Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » R »

random access

random access

)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.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
It's Happening Now: Perceptual Computing is Real

Perceptual computing is the ability for a computer to recognize what is going on around it. More specifically, the computer can perceive the... Read More »

Apple Pay Promises to Strengthen Payment Security

Experts believe that Apple Pay and other competitive payment systems will be far more secure than cards, even cards equipped with EMV chips. Read More »

The Great Data Storage Debate: Is Tape Dead?

Tape clearly is on the decline. But remember, legacy systems can hang for a shockingly long time. Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
Network Fundamentals Study Guide

A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »

Computer Architecture Study Guide

This Webopedia  study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »

Webopedia Polls

The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »