Optical jukeboxes offer higher performance than tape libraries at a lower cost than disk-drive arrays. But the choice isn't just to run out, buy an optical jukebox and manage it with whatever software you can grab. When selecting software to manage your optical library there are several things to keep in mind, according to Digital Storage Solutions (
The software should cache the disk directory tree in addition to most frequently used files. This can save a significant amount of access time because the directory can be read much more quickly from the cache than from the optical disk itself. Directory caching also reduces wear on the jukebox components.
And jukebox-management software should be able to support more than one jukebox so you can add jukeboxes as your storage requirements grow. To help support future growth, it also helps to choose a management package that allows you to remove disks from the jukebox and store them off line. When the off-line disks are needed the software should prompt to get the disks back in the jukebox.
If you need to support multiple optical media formats, such as WORM (Write Once, Read Many) and erasable media on the same jukebox, make sure the software can handle multiple formats. Many jukeboxes can be fitted with more than one type of optical drive, but not all software supports more than one media type per jukebox.
Digital Storage Solutions has a list of tips for buying jukeboxes at: www.opticaljukeboxes.com/Tips_for_buying_Jukebox_Management_Software.htm.
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
This was first published in September 2002