A video file server includes an integrated cached disk array storage subsystem and a plurality of stream server computers linking the cached disk storage subsystem to a data network for the transfer of video data streams. The video file server further includes a server controller for applying an admission control policy to client requests and assigning stream servers to service the client requests. The stream servers include a real-time scheduler for scheduling isochronous tasks, and supports at least one industry standard network file access protocol and one file access protocol for continuous media file access. The cached disk storage subsystem is responsive to video prefetch commands, and the data specified for a prefetch command for a process are retained in an allocated portion of the cache memory from the time that the cached disk storage subsystem has responded to the prefetch command to the time that the cached disk storage subsystem responds to a fetch command specifying the data for the process. The time between prefetching and fetching is selected based on available disk and cache resources. The video file server provides video-on-demand service by maintaining and dynamically allocating sliding windows of video data in the random access memories of the stream server computers.