In a few words
Data storage helps save digital data and information. Data storage is the physical or electronic means used to store and later retrieve data, files and information. Storage is not only necessary for saving files, but also for running tasks and applications.
Storage in the computer system
Every desktop computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone has some kind of storage within it. There are also standalone, external storage drives that you can use across devices.
Although not a device in the strictest sense, cloud storage is the newest and most versatile type of storage for computers. The “cloud” is not a place or object, but a huge collection of servers housed in data centers around the world. When you store a document in the cloud, it is stored on these servers. Because cloud storage stores everything online, it doesn’t use any of your computer’s secondary storage space, so you can save space. Cloud storage offers much higher storage capacities than USB sticks and other physical options. This means you don’t have to trawl through every device to find the right file.
One of the most well-known types of flash memory devices is the USB flash drive. These small, portable storage devices, also known as thumb drives or memory sticks, have long been a popular choice for extra computer storage space. Before it was possible to share files quickly and easily online, USB flash drives were essential for easily transferring files from one device to another. However, they can only be used with devices that have a USB port. Most older computers have a USB port, while newer computers may require an adapter.
CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs are used for a lot more than playing music and videos—they also act as storage devices. Collectively they’re known as optical storage devices or optical media.
Let’s dive deeper
Data storage is divided into two categories: network-based storage and direct area storage.
Data storage devices can be referred to as static or dynamic data storage devices. Static storage devices are used to store data that remains constant or unchanging over time. For example, an optical device such as CDs or DVDs is a static storage device. Dynamic storage devices are used to store data that is constantly changing. Examples of dynamic storage include hard disk drives (HDD), solid-state drives (SSD), cloud storage and USB flash drives.
Direct attached storage (DAS)
Direct attached storage is any type of data storage that is connected directly to a computer. These storage devices are usually not accessible to other computers. Directly attached storage devices include USB flash drives, microSD cards and external plug-and-play hard drives.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a file storage device that allows multiple users and associated client devices to access data from a central storage unit. These devices are connected to the local area network (LAN) via routers, network switches or hubs and usually require users to be on the local network to access them.
Storage Area Network (SAN)
A storage area network is a set of interconnected drives and servers that acts as a centralized pool of disk storage.
Cloud storage (also called remote storage) refers to the type of storage where data is transferred and accessed outside the local network via the internet. Cloud storage differs from other types of data storage because it is the only type that is not accessed locally (either via a direct connection or via the local network).