Magazine article Information Today

How Are CD-ROM Products Being Networked to Broaden Access to Information

Magazine article Information Today

How Are CD-ROM Products Being Networked to Broaden Access to Information

Article excerpt

How are CD-ROM products being networked to broaden access to information?

The ability to make CD-ROM-based information available A. able to multiple users over a network is starting to impact the marketplace. Today's CD-ROM users, particularly those experiencing productivity gains from vertical applications, are driving this trend.

In the early going, users depended on special hardware/software systems to place CD-ROMs on a network. While these systems are still appropriate for some applications, recent enhancements to Microsoft MD-DOS CD-ROM Extensions version 2.1 now enable you to connect a CD-ROM drive as a shared device on a PC network server This approach utilizes the Microsoft Networks (MS-NET) interface employed in networks such as Hewlett-Packard's HP Office Share or Ungermann-Bass NET/ONE. Both approaches share one key characteristic - with appropriate licensing, they allow the cost of CD-ROM drive, software, and CD-ROM information to be defrayed across all the members of the LAN workgroup. As a result, the users on a network share a CD-ROM drive much like a shared hard disk drive or laser printer.

We continue to see more talk than action. This is one area A. where customers and users are ahead of the industry. Customers already have installed networks for everything from word processing to inter library loan programs.

There are two very real problems that we all are struggling with: How can we deal with the performance problems of a medium that is essentially a slow single-user technology in a large network environment? and How can we support the variety of hardware and software network platforms in the marketplace?

The response-time solution that DEC demonstrated several years ago may still be the most practical. One can create a network that includes multiple file servers, hand several CD-ROM drives off each one, and have duplicates of frequently accessed CD services on the respective servers.

DEC's strategic positioning of their minicomputer business has raised another interesting solution. As PC-based net-works become more powerful, and their applications more complex, their implementation approaches the technical challenge involved in creating a minicomputer application

I don't mean to single out DEC, and we have never done any work for them; the examples simply demonstrate that partnerships with hardware and software developers may solve both problems. …

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