Computer Storage Options – Today & Tomorrow
This is the article brings the brief about the today’s and future computer storage options. Most of ours using computers and systems, but we do not know much more details about the storage and storage options existing today. For those people, you can easily get to know about the brief introduction and overview of nowadays storage options – personal and enterprise from this article.
Hard Disk Drive:
If anyone hears about computer storage, suddenly he might have think about this hard disk only. It is a common storage option, most of the PC’s have. After 1990, the evolutions of hard disk become more and more. So it easily occupies our PC’s without any competitions of other storage options. Compare to other storage options this is the smartest storage, suitable for personal computers. There are two main types of hard disks are used in today’s systems. They are,
• Magnetic Hard Disks
• Solid State Disks
Magnetic Hard Disks:
Magnetic Hard Disk Drive is a digital data storage device that reads and writes data via magnetization changes of a magnetic storage disk. This includes one or more randomly accessible rotatable storage media, or disks. Nowadays magnetic hard disks are there in market up to terabytes. Yes, a single hard disk drive has that much memory like a big storage server. The first commercial magnetic HDD introduced by IBM in 1956 having 5MB storage. But last year Hitachi introduced 1TB magnetic HDD. This year 2008, Seagate announced 1.5 TB HDD for personal and enterprise purposes. This HDD are having data transfer rate is nearly 16 to 20 Mb/s.
Solid State Disks:
The design of solid-state disk starts with combining the each block like Flash memory, Memory controller, RAM, RAM Controller, Processor and Host etc., M-Systems introduced first flash-based solid-state drives in 1995. (SanDisk acquired M-Systems in November 2006). Since then, flash based SSDs demands high in military and aerospace industries, as well as other mission-critical applications. Nowadays in SSD, Flash is used as a permanent storage and RAM is used as a temporary storage between Flash and processor to increase the performance.
It’s very suitable for small hand held systems and note books, because it does not have moving parts, requires less power, Host data transfer rate of up to 3Gb/s and silent operation. Up to 2007 middle only 64GB (Samsung & SanDisk) solid-state drives are there in the market with in the size that is compatible with notebooks. In this year Samsung announces a super-fast 256 GB, 2.5-inch solid-state drive. ‘Super Talent’ has announced the world’s thinnest 256 GB 2.5-inch SSD drive. Toshiba also launched 3 MLC flash SSD families with SATA interfaces.
The main uses of optical storage disks are content exchange, backup and archiving and not for primary storage. It’s having capacity from 300 MB to 30 GB. Before the evolutions of Optical Storage Disks, the Magnetic floppy disks are used for data exchange and for small storages. Because of the very little storage (1.44 MB) and small life period of floppy, the optical disks had overtaken that. There are four main commercial types of optical disk’s are there for present day usage. They are,
• Laser Disks
• Compact Disks (CD)
• Digital Versatile Disks (DVD)
• Blu-Ray Disks (BD)
The laserdisc was the first optical storage medium used for commercial purposes, particularly for the movie industry. Paul Gregg invented the laserdisc technology in 1958, making use of a transparent disc. Laserdiscs are famous in 80′s for audio songs and although the VHS (Video Home System) cassettes and the CD/DVD format has overtaken the Laserdisc in usage. It looks 30 centimeters in diameter and it is made up of two single-sided discs. Laserdisc is actually an analog format unlike CDs or DVDs which are digital. Now Laser disks doesn’t have any market, but still some people are using this to hear old songs.
The most common form of optical storage is the Compact Disk (CD). Even with the arrival of other more powerful optical media, CDs remain a popular way for industries to package software, games, music, and movies. These discs provide low-cost and easy-to-use back-up for and physical transfer of data files. Normally compact disks are coming in two ways. One is CD-R (one time write and more number of reads) and CD-RW (More number of read and writes). A standard CD has a capacity of about 74 minutes of standard CD audio music and holds about 700 MB. But actual capacity depends on the format of writing.
