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Since the first memory device was invented, researchers and inventors have been pushing the limits beyond what’s possible in terms of data storage. By updating old technologies or creating new ones, the future of data storage is on a path of improved cybersecurity and AI usage, with better user interfaces. All to make sure users can have access to their data at high speed and from anywhere they are.
Today, businesses and organizations of all sizes need to manage and protect growing volumes of data. And this demands improved storage technologies.
New data protection requirements from the government, like HIPAA regulations, compliance, or legal department, can add significant costs to storage devices. And individuals also demand large storage