What is a Magneto-Optical Drive?

Malcolm Tatum

Magneto-optical (MO) drives are generally understood to be the one of the most popular methods of data storage for many businesses. Using cartridges that are very similar in appearance to the older 3.5 inch diskettes that were popular in the 1990’s, the magneto-optical drive provides a means of storing huge amounts of data in a very small storage unit. Unlike the older diskettes, the cartridges that fit into an MO drive typically hold up to several gigabytes of information with no problem.

MO discs serve as a backup in case something happens to an internal hard drive.
MO discs serve as a backup in case something happens to an internal hard drive.

Part of what helps to make the magneto-optical drive so efficient is that configuration of the device. MO drives make use of a dual method to read and write data to the cartridge. Both lasers and a head configured with read and write ability scan and save the data onto the cartridge. The amount of time required to scan and process information with a magneto-optical drive is actually much quicker than some older methods of backing up files, such as tape backups or even the use of CDR backups. Because the capacity on a single cartridge is so great, there is no need to use multiple units to capture and store the data, even when copying huge data files.

The magneto-optical drive is equally efficient when moving data back to a server or computer. Just as with the older diskettes, the process for reloading data from a cartridge requires nothing more than loading the cartridge, accessing the correct drive, and copying the selected files back onto the hard drive. As with the original storage, loading the data does not take a great deal of time in comparison to other methods, as the data does not have to go through a conversion process in order to be restored to an original format.

Another advantage to the cartridges used with a magneto-optical drive is the fact that they can be erased and reused multiple times, just like most other types of storage devices. For companies that choose to copy key data files on a daily basis and keep them in storage for only a limited amount of time, this means the older cartridges can be wiped and used again, cutting down on expenses associated with archiving important data.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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