Defragmentation specialist Diskeeper has begun shipping V-locity, a new optimisation and defragmentation tool designed for virtualised machines, but specifically targeted at maximising server speeds for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V environments.

The company's flagship Diskeeper tool is a defragmentation product originally developed for the VAX series of mainframe computers, and later for Windows. Indeed, the defragmenter program that Microsoft included with Windows 2000, 2003, and XP operating systems, was actually based on a basic version of Diskeeper. And the defragmenter tool included in Windows Vista, is also pretty much based on the same technology.

While Diskeeper was the first ever defragmenter certified for Hyper-V, the new V-locity product is described as a "performance optimiser". This tool specifically targets virtual environments and not only performs defragmentation functions, but also synchronises activity between the virtual host and multiple guest operating systems.

"In virtualised environments since resources are shared between various guest operating systems, resource usage becomes very more important," said Naveen Louis, technical director at Diskeeper Europe. "For example, an anti virus tool running on one guest, can take up all the resources, and other guests can be affected."

"V-locity is both an optimisation and defragmentation tool," he told Techworld. "It includes the defragment technology from our flagship product and ensures zero resource conflicts and better management of virtualised resources."

Essentially V-locity consists of two components, namely the V-locity Host, which is installed on a Windows Server 2008 running Hyper-V. The second component is V-locity Guest, which is installed on Windows virtual machines.

"The main feature is that once installed on the host, V-locity can monitor resource usage on all guest machines," said Louis. It includes the company's InvisiTasking processing technology, which monitors CPU usage, and can "inject defragmentation operations into idle resources (to ensure users can run the defrag option whilst the virtual machine is still running)."

"There is no scheduling of defragmentation for out of hours or the weekend, and it can run 24 hours a day," he said." Its industry tasking ensures that there are no resource conflicts, and it runs invisibly in the background."

V-locity also frees up vital storage resources by eliminating VHD "bloat".

"Usually, when the virtual disk for a guest OS is set up, it is usually static (where the IT manager defines the size)," said Louis. "But nowadays, more and more people are opting for dynamic resource usage, where it automatically adjusts disk size when it grows."

"The problem with the dynamic option is that the disk size grows automatically and when you delete files, holes are created and that freed space is not returned to the pool," he said. "People had to manually return that space back to the guest so that it can be used by other VHD files. Our tool monitors VHD files, and if there is a need for compression, it tells the IT manager and the V-locity host can do it for him."

Currently, V-locity is designed for Hyper-V, but Louis does not see why it cannot also be used for VMware and Citrix environments, although he admits they haven't got 'complete information' on that.

V-locity has been released to manufacturing, and a release to the public is expected on 9 June, but this is not finalised yet. There is currently no pricing information available, although this is expected nearer to its public release.