Computer data storage, often called storage or memory, refers to computer components and recording media that retain digital data used for computing for some interval of time. Computer data storage provides one of the core functions of the modern computer, that of information retention. It is one of the fundamental components of all modern computers, and coupled with a central processing unit (CPU, a processor), implements the basic computer model used since the 1940s.
With the introduction of cloud storage and cloud servers, it has become easier than ever to backup all our important computer files online. We are now given the flexibility of accessing all our files from anywhere in the world, with the benefit of knowing that all our important pictures, videos, music, files, documents, as well as other programs and data are securely stored and available to us 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Assuming that we are online, ofcourse.
A brief history of the term Data Storage
In contemporary usage, memory usually refers to a form of semiconductor storage known as random-access memory, typically DRAM (Dynamic-RAM) but memory can refer to other forms of fast but temporary storage. Similarly, storage today more commonly refers to storage devices and their media not directly accessible by the CPU (secondary or tertiary storage) — typically hard disk drives, optical disc drives, and other devices slower than RAM but more permanent. Historically, memory has been called main memory, real storage or internal memory while storage devices have been referred to as secondary storage, external memory or auxiliary/peripheral storage.
Modern Computer Data Storage Timeline
In 1970’s the two most popular or better say only two ways to store computer data were 8” Floppy Disk and 5.25” Floppy Disk. Maximum capacity of these two discs were 1.2MB and at its peak it was produced in quantity of 4000 units a day.
1980’s continued with the evolution of floppy discs and 3.5” Floppy Disk was invented in 1982. That same year Sony put Compact Disk on the market, but it was only couple of years later that it would become commonplace in IT world.
By the mid 90’s, the 1.44MB floppy had become ubiquitous with new PCs, but its low capacity made it ill suited for larger backups. Iomega in 1994 introduced its Zip Drive. Superior to 1.44MB floppies in nearly every way.
The DVD emerged in 1995 as a successor to compact disks, and this time around, the optical media targeted PC users just as much as it did movie buffs. As a result, the transition from CD to DVD as the default storage medium went much faster than the transition from floppy disks to CDs.
Secure Digital cards were conceived as a competing format against Sony's Memory Stick and appeared on the storage scene in early 2000. Early SD cards were limited to just 32MB and 64MB capacities, but have since scaled to 32GB in high capacity SDHC cards.
Arguably the most significant storage innovation since the 1.44MB floppy disk, the advent of USB flash drives in 2000 signaled the eventual end of the road for floppies.
Definition of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is a service model in which data is maintained, managed and backed up remotely and made available to users over a network (typically the Internet).
There are three main cloud storage models:
Personal File Hosting
This is the most basic form of cloud storage. Personal file hosting allows the users to upload and share their personal files from their computer to the online server. Thus backup files of the original files are created and can be retrieved when they are lost for some reason. The files can be downloaded from the cloud to any other devices by the user. The files can be accessed from remote locations and shared from anywhere on earth. There are hundreds of providers who are offering online file hosting. The file transfer works in these services follow standard internet protocols such as FTP and HTTP.
Business File Hosting
A cloud storage system can be used by a business as a backup solution under remote commercial support. The software agents working for the company can transfer data copies from the data base to the cloud servers from time to time. Personal data is stored forever. But the company data becomes obsolete with time. The backup systems follow retention policies for pursing the data which is no longer valuable after a certain time period.
The larger companies can be benefitted from the cloud computing as they can replicate huge amount of data among the branch offices. Employees who are working at a particular site can make changes on a file and automatically have it shared to the employees working at a remote site.
Choosing a Cloud Storage Provider
Using a cloud storage solution can have both advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the best cloud service provider requires expertise and professionalism. These points need to be considered for choosing the best cloud storage provider.
Cloud service providers charge fees for their services, which are beyond their free plans. The free plans usually pose restrictions on the data size which you can store on the cloud. Before choosing a subscription, it would be best to be well aware of your storage needs. Maybe it would be better not to go for long-term contracts, as the needs may change as the business grows.
The cloud storage system should be such that we don’t feel the difference between working on our files over the internet or our local hard drives. We should check out the user interface and the responsiveness of the system. And look out for all the possible limitations that might waste our time and sap our productivity.
Even though we can enjoy a free cloud storage service, our endeavor might be accompanied by surplus charges due to the frequent downtimes, data corruption or security incidents. Before choosing our cloud storage solution, we should do a thorough research on the cloud service provider and check out their reputation and brand quality.
-Value for money
Selecting a cloud data storage company that is the least expensive does not mean that the customer is getting the best value for their money. What we should look for in value is a combination of everything that makes up the cloud storage company and then, how much they charge.
-Reliability and Uptime
This category is based on statistical data related to the uptime of the service. It is expected that cloud storage companies have a 99.9% uptime; however some may fall below that due to unforeseen circumstances. But every consumer should be made aware of that so that they may make the most informed decision in selecting their online storage service provider.
This category is a rating of the amount of features that are offered as well as their usefulness to the consumer. Some cloud storage companies tend to comment on a large number of features that they offer however, those features are not always of a benefit to the consumer.
This category is a comparison of the amount of storage space offered by the company. Storage space also factors into the ‘value for money’ rating.
-Ease of Use
When testing cloud storage services, we should think of how easy that service is to use. A good rating represents a median between ease of use for general and technical users.Download your Full Reports for Cloud Storage
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