Types of Data Storage Technologies

All over the world we use Data Storage.

Data on hard drives in our devices, the cloud, on DVDs, CD-Roms, Thumb drives, flash drives and external hard drives.

And yet how much do we really understand about these technologies?

A little bit of knowledge can help you to determine which type of storage technology will work best for you.

Each type of Data Storage methods has Benefits & limitations.

This makes it easier to make decisions regarding what Type of data storage method is best for you.

Types of Data Storage

There are three levels of data storage used by computers, beginning with the most basic one, which is RAM, or Rapid Access Memory storage.

Random Access Memory

RAM is a type of volatile memory.

You will use this type of storage when accessing programs on your computer or device.

RAM is best when ningprograms because it is designed to have high speed but only a moderate amount of memory capacity.

RAM does not save data – it only uses what it needs to run programs.

Effectively it is Temporary Data Storage while you use your Device.

RAM needs a continuous supply of energy to function and save Data.

All data not saved to a hard drive or other storage device is lost if your device loses power.

Read Only Memory

ROM memory is a type of non-volatile memor and is used in the hard drive of your computer

iROM is also used in external hard drives and in many other storage applications especially for Operating Systems.

Data is burned onto the chips in ROM, and cannot be erased or altered very easily, if at all.

The data can be read and it is accessible much faster than RAM memory which makes it Ideal for OS Systems.

The types of data we use ROM for are programs such as Windows OS which is used to perform all the basic functions that make your computer work.

ROM is used for any program that needs to run the same way all the time – a calculator program is a good example of ROM use, as it never needs to be updated.

Tertiary Memory

There is also tertiary memory which is a type of  near-line storage.

Near Line Memory uses a mechanical device to access physical storage devices such as CDs or tapes with data stored on them.

The computer tells the tertiary storage device It Wants.

The Teriary Systems then finds the CD it needs, and the device finds and loads that CD, unloading and returning it to storage when the operation is complete.

Tertiary storage is an interesting concept, but it is irrelevant to most of our purposes since it is only used in very specialized computer systems.

Data Storage Memory

The physical properties of data storage devices differ, but the main purpose is the same.

CD Roms

CD-Roms can be used for tertiary storage or for off-line storage, but because they store data by physically burning it into the surface of the disc, a scratched disc can mean the destruction of some or all of the data stored on it.

Some CDs can be erased and rewritten, others cannot.

Flash Memory

Flash memory is yet another kind of data storage method.

It is used in smartphones and other small devices with big computing power, and it is ideal for this application because of the unique way in which it stores information.

Flash memory uses electronically erasable programmable read-only memory – also known as EEPROM.

Flash Memory allows large blocks of data to be erased and written over “in a flash” – hence the name.

There are a lot of advantages to this type of information storage with Speed being the primary improvement.

Advances in Flash Memory technology have allowed the memory capacity to increase while the price decreased.

The main drawback to flash memory is that after writing and rewriting data hundreds of thousands of times, the memory chip can begin to malfunction and lose or misplace data.

In most cases, regular updates are used to ensure that flash memory remains functional.

The types of devices that use flash memory are things like solid state drives, USB flash drives, and memory cards, as well as GPS devices, and digital cameras.

All of these small devices benefit greatly from the fact that flash memory takes up very little space,

Flash memory allows for its successful installation in very small devices.

Smartphones can have an amount of computing power that could hardly have been imagined forty years ago.

What is Next for Data Storage

Data storage technologies have come a long way from the days of the 3.5” floppy disc.

Today’s forward-looking technology experts are learning to use DNA storage, molecular storage, and other new forms of data storage possibilities.

Considering all these advances one of the things that I find most curious about data storage is that old school methods are still huge.

After all these years, tape Storage is still the absolute bottom-line backup for many of our biggest companies.

Tape Data Storage is still the safest, most reliable, and least expensive way to back up data.

Sadly it is not easily available to the General Population.

Go figure.

Data Storage and Recovery is a large topic, to keep going:
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