Magnetic Drum

A direct-access, or random-access, storage device. A magnetic drum, also referred to as drum, is a metal cylinder coated with magnetic iron-oxide material on which data and programs can be stored. Magnetic drums were once used as a primary storage device but have since been implemented as auxiliary storage devices.

The tracks on a magnetic drum are assigned to channels located around the circumference of the drum, forming adjacent circular bands that wind around the drum. A single drum can have up to 200 tracks. As the drum rotates at a speed of up to 3,000 rpm, the device’s read/write heads deposit magnetized spots on the drum during the write operation and sense these spots during a read operation. This action is similar to that of a magnetic tape or disk drive.

Unlike some disk packs, the magnetic drum cannot be physically removed. The drum is permanently mounted in the device. Magnetic drums are able to retrieve data at a quicker rate than tape or disk devices but are not able to store as much data as either of them.

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Related Articles

10 Quick Tips For Social Media Marketing

10 Quick Tips for Social Media Marketing Social Media Defined: Social media is a phrase used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and...

Digital Advertising

What is Digital Advertising? Digital advertising is marketing to a target audience through digital platforms, including social media, email, search engines, mobile apps, affiliate programs,...

E-Commerce

E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is online-conducted business, including marketing, sales, and fulfillment. Consumers and businesses place and track orders at least partially through the...

Virtualization Software

Virtualization software is a digital solution used to create an abstraction layer for hardware. The software creates multiple instances, or virtual machines (VMs), that...

ScalaHosting

ScalaHosting is a leading managed hosting provider that offers secure, scalable, and affordable...

HRIS

Human resources information system (HRIS) solutions help businesses manage multiple facets of their...

Best Managed Service Providers...

In today's business world, managed services are more critical than ever. They can...