An increasingly important task for organizations and individuals alike, reliable data storage has become critical to both our personal and professional lives. Best described as the recording of digital information in a storage medium, data storage is now typically accomplished through electronic means.
The storage device itself is what enables a user to store large amounts of data in a relatively small physical space, in addition to making it easy to share that information with others. Capable of holding the data either temporarily or permanently, the variety of devices available is more diverse now than it has ever been before. Some may be common place, others are losing relevance, and there are a few options strictly for tech-savvy individuals and managed IT professionals.
Digital data storage devices have many uses. For example, computers usually depend upon information storage simply to complete their basic functions. Alternatively, storage media can also be used to back up important information to keep on reserve or have it a format that is easy to transport. Speaking of being easy to transport, some storage devices are also portable so that they can be used to transfer information from one computer to another.
Below are seven popular types of computer storage devices in history:
1. Hard disk drive
When it comes to understanding the different types of computer storage devices, a hard disk drive must be mentioned first and foremost. A hard disk drive (also known as a hard drive, HD, or HDD) can be found installed in almost every desktop computer and laptop. An HDD is the component of the computer that not only stores user documents such as photographs and text files.
This component is also responsible for all the required files for the operating system and software programs. In order to operate quickly and efficiently, HDDs use magnetic storage to record and retrieve digital information to and from one or more fast-spinning disks.
2. Floppy disk
This might be a bit of a blast from the past, but if for no other reason than their important role in shaping computer storage history, the floppy disk is worth mentioning. Also known as a diskette, floppy, or FD, this is another type of storage medium that uses magnetic storage technology to store information.
Although these types of computer storage devices are no longer commonly used, floppy disks were the standard in storage device for computers from the mid-1970’s through to the start of the 21st century.
3. DVD and Blu-ray discs
The DVD (digital versatile disc) and Blu-ray disc (BD) are formats of digital optical disc data storage which have superseded compact discs, mainly because of their much greater storage capacity. Although they are also being replaced by more advanced technology, they were quite revolutionary in their day, due to the fact that a Blu-ray disc can store 25 GB of data on a single-layer disc and 50 GB on a dual-layer disc.
Meanwhile, a standard CD, despite being the same physical size, is only able to hold 700 MB of digital data. While these used to be popular types of computer storage devices in the last decade, they have been slowly losing relevance over the last couple of years.
4. USB flash drive
Also known as a thumb drive, pen drive, flash-drive, memory stick, jump drive, and USB stick, these bite size devices are used daily by millions of people all around the world. Essentially a flash memory data storage device that incorporates an integrated USB interface, these are generally considered to be much more efficient and reliable than optical media.
Also, thanks to the fact that they are smaller, faster, and have greater storage capacity, they offer unparalleled convenience. Furthermore, they are super durable due to a lack of moving parts.
5. Secure digital card (SD Card)
Another common type of memory card, that can be used in digital cameras and mobiles phones, SD cards are a current standby when it comes to computer storage devices. Available in different sizes, classes, and capacities, these handy little cards all come in a rectangular design. These types of computer storage devices have one side slightly chipped off, in order to prevent the card from being inserted into the camera or other device the wrong way.
6. Solid state drive (SSD)
Also making use of flash memory technology, a solid-state drive is another variety of storage device and can be used with netbooks, laptop, and desktop computers instead of a traditional hard disk drive. One of the most significant advantages of an SSD over an HDD is that they feature a noticeable faster read/write speed, in addition to noiseless operation, greater reliability, and lower power consumption.
So why aren’t we all using these types of computer storage devices then? Well the biggest con when it comes to SSD is the price, which offers lower capacity when it comes to what kind of HDD you can get for the same price.
7. Cloud Storage
Last but certainly not least, you can’t talk about computer storage these days without mentioning the cloud. Due to the fact that most people are using many devices and want to be able to share data easily between them, the cloud has become essential.
Basically, cloud computing involves accessing services over a network via a collection of remote servers. Although the idea of a “cloud of computers” may sound abstract to those unfamiliar with this metaphorical concept, in practice it can provide tremendous storage solutions for devices that are connected to the internet.