As more people choose to maintain electronic records rather than hard copies, the need for efficient digital data storage has led to the development of several storage options. Many of the newer options offer an amount of virtual storage space that was unheard of as recently as ten years ago. Still, some of the older forms of electronic storage are still in use among people working with older computing systems.
One example of digital data storage that many people remember as their first storage device with home computers is the floppy disk. The original version of this device was developed long before it became a common storage method for the general public. Created by IBM in 1969, the first versions were for business use only and were very thin and flexible. It was this flexibility that led to the popular name for this form of data storage.
By the time that home computers became common, the floppy disk had become more compact and was encased in a hard plastic body. Well into the 1990’s, the disk was utilized widely to store files, images, and other types of electronic data. However, the capacity of this type of storage device is limited, making it far less efficient than devices that were developed later. The floppy disk is still produced in limited quantities and is often used by people who own older desktop computers.
The compact disk is a digital data storage option that is capable of storing substantially more data than even the most advanced of floppy disks. First developed and marketed in 1982, this option began to eclipse the floppy in the latter part of the 1990’s and became the storage device of choice for many home and business computer users by the first years of the 21st century. The increased capacity makes it possible to store audio and video presentations and other files that far exceed the ability of any older storage medium.
The digital virtual disk, commonly known as a DVD, is even more powerful than a compact disk. With a capacity that is six times that of any type of compact disk, this digital data storage option is capable of supporting the most sophisticated of visual media. Over the years, the definition of the storage device was enhanced, with the older formatting referred to as standard and the newer approach as high definition.
The latest in optical digital data storage is known as the Blu-Ray® disk. While resembling a compact or digital virtual disk, this storage option has a capacity far greater than even the most sophisticated of digital virtual disks. A typical Blu-Ray® disk can handle up to 50 GB of data.
Along with disks that provide remote digital data storage, other forms of digital data storage are in common use today. Hard drives on computers of all types make it possible to save data for easy retrieval later. Many people use this option, then create a back up of the data using some sort of remote device. Flash drives offer quick and easy storage as well as being extremely easy to transport. Memory cards are another common means of saving data for easy transport and allow for easy retrieval using different electronic devices.
As more people make use of the Internet and computers for everything from creating electronic recipe books to drafting business plans and showing visual marketing tools, options in digital data storage continue to offer an increasing amount of storage and ease of use. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the amount of data that can be stored on a single device has expanded to a capacity that could only be imagined before. Newer and more efficient storage devices are likely to appear over the next several years, rendering the popular options of today obsolete for many storage needs.