What Is Data Storage?

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Data storage describes what type of, where, and how hardware or software holds, deletes, backs up, organizes, and secures information. This includes keeping data in temporary or permanent storage. The digitization of manufacturing, known as Industry 4.0, is a good example of how the enormous volumes of data, real-time analysis, and quickness drive innovation and increase data storage demands. 

The simplicity of using a paper punch card to hold data has long gone by the wayside. Today data can be stored not only on hard disks, memory cards, and DVDs but also in the cloud, and on atoms and DNA. Consider these questions to better understand what data storage is:

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  • What type of thing holds the data? For example, data can sit on hard disks, flash drives, Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) systems, and DNA. A virtual software-defined infrastructure also may hold data.
  • Where is the data stored? For example, data can be stored on-premise, in server farms, on the Internet of Things (IoT), or through a data storage service, as a cloud provider.
  • How is the data stored? For example, solid-state drives use “electronically programmable and erasable memory microchips” to store data. Other storage devices may use LightStore, an environmentally friendly technology, or flash memory, an ”electronic, non-volatile data storage medium that is erased and reprogrammed electrically” to store data.

Other Definitions of Data Storage Include:

  • “The ability to keep all potentially valuable data assets around, organized, and protected as information volumes explode.” (Jennifer Zaino)
  • The infrastructure needed to deal with the information wished to be kept. (Amber Lee Dennis)
  • “Information storage-related hardware and software technologies.” (Gartner)
  • An architecture delivering “high I/O throughput and data availability.” (Forbes)
  • “Making data readily available to users in real-time.” (TechRepublic)

Data Storage Use Cases Include:

Image Credit: Science X
  • Increasing the capacity for deep learning datasets
  • Adding data storage to a military drone so that it can use edge computing
  • Using online data storage for more valuable marketing and sales data
  • Keeping high volumes of video data for analysis
  • Preserving readable information on a strand of DNA

Businesses Use Data Storage to:

  • Hold large quantities of data
  • Secure information
  • Transport data from one location to another
  • Keep from losing data
  • Enable artificial intelligence (AI)
Image Credit: TechCrunch

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