New Technology Drives Agency Efficiency
By Ara C. Trembly
Technology vendors continue to work overtime to come up with new devices and software to make life in the agency office easier and, most importantly, more productive and efficient.
For this special issue on Technology in the Agency, weve culled out some notable products that should help agents and brokers run their operations better.
Executive Software, Burbank, Calif., has introduced a new product to deal with a task that burns both staff time and computer time–defragmenting hard disks and other storage sources.
When a computer copies information to its hard drive, it tends to put that information wherever space exists on the disk, without regard to keeping related data together. Over time, that can mean that a large file can be broken into literally thousands of fragments. To retrieve such a file, drive head readers must skip around to all the places the fragments exist on the disk in order to produce the entire file. As more fragmentation occurs, files take longer to access.
Defragmenting is the process of reorganizing the disk to put the fragments into an order that allows faster retrieval. Microsoft Windows provides a utility program to do defragmenting, but it requires the user to initiate the process, and defragmenting can take considerable time and computer resources.
“Disk fragmentation is the hidden bottleneck that chokes the speed of Windows servers and workstations,” says Executive. “The only way to maximize the system is to eliminate fragmentation entirely–something that a manual defragmenter simply cant do.”
Executive says its new software product, Diskeeper 8.0, “keeps systems working at maximum speed automatically. No administrator intervention is required–just set it and forget it.”
The company claims that systems administrators who implement Diskeeper across their networks “consistently report an increase in system speed and a decrease in help desk calls. Furthermore, the added speed allows them to extend the life of workstations and servers by as much as 2 years.”
According to Executive, the new software provides faster, more efficient defragmenting engines designed specifically for the users operating system. It also provides rapid defragmentation of “volumes with millions of files and from 100GB [gigabytes] to 4 terabytes each.”
A new user interface has been designed to allow fast and easy scheduling and access to features, the company says. “Quick tabs graphically display performance gains achieved with defragmentation,” Executive notes. The software also evaluates the condition of a users disk against documented factors known to affect disk reliability and stability.
Networked and stand-alone editions of Diskeeper 8.0 are available, says Executive. Pricing for the Professional Edition begins at $49.95 (street price), while the server standard edition pricing begins at $259, said a spokesperson for the company.
A free 30-day trialware edition is available at the companys Web site, www.executive.com.
SurfControl, Scotts Valley, Calif., has just announced the launch of SurfControl E-mail Filter for Exchange 2003, which it says is the only e-mail filtering product that can be easily integrated with Microsofts Exchange 2003 mail server platform.
According to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, Exchange 2003 enables information workers to gain access to critical business communications almost whenever and wherever they need to and is designed to deliver greater security, availability and reliability. Exchange 2003 offers low total cost of ownership by helping information technology (IT) staff to do more with less through improved management tools, the company notes.