Sequential access is the reading or writing of data records in sequential order, that is, one record after the other. To read record 10, for example, you would first need to read records 1 through 9. This differs from random access, in which you can read and write records in any order.
Sequential Access in Programming
Some programming languages and operating systems distinguish between sequential-access data files and random-access data files, allowing you to choose between the two types. Sequential-access files are faster if you always access records in the same order. Random-access files are faster if you need to read or write records in a random order.
Other Sequential Classifications
Devices can also be classified as sequential access or random access. For example, a tape drive is a sequential-access device because to get to point q on the tape, the drive needs to pass through points a through p. A disk drive, on the other hand, is a random-access device because the drive can access any point on the disk without passing through all intervening points.
Recommended Reading: Webopedia's random access definition.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Like everything in technology, AI touches on so many other trends, like self-driving cars and automation, and Big Data and the Internet of Things... Read More »DevOp's Role in Application Security
As organizations rush to release new applications, security appears to be getting short shrift. DevSecOps is a new approach that holds promise. Read More »Slideshow: Easy Editorial SEO Tips to Boost Traffic
This slideshow reviews five easy on-page editorial SEO tips to help drive organic search engine traffic, including the page title, heading,... Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »