Meaning – The word cylinder, in the context of computing, refers to the assembly of magnetic disks, the set of all tracks that can be accessed by all the magnetic heads of a comb in a given position.
A cylinder also refers to the aggregate of all tracks that reside in the same location on every disk surface. On multiple-platter disks, the cylinder is the sum total of every track with the same track number on every surface.
When data is being stored on the system, the operating system fills an entire cylinder, before moving on to the next one. The access arm remains stationary until the process of reading or writing is completed.
In a modern hard diskdevice, the cylinder has a width of only a few microns, which is a great evolution from the past, where these cylinders were exponentially larger.
Example of usage – “A cylinder is two corresponding tracks on a fixed disk.”