A video server for providing Video-On-Demand is disclosed. A plurality of data sources are coupled individually to a first and second bi-directional data/instruction switch. The first switch is additionally coupled to a data storage system and the second switch is coupled to a network interface. A real time controller is coupled to the data sources and the switches and can couple any part of the data storage system to any selected data source and any given network channel to any selected data source. A control system coupled to the real time controller and the second switch provides support services to the real time controller and acts as a gateway to third party services and products. The data storage system is largely comprised of disk drive arrays. Video data is striped across the individual arrays, each video data program that a user requests being striped across one array. Each array provides video data to many users through the data sources. The video server is tolerant of individual failures in the data storage system and among the data sources, as operating portions of the data storage system and spare data sources can be rapidly switched to substitute for failed units. The server can also be readily expanded and provides a user experience similar to that of a video cassette recorder.