The lowdown on jukeboxes

What are they? Optical jukeboxes contain optical drives, storage shelves with hundreds or thousands of disks and software-driven robotic arms that instantly retrieve data from any of the disks in the system. The systems listed in this guide contain 5.25-inch media.

How are they used? They are used mostly for near-line storage, for data that need not be accessed frequently.

What is their best use? Optical jukeboxes are often used as part of a document imaging or management system that contains the jukebox, a scanner, several PCs or workstations, large monitors for viewing documents and a printer.

Are they scalable? Extremely. Many of the products in this guide can handle between several hundred and almost 2,000 disks, and can be outfitted with dozens of drives to manage the data flow.

Must-know info? There are three types of 5.25 optical technologies to reckon with: Multifunction magneto-optical (MO), CD and DVD. All three types come with different drives and media that allow users to read, write or rewrite data. The newest jukeboxes can handle several types of drives and media simultaneously.

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