Storage Devices: Definition, Types & Examples

The storage devices data are the components of a computer system whose role is to transmit or retrieve digital information in various physical media created for it. They should not be confused with the data storage medium or data storage medium, terms that allude precisely to the physical vehicle of the information, be it those managed by a computer or by a device of another nature.

Data storage devices can be classified into two types:

  • Primary: Those necessary for the operation of the system because they contain vital metadata to start the operating system.
  • Secondary: Those accessories, removable or not, with which it is possible to enter and extract data from and to the system.

Examples of storage devices

  • RAM Memory:  Acronym for Random Access Memory, it is the storage field used as a working medium in computer systems, since it contains all the instructions of the processor and most of the instructions of the software. Shutting down or restarting the system will erase all of its content.
  • ROM Memory:  Acronym for Read-Only Memory, it is a storage medium that contains data that is difficult (or impossible) to modify, vital to the basic functioning of the computer system and its primary operating system.
  • Magnetic tape cassettes (DAT):  These are systems for recording and reading digital audio information, which handles small devices or plastic cassettes with magnetic tape inside, which operate similarly to their analog cousins.
  • Digital Magnetic Tape Devices (DDS):  Derived from DAT systems, they are digital and computerized information management units based on magnetic tape, remotely similar to the VHS format.
  • 3½ Floppy Drives (Obsolete):  Evolution of the floppy disk drive, these drives used more rigid and durable floppy disks, with higher capacity.
  • Hard Disk Drives or “Hard”:  Known as HDD (Acronym for Hard Disk Drive ), are drives with much greater storage than optical discs and memories, but they are usually located inside the CPU and are not removable. That is why they usually contain information about the operating system and the content of files and computer software in its entirety.
  • Portable Hard Disk Drives:  Removable and external version of the hard disk, they connect to the computer through its I / O ports and house large amounts of information.
  • CD-ROM drives:  Acronym for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory, are read-only devices created in 1985 and operated on the basis of a laser beam that, reflected on the sheet within the disk, supplies the computer with a set of binary signals from its plains and crevices.
  • CD-R / RW Drives:  Similar to CD-ROM, these drives allow not only the reading but also the partial or final writing of compact optical discs, in some cases allowing their reuse.
  • DVD-ROM drives:  Acronym for Digital Versatile Disc, operates similarly to CD, meaning it is burned only once and can be read many times, but with the difference that it holds up to 7 times loading information from these formats.
  • DVD-R / RW Drives These are recordable and rewritable drives for DVD discs, allowing up to 4.7 Gigabytes of information to be written to.
  • Blue Ray units:  This is the name given to a new generation optical disc format, endowed with much greater storage capacity and reading quality since the laser used for said reading is blue instead of the traditional red. Supports up to 33.4 Gigabytes per recording layer.
  • Zip Drives:  Introduced to the market in the mid-1990s, ZIP drives operate from high-capacity magnetic drives, from peripheral drives. They were replaced by flash memories.
  • Flash Memory Units:  Connected to the computer through USB or Firewire, these readers allow the support of information in a portable format compatible with digital cameras and electronic agendas.
  • Memory Card Drives:  Like flash memory (arguably a form of it), portable memory devices or memory cards allow for the physical handling of large-scale information through USB ports. There is an enormous variety of models, known as Pendrive since some have the practicality of a ballpoint pen.
  • Punched card unit (obsolete):  This technology consisted of information reading systems from cardboard cards to which a hole was made in a certain place, to allow the optical reading of the binary code: hole represented a value (1) , without hole represented another (0).
  • Punched Tape Unit (Obsolete):  Similar to punch cards in operation, they were your step forward, turning cardboard cards into a long instruction tape, allowing you to handle much more information.
  • Magnetic drums (obsolete):  One of the earliest forms of computer memory, invented in 1932, stored information in layers of iron oxide through rotating metals that, while not removable, allowed information to be retrieved at high speeds.
  • Cloud storage:  The development of online storage systems and the high data transmission speeds on the Internet have allowed it to be used as a read and write device, which is why many trusts their files to “the cloud” instead of physical means.


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