Data storage device

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Many different consumer electronic devices can store data.
Edison cylinder phonograph ca. 1899. The phonograph cylinder is a storage medium. The phonograph may be considered a storage device.
On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data storage medium.
RNA might be the oldest data storage medium.[1]

A data storage device is a device for recording (storing) information (data). A storage device is used in computers to store the data which is one of the core function of mordern computers. Recording can be done using virtually any form of energy, spanning from manual muscle power in handwriting, to acoustic vibrations in phonographic recording, to electromagnetic energy modulating magnetic tape and optical discs.

A storage device may hold information, process information, or both. A device that only holds information is a recording medium. Devices that process information (data storage equipment) may either access a separate portable (removable) recording medium or a permanent component to store and retrieve data.

Electronic data storage requires electrical power to store and retrieve that data. Most storage devices that do not require vision and a brain to read data fall into this category. Electromagnetic data may be stored in either an analog data or digital data format on a variety of media. This type of data is considered to be electronically encoded data, whether it is electronically stored in a semiconductor device, for it is certain that a semiconductor device was used to record it on its medium. Most electronically processed data storage media (including some forms of computer data storage) are considered permanent (non-volatile) storage, that is, the data will remain stored when power is removed from the device. In contrast, most electronically stored information within most types of semiconductor (computer chips) microcircuits are volatile memory, for it vanishes if power is removed.

Except for barcodes, optical character recognition (OCR), and magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) data, electronic data storage is easier to revise and may be more cost effective than alternative methods due to smaller physical space requirements and the ease of replacing (rewriting) data on the same medium.[2]

Global capacity, digitization, and trends[edit]

In a recent study in Science it was estimated that the world's technological capacity to store information in analog and digital devices grew from less than three (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986, to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007,[3] and doubles roughly every three years.[4]

It is estimated that the year 2002 marked the beginning of the digital age for information storage, the year that marked the date when human kind started to store more information digitally than on analog storage devices.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilbert, Walter (Feb 1986). "The RNA World". Nature. 319 (6055): 618. Bibcode:1986Natur.319..618G. doi:10.1038/319618a0. 
  2. ^ Rotenstreich, Shmuel. "The Difference between Electronic and Paper Documents" (PDF). The George Washington University. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Hilbert, Martin; López, Priscila (2011). "The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information". Science. 332 (6025): 60–65. doi:10.1126/science.1200970. PMID 21310967. ; free access to the article through here:
  4. ^ "video animation on The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]