Digital Versatile Disks:
This is the improved form of compact disks, commonly known as DVD. It has another expansion like Digital Video Disks also. It also contains DVD-R and DVD-RW separation like the above. A standard DVD offers 4.7 GB (Single Layer) / 8.5 GB (Dual Layer) storage. But it looks similar like CD. We can read/write the CDs in the DVD Writer, but CD writer won’t read the DVD.
It is the next-generation optical disks, able to hold high-definition video and other high-density storage. A single-sided Blu-ray disk can hold 25 GB of storage, while a dual-sided one can store 50 GB. The Blu-ray disk’s size is similar to that of the CD and the DVD – 120 mm in diameter. It uses 405 nm wavelength of laser, so only it named as a Blu-ray disk. It has 54 Mbps transfer rate is superior to both the CD (150 Kbps) and the DVD’s (11.1 Mbps). Blu-ray discs are more expensive and slower to manufacture, mainly used for Game storage like play stations.
It is expanded like Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It is a technology that employs the simultaneous use of two or more Hard disk drive to achieve greater levels of performance, reliability, and/or larger data volume sizes. A RAID distributes data across several physical disks. There are three different types of RAID concepts. They are,
• Software RAID
• Hardware RAID
• Firmware/driver based RAID
The main usage of tape storage is offline storage and backup for primary storage. Today’s magnetic tape is most commonly packaged in cartridges and cassettes. Tape drives can be connected to a computer with SCSI commonly and Fibre Channel, FICON, ESCON, parallel port, IDE, SATA, USB, FireWire or other interfaces also. It has the following important benefits.
• It offers lowest cost per megabyte of all storage media options.
• Extremely high capacity per cartridge.
The same like it has some limitations also.
• Very slow operation (both read and write)
• Relatively short operational life compare to other storage media
• Subject to deterioration and environmental hazards
The difference between tape data storage and disk data storage is that tape is an Sequential access medium while disk is a random access medium. Nowadays Tape Storage is used to store data’s, which doesn’t need, but should have a Backup like Hospital passed away patients record.
Network Attached Storage:
It is commonly known as NAS, used for enterprise storage as a server. These devices contains embedded processors that run some sort of operating system or microprocessors that understands networking protocols and is optimized for particular tasks, such as file service and network backup etc., NAS is an ideal choice for organizations looking for a simple and cost-effective way to achieve fast data access for multiple clients at the file level. Some important benefits of NAS are listed below.
• Files are easily shared among users at high demand and performance
• Files are easily accessible by the same user from different locations
• Demand for local storage at the desktop is reduced
• Storage can be added more economically and partitioned among users—Highly scalable
• Data can be backed up form the common repository more efficiently than from desktops
• Multiple file servers can be consolidated into a single managed storage pool
Storage Area Network:
It is commonly known as SAN. It is a high performance storage network that transfers data between servers and storage devices, separate from the local area network. For a normal person these two, SAN and NAS are giving big confusion. These two are used as server storage but the main difference is, NAS uses LAN but SAN won’t use it. Some advantages of SAN over NAS are listed below.
• Superior Performance
• Reduces Network bottlenecks
• Highly Scalable
• Allows backup of storage devices with minimal impact on production operations
• Flexibility in configuration.
The above said methods are convenient and quick, and many offer plenty of inexpensive storage space. For Enterprises, the big problem is coming at the time of disaster, hurricane, earthquake, fire occurs, both the computer and the data backup servers could be destroyed. There’s also the problem of theft, of course. But online backup services, which save the most critical computer files on a secure, off-site server over the Internet.
Online Backup means remote Backing up Services. That is taking backup via the Internet to a remote location can protect against some worst-case scenarios mentioned above. A drawback of this an Internet connection is usually substantially slower than the speed of local data storage devices and it also has the risk associated with putting control of company secrets data in the hands of a third party.
Muthu Senthil Kumar M