For some time, the editors have been expressing concern about possible poor performance of CD-ROM drives on a LAN (local area network). Suitable benchmarks for projecting performance have not been apparent. Recently, we heard that Meridian Data, Inc., was conducting benchmark tests on its CD-LAN, the most popular of the CD-ROM network products. Meridian only tested one aspect: the ability of a network to support "concurrent" or simultaneous users accessing different CD-ROM drives. In the test, the load was created by measuring the search time against one Dialog data base disk on a single workstation, while having three other workstations simultaneously doing a continuous search and title or name display of extremely large data sets, each targeted to a different CD-ROM. Performance of the devices on the network was good, with response time dropping by as little as ten percent as additional users were added.
However, we still want to know what happens when several users seek to access the same CD-ROM drive concurrently? That is more to the point, because libraries are apt to put CD-ROM products on networks because they are popular, and therefore likely to be accessed by multiple concurrent users.
Anyone with benchmark results on users accessing the same CD-ROM on a network is invited to contact Contributing Editor, Richard W. Boss, at ISCI.