Jukebox Management Software
Jukeboxes Managed: CD (read only), MO, WORM
Disc Formats: CD – all Windows formats; MO –NTFS, FAT
Clients Supported: Windows, Unix, VMS
The latest version of OptiStorm is a good general-purpose jukebox management system with a much improved user interface over earlier versions. Ease of use makes it an Editor’s choice for MO and WORM use. Installation of OptiStorm was simple under Windows NT (KOM supports Unix and VMS as well). OptiStorm comes on just tow floppy disks, but I couldn’t get the license key to activation the software until KOM’s technical team was sure I wouldn’t have problems driving the Hewlett-Packard 400ex jukebox used in our last test. OptiStorm had no problems driving the jukebox.
The explorer-like administration window (KOM calls it the OptiStorm Manager) is straightforward. The functions of the first six buttons Import, Export, Create Virtual Disk, Create Cache, mount and Dismount, are all duplicated under the Function menu. The View menu and the rest of the buttons let you specify how information is presented in OptiStorm’s window. The Properties menu gives you direct access to statistics and all the elements of your jukeboxes and the OptiStorm software. You can get the same information by double clicking on the devices in the icon view.
One of the major improvements to OptiStorm is the ability to assign drive letters from within the administrator. This lets you mount individual volumes on a server without having to mount an entire jukebox. From the system administrator’s point of view, it is more convenient to assign drive letters as volumes are mounted and it improves overall security since only mounted volumes are available to users. Permissions and user groups are assigned to volumes as they ar mounted. Other systems, like Ixos Jukeman and Smart Storage Smart CD, turn the jukebox into a single drive letter with each disc appearing as a sub-folder. With systems like these you have to leave the jukebox administrator and use Windows to group discs together. With OptiStorm, you add discs to the system by clicking on the Import button. Once in the jukebox, you assign a piece of media to a virtual disc. Virtual discs can be as small as a single surface or span many surfaces.
With OptiStorm, you format virtual discs, not individual pieces of media. If your virtual disc is composed of many surfaces you will not be able to mount individual discs on a standalone drive or in a jukebox unless you have OptiStorm running. Just as pieces of media are imported and exported, virtual discs are mounted and un-mounted. You can export a virtual disc, in which all of the discs making up the virtual disc are ejected from the jukebox.
Another major improvement made to OptiStorm is the ability to set up cache files on any hard disc. Earlier versions required a dedicated hard disc that received a proprietary format. The new caching scheme lets you designate a cache file on any hard disc on-line.
OptiStorm scales with your operating system, according to Richard Game, KOM’s vice president of sales and marketing. “The number of users is limited only by the band-width of the network,” says Game. “Running under Unix or VMS, OptiStorm scales up enough for large government organizations and Fortune 1000 companies.”
Of the products reviewed in this article, OptiStorm was one of the best when it came to balancing simplicity and ease of management with comprehensive functionality and user control. The user interface allows complete control over the jukebox manager’s functions, including assigning discs to slots and to virtual discs, without forcing the user to micromanage every aspect of jukebox operation unless they want to make file adjustments.
One of the major improvements to OptiStorm the ability to assign drive letters from within the administrator. This lets you mount individual volumes without mounting the entire jukebox.