An apparatus and method for disk mapping and data retrieval includes a data storage medium on which has been stored a plurality of data records. Each record includes at least a record identification portion, for uniquely identifying each record from among the plurality of data records. The apparatus builds a record locator table and high speed semiconductor memory which comprises the unique record identifiers for the records on the storage medium as well as a record locator index generated by the apparatus, which indicates the address of the data record on the storage medium. Data retrieval is facilitated by first searching the record locator table in high speed semiconductor memory for a requested data record. Utilizing the record locator index associated with the reqested data record, the system directly accesses the requested data record on the storage medium thereby minimizing storage medium search time. Also disclosed is an apparatus and method for converting CKD formatted data records to FBA formatted disk drives and for building and compressing the "count" portion of the CKD data formatted record into a record locator table.