Using the Right Storage Device at the Right Time Essay

Published: 2019-12-29 02:11:28
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The advent of technology enabled us to have an easier and more comfortable life. Computers have been assisting us in almost all of our daily tasks, from typing to storing our files. Due to the ever developing computers and programs, files have evolved into different forms and sizes. This eventually led to the different forms of storage devices that are applicable to certain storage requirements. There are different classifications of storage devices depending on their access, memory retention and mode of data storage.

The first classification is based mode of access by the central processing unit; and these are the primary and secondary storage. Primary storage, also called main storage or memory, is the part in a computer where data is kept for quick access by the CPU. In personal computers and laptops, it is most commonly called as the random access memory or RAM. Meanwhile, secondary storage, also known as auxiliary storage, is the data storage device not used as the primary storage. It is also known as external storage. Examples of this are hard disks, floppy disk, CDs, DVSs, magnetic tapes and flash drives (Search Storage, 2005).

Another classification is based on memory retention. Volatile storage devices are those that do not retain data when the computer is shut down and an example of this is the common RAM. On the other hand, non-volatile storage devices are those that retain data even in the absence of a power supply and examples of these are hard disks and CDs (MSD, 2006). The last type of classification is based on the mode of data storage and these are the magnetic and optical storage. Magnetic storage devices use magnetic disks that contain iron particles which can be polarized into a direction by a magnetic charge.

The organization of the particles creates the data that is stored on that disk. Meanwhile, optical devices are high-capacity storage devices that uses reflected light in reading data. To store data, the metallic surface of the disc is covered with small dent (or pits) and flat (or land) spots. When the light is directed into a pit, the light is not reflected back thus there is a bit value of zero (or off) and when the light is directed to a land, the light is reflected, thus having a bit value of one (or on). The arrangement of these lands and pit determines the data stored (CM Lab).

Due to the many forms of these storage devices, it is appropriate to know what situations are deemed fit of unfit for a specific type of storage device. In choosing a storage device for a certain job, it is important to take note of some items to ensure the use of the proper storage device. These include knowing how much data is needed to be stored, how fast data should be recovered, what storage devices are available, how automated the data storing process is and how fats the data could be stored (HP). These should be kept in mind in order to optimize your time and your back-up system.

Random access memories or RAMs are the primary memory of the computer. It is the memory used by the operating system of the computer when booting. After the boot, the other areas of the RAM unoccupied by the system become the conventional memory which the computer uses in running programs (MSD, 2006). The advantage of RAM is that if it is increased in a computer, it speeds up the processing of the computer enabling the user to use multiple applications. However, its disadvantage is that it is unusable once the computer is shot down.

This means that RAMs are applicable only in speeding up the processing of the computer and not in data storage. Hard disks are secondary storage devices that are used as the primary data storage of most computers. It is usually consisted of a number of inflexible platters that stores data electronically. The advantages of hard disks over other data storage devices include huge storage capacity and fast access time, cheaper on per megabyte basis and are more reliable since they are better protected and are made to be more durable.

However, they still have disadvantages, such as non-portability (for installed drives), less security of data due to vulnerability to virus attacks and head crash due to contaminants and extreme shocks (Wong). This means that hard disks are efficient only on storing of huge data for relatively short periods of time. Floppy disks are flexible plastic disks that are coated with magnetic material use to store data magnetically. It is most commonly known as the diskette. They are very popular in the 1990s, however, they not anymore considered standard today due to its more efficient alternatives (MSD, 2006).

The advantages of diskettes include portability and cheapness, random access of data, write-protection feature and ease in transferring data from one computer to another. However, it also has its disadvantages, and these are its non-durability, slow access time and very limited storage capacity (Wong). This means that diskettes are appropriate only for small and temporary data storage. Compact disks are optical devices that stores data. They use microscopic pits and lands in storing data. Their advantages include portability, relatively large storage capacity, a relatively fast access time, and permanent data storage.

Meanwhile, its disadvantages include its non-reusability and relatively slow writing time (Wong). This means that CDs are more applicable in storing permanent data that requires no editing such as software installers and audio files for longer periods of time. Magnetic tapes are strips of plastic coated with magnetic material and are capable of storing huge amounts data. Their advantages include huge capacity, cheapness, reliability and universality; and its disadvantages include sequential accessing and frequent cleaning (MSD, 2006).

This means that tapes are more appropriate for backing-up huge amounts of data for relatively long period of time. Flash drives are storage devices that used flash memories or chips to store electronic data. They are the new form of data storage devices. Its advantages include compactness, portability, fast data writing and access and consists no mobile parts. Its disadvantages include expensiveness and limited data storage (MSD, 2006). This means that flash drives are more appropriate in storing medium size data that needs to be transported or transferred to other computers.

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