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Storage: What is it?

Computer data storage often known as storage or memory is a technological process through which digital data is stored on a storage device, and recorded for an indefinite period of time. A storage device is a core function and fundamental component of any computer which holds the data and information temporarily or permanently; and it can also be external to a computer, server or any computing device. Storage is usually measured in multiples of bytes. Example: A hard drive with 256-gigabyte capacity holds approximately 256 billion bytes of information or characters.

Storage Devices:

Storage devices are also known as storage media or storage medium. They are core components of any computing device which virtually store all the applications data on a computer, except hardware or firmware. Storage devices are available in different forms depending on the requirements and the type of underlying device. A general computer consists of multiple storage devices including Cache, RAM, hard disk, optical disk drive and externally connected USB devices.

Storage devices are classified into two major types:

  • Primary Storage devicesare generally smaller in size, embedded internally to the computer and stores data temporarily.RAM (Random Access Memory) and cache memory are the examples of primary storage devices.

  • Secondary Storage devices— hold data permanently and have large storage capacity, ranging from megabytes to petabytes. Secondary storage devices are available as both internal and external part of a computer such as hard disk, USB storage devices, and compact disk or floppy disk drive.

When compared to secondary storage devices, primary storage devices are faster to access because of the adjacency of the devices to processor and nature of storage device. In other instance, secondary storage devices store large amounts of data than primary storages.

Mass Storage Devices (MSD)

Mass Storage Devices are any storage devices that allow storing and porting large amounts of data across computers, servers and within an IT environment. MSD is a portable storage media which acts as an interface for both internal and external components of a computer. The term MSD is commonly used to describe USB mass storage devices and primarily related to storage devices that facilitate permanent storage capacity.

MSDs are usually connected through USB ports or even Ethernet for storage area networks. Floppy disk drives, optical drives, tape drives, external hard drives, RAID and USB storage devices are the common MSDs. Generally, internal MSDs cannot be removed, whereas external MSDs are easy to remove; and port can be plugged into another computer.

Flash Drives

Flash drive is a small, ultra-portable storage device variously known as a thumb drive, USB sticks or pen drives. USB flash drives are removable, rewritable, faster and smaller in size.

SD Cards

SD cards are commonly used in smartphones, and digital cameras to store files such as photographs. Like USBs, SD cards can also be easily removed and accessed on other devices.


CDs and DVDs are similar in usage and configuration, but DVDs offer more storage capacity than CDs. CDs are used to store audio or program files, while DVDs are used to store video, audio or program files.


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