Reference

Fast Guide to Storage Technologies

Part of the Storage management glossary:

This printable page provides a fast guide in table form to storage technologies. To the extent that some technologies depend on other technologies (for example, a storage area network depends on either Fibre Channel or iSCSI for its connection protocol), there is a certain amount of redundancy among some table entries.

 Object Storage  -- Click here to learn more about this emerging storage technology
 

Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Compact disc, recordable
( CD-R ) or rewritable ( CD-RW ) and DVD
  • Low cost per megabyte
  • Unlimited capacity with multiple discs
  • Portable
  • Widely-supported I/O interfaces
  • Can be formatted for different data formats
  • Long life
  • High data density
  • Immune to corruption once data is written (CD-R and DVD only)
  • Limited capacity on one disc(though much greater than diskette)
  • Slow to moderate read/write speed
  • Data archiving
  • Data distribution
  • Data migration
  • Localized file sharing
  • Offsite storage
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Diskettes, 1.44 MB
  • Simple to use
  • Portable
  • Can be formatted for different data formats
  • Limited capacity
  • Limited read/write speed
  • Not supported by many newer computers
  • Local data transfer of small files
  • Storage of small files or programs
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Hard drive, external
  • High read/write speed
  • Can be moved among computers
  • Limited capacity
  • Awkward for data transfer among multiple computers
  • Local backup
  • Local archiving
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Hard drive, internal
  • Convenient; usually comes with the computer
  • High read/write speed
  • Convenient for use with single computer (but can be shared among multiple computers with proper support
  • Most common form of data storage
  • Limited capacity
  • Without special support, confined to a single computer or server
  • Storage in a single computer
  • Swap files
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Removable storage
(ZIP disks, JAZ disks, etc.)
  • Simplicity
  • Portability
  • Unlimited capacity with multiple disks
  • Convenient for use with single computer
  • Proprietary media
  • Limited read/write speed
  • High cost per megabyte
  • Personal computing
  • Local data transfer of small files
  • Local backup
  • Local archiving
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Solid-state storage
(USB devices, flash memory, smart cards, etc.)
  • No mechanical parts
  • High read/write speed
  • Small form factor
  • Limited storage capacity
  • High cost per I/O operation
  • Swap files
  • Local data transfer
  • Internet service providers
  • Video processing
  • Relational databases
  • High-speed data acquisition
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Direct-attached storage
(DAS)
  • Simplicity
  • Low initial cost
  • Ease of management
  • Storage for each server must be administered separately
  • Inconvenient for data transfer in network environments
  • Server bears load of processing applications
  • Data and application sharing
  • Data backup
  • Data archiving
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Disk library
  • High speed
  • High storage capacity
  • High data availability
  • Not as quickly accessible as DAS; intended for "write once, read rarely" data
  • Disk-to-disk (D2D) backup
  • Data archiving
  • Near line storage
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Disk-to-disk-to-tape
( D2D2T )
  • Redundancy
  • High read/write speed
  • Unlimited capacity with multiple tapes
  • Complexity
  • Incremental backups
  • Storage virtualization
  • Offsite storage
  • Data archiving
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Fibre Channel
(See Storage area network below)
  • Used to transmit data between devices at gigabit speeds
  • Frequently used in storage area networks (SANs)
  • Flexible in terms of distance
  • High cost
  • Management complexity
  • Large databases
  • Bandwidth-intensive applications
  • Storage area networks (SANs)
  • Offsite storage
  • Mission-critical applications
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

iSCSI
(See Storage area network below)
  • Used to transmit data between devices using the Internet Protocol (IP)
  • Frequently used in storage area networks (SANs)
  • More flexible in terms of distance than Fibre Channel (but not as fast)
  • May not compare favorably with Fibre Channel for large database transfers
  • Management complexity
  • Applications involving remotely distributed databases
  • Storage area networks (SANs)
  • Offsite storage
  • Mission-critical applications
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Magnetic tape
  • Low cost per megabyte
  • Portability
  • Unlimited capacity with multiple tapes
  • Inconvenient for quick recovery of individual files or groups of files
  • Data archiving
  • Limited-budget businesses
  • Offsite storage
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Network-attached storage
(NAS)
  • Fast file access for multiple clients
  • Ease of data sharing
  • High storage capacity
  • Redundancy
  • Ease of drive mirroring
  • Consolidation of resources
  • Less convenient than storage area network (SAN) for moving large blocks of data
  • Data backup
  • Data archiving
  • Redundant storage
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Redundant array of independent disks
(RAID)
  • High speed
  • High storage capacity
  • High data availability
  • High reliability
  • Security
  • Fault tolerance
  • Users may develop false sense of security
  • Recovery from failure is difficult in some systems
  • High cost for optimum systems
  • Swap files
  • Internet service providers
  • Redundant storage
Technology

Advantages

Limitations

Applications

Storage area network
(SAN)
  • Excellent for moving large blocks of data
  • Exceptional reliability
  • Wide availability
  • Fault tolerance
  • Scalability
  • High cost
  • Lack of standardization
  • Management complexity
  • Large databases
  • Bandwidth-intensive applications
  • Mission-critical applications

 

Read more about it at:
> SearchStorage.com provides a "Learning Guide: SAN."
> SearchStorage.com also provides a "Storage University."
> "Fast Guide to RAM" provides a quick guide to the various RAM technologies.

This was last updated in February 2010
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • RAID rebuild

    - A RAID rebuild is the data reconstruction process that occurs in a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) implementation when a hard disk drive fails. (SearchStorage.com)

  • Fibre Channel adapter

    - A Fibre Channel (FC) adapter is a hardware component that provides connectivity from a server to a storage area network (SAN). (SearchStorage.com)

  • volume manager

    - A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation on arrays. (SearchStorage.com)

Glossaries

  • Storage management

    - Terms related to data storage management, including definitions about enterprise storage and words and phrases about storage infrastructure, storage capacity and hierarchical storage management (HSM).

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About Fast Guide to Storage TechnologiesPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.