Use SDelete command line to zero free space? Just say no

Sometimes, the simplest of concepts become problematic when applied to the real world. Recovering space from a thin provisioned drive is an example.

To zero fill a thin provisioned disk drive in order to reclaim unused free space, you typically need to use a command-line utility such as SDelete.

So, SDelete with the -z option is a zero fill, or sdelete -z c:.

Seems simple enough.

Prone to Human Error, Resource Intensive, and Time Consuming

But using SDelete is no simple task. You can’t just blindly issue SDelete, at least not in a production environment on critical drives. There are all kinds of havoc that could cause, including failed applications and services, which would lead to a cascading effect of disgruntled users, system problems, and calls to the help desk.

PerfectStorage -- solution to the problem of command line for space reclamationUsing SDelete needs to be done in a smart way to not interfere with your users and production environment. This means a storage or system administrator typically needs to write a script to ensure the SDelete command is issued properly. For example, all applications and services first need to be shut down so that their free space requirements will be met. That’s because SDelete will consume all available free space —  meaning it’s not available to any other application or service — that’s why they need to be shut down.

And it’s not just writing the script, maintaining the script and ensuring you run the script — although those are all cumbersome and time-consuming chores.  It’s also the fact that a typical command line utility — like SDelete — is going to do the bare minimum in terms of functionality. There’s nothing proactive about it. It’s a big guessing game, from when it’s time to use it and how much space you actually might recover.

An SDelete Alternative

In today’s world, having to use such an archaic piece of code really seems misplaced. It seems misplaced in this world of simple-to-use GUIs. Although, I do know there are some people that say they couldn’t live without certain command line tools. One could argue that a command line utility gives you the most flexibility. But it doesn’t have to be that way, if a replacement tool offers even more than the command line.

And so it is with using a command line utility such as SDelete to zero free space on your thin provisioned drives. As is apparent from the code above, this way of doing things is just not efficient and requires constant monitoring.

All this changes with PerfectStorage. All of the manual checks, the manual commands, the guessing of when to try to recover space and whether there is significant space to recover goes away.

  • Automation.
  • Accurate forecasting of available storage.
  • No guessing and hoping.

PerfectStorage…coming soon.

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