The Difference Between Jukeboxes and CD/DVD Servers
Archive Data or Read Data? That's the question.
by Dennis

ďOK whatís the difference between a jukebox and a CD/DVD Server?Ē  Thatís one of the most frequently asked questions we get. The answer is that the jukebox is best for archiving (or writing) data, while the CD/DVD Server is best for reading data. This sounds simple enough, but it may get more complicated when you try to decide what is right for your specific application. This article attempts to make things clearer, and provide some suggestions to help you select the right product for your application.

Jukeboxes for Archiving:
A jukebox is excellent for archiving data to CD or DVD discs because it contains multiple drives that allow you to write data to discs. Jukeboxes hold from 100 to over 600 discs. DVD disc technology can be confusing because there are a number of different DVD disc specifications. For example there are DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM and more types of discs. Weíre not going to cover the differences between all these technologies in this article, but it turns out you donít have to decide what type of disc technology you will use because the latest jukebox will handle all of them. For example, the JVC Jukeboxes come with multi-function drives that allow you to write all the different types of discs.

Jukeboxes connect to a Windows 200X or UNIX server using special software.  Users on the network can copy or drag and drop data to the server which automatically transfers the data to a CD or DVD disc in the jukebox. Once data is written to the discs, it can be accessed by users on the network. The software also provides many other functions that make it easy to archive data.  For example, PoINT Jukebox Manager offers an effective way to combine several media into one logical volume. These groups of media, Volume Sets, appear as a single shared file folder to the file system. Files and directories can be spread over these media using File Spanning. Additionally, to fulfill safety requirements for the physical separation of disks, an automatic copy of Volume Set media can be created.

All the jukeboxes work best when only a few users need to access the discs at the same time. Small jukeboxes have only one or two multi-function drives, so only one or two users can share the jukebox at the same time. If additional users want to use a new disc, they have to wait for the disc to be swapped by the robotics in the jukebox. This takes from 4 to 9 seconds. Larger jukeboxes have six or more drives, so more users can simultaneously access the different discs.  

New jukeboxes are being released with the latest high capacity optical drives with optical discs that hold over 25GB of data.  There are a number of competing technologies coming to market such as Blu-ray Discs (Sony), HD-DVD (Toshiba), and UDO (Plasmon). It is still too early to tell which technology will become the most popular.

CD/DVD Servers for reading discs:
The CD/DVD Server is the best device for sharing CD or DVD data on the network. There are towers with individual drives and Turbo Servers that use hard drives to store the content of all your discs.

Towers contain a number of individual CD/DVD-ROM drives, and are used when you have a small number of discs that are updated very frequently. For example, the model CDVD I8840X-8200, contains seven CD/DVD drives and a built-in thin server that attaches directly to your network hub. This tower/server is very easy to install and use. It appears as a server on the network, and runs independently of your network server. Each disc appears as a folder. Itís very easy to load and unload the discs from each drive, making it ideal for applications that have frequent disc updates.

The TurboPlus CD/DVD Server is the best way to make a large number of CDs and DVDs available to network users. The TurboPlus server provides the most cost effective solution for 14 to over 1,000 CD or DVD discs. The TurboPlus server uses built-in hard drives to hold (or cache) the content of all the discs, so it provides very fast access to the data. You can choose models with CD/DVD-ROM drives or CD/DVD-Recorders.

Loading the discs is automatic, and easy to do. It takes about 2 minutes to copy each CD. To load a disc, just insert it into the built-in CD/DVD-ROM drive. The server automatically copies the disc to the hard drives, and when itís done, ejects the disc. Keep loading the discs until you are done. The data is kept in the same read-only format as on the CD or DVD-ROM disc so the user doesnít see any difference between the actual CD or DVD-ROM disc and the image stored in the hard drive. The server provides an easy to install, multi-protocol direct connection to your 10/100/1000 Base Ethernet network.  It attaches to Macintosh, UNIX NFS as well as Window networks. It is even compatible with Microsoft ADS. The server can be administered using a web browser. 

Beyond the CD/DVD Server:
The latest CD/DVD Servers do much more than provide CD/DVD disc sharing.  They can also be used to store and retrieve (R/W) any data. The server appears as Network Attached Storage (NAS) to the users. The hot-swap hard drives can be arranged in a RAID configuration providing a very reliable place to store your data. 

For more help selecting the right device take a look at the following server comparison table.

Comparison Chart

CD Server

Disc Capacity



Hard Disk Caching

Drive Type

Data Archive



Data Transfer Rate

Access Time




CD/DVD Tower

Up to 7


4 MB/sec*

85 msec







40 MB/sec*

9 msec





100 - 600


5 MB/sec*

5 - 8 sec




* Single user on 1,000 Mb/sec network

Need more information?  Please give us a call at 1-800-431-1658 or 914-944-3425. You can also contact us for more information.

Published by Bob Mesnik
Copyright © 2006 Kintronics, Inc.. All rights reserved.
For more information, please contact us 1-800-431-1658 or 914-944-3425 (outside the USA) or by email infohome at kintronics.com
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