicate this as Adaptive Restore week. I figure if an application works this well, we should have a company holiday dedicated to it and share it with all of our readers. I can’t imagine spending time using a backup product that doesn’t include the functionality of restoring to a new machine out of the box. Drive Backup and Paragon’s Backup and Recovery Suite are the only applications on the market that include Adaptive Restore for free. The truth is that you don’t even need to pay for our backup software and can use Adaptive Restore for the price of a dinner out.

In appreciation of Adaptive Restore Week we are offering customers some great deals on our products.

Get Backup and Recovery for Free and buy the Adaptive Restore tool for $14.95

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Get the complete Backup and Recovery Suite for 30% off

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If you are looking for something in your business environment we have excellent business class backup solutions that you can get at a discount also.

Drive Backup 10 Server 30% off

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Drive Backup 10 Workstation 30% off

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* Corporate products and discount sold through an authorized Paragon Partner. Contact a reseller or us directly.

How to Search your iPod for Music and Video with Paragon HFS+ for Windows

Search your iPod for Music and Video anywhere with Paragon HFS+ for Windows Driver

If you have an iPod you may probably know that it contains all your music inside some sly hidden folders. And when you attach your iPod (excluding Touch models) to the system it can be seen as a simply Removable Flash Drive. It’s not a secret.

In case you use your iPod with iTunes under Windows, its internal volume is probably FAT32 formatted. This file system is native for any Windows OS. So you can simply check it’s contents for special folders and music and do whatever you want with them.

But things get worse if your iPod was configured and synchronized with iTunes under a Mac. In this case inside Windows you’ll see just another RAW volume, with contents you cannot access.

Paragon HFS+ for Windows driver can solve this problem. Let’s see how it can help you.

After the driver installation it will become deeply embedded to the operating system. If there were any HFS+ volumes on internal hard drives, they will become visible and accessible also. Any newly attached media with HFS+ partitions will be mounted automatically. So there are no special actions for you to take.

A Mac configured iPod contains the HFS+ volume and with the help of the newly added driver you will become able to manage all the data inside your player: music, video,  and files. As if  they were synchronized under Windows. Continue reading