I work for a law firm that subscribes to several vendors who provide legal data (archived and updated) on CD-ROM. We have a CD-ROM tower with seven bays. The information on the CD-ROMs is shared from this tower to the network. The number of CD-ROMs my firm subscribes to recently increased to 10. I knew I needed to make all 10 CD-ROMs available because the attorneys often make decisions based on the latest legal rulings that these CD-ROMs contain, but I couldn't accommodate the 3 extra CD-ROMs in the tower.

A potential solution was to purchase a 20-bay tower, but management frowned at the $2400 price. I knew that most CD-ROMs don't use their entire 650MB capacity, so I decided to use 25GB of free disk space on one of our Windows NT 4.0 servers to share the CD-ROMs on the network. I made an image copy of each CD-ROM on the server's hard disk. Then, I created a folder for each CD-ROM. I placed the image copy of each CD-ROM in the corresponding folder on the server's hard disk. I then shared these folders on the network. I used permissions to limit certain CD-ROMs to specific departments. I even used the logon script to map some folders to drives.

I can now accommodate at least 30 CD-ROMs. In addition, users experience increased speed accessing the CD-ROMs because the 10,000rpm SCSI hard disk is faster than the 40X CD-ROM drive. My new system has been working well for several months, and management is happy that I improved performance without spending money.