)Refers to the ability to access data at random. The opposite of random access is sequential access. To go from point A to point Z in a sequential-access system, you must pass through all intervening points. In a random-access system, you can jump directly to point Z. Disks are random access media, whereas tapes are sequential access media.
The terms random access and sequential access are often used to describe data files. A random-access data file enables you to read or write information anywhere in the file. In a sequential-access file, you can only read and write information sequentially, starting from the beginning of the file.
Both types of files have advantages and disadvantages. If you are always accessing information in the same order, a sequential-access file is faster. If you tend to access information randomly, random access is better.
Random access is sometimes called direct access.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »List of Free Shorten URL Services
A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015
The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »What Are Network Topologies?
Network Topology refers to layout of a network. How different nodes in a network are connected to each other and how they communicate is... Read More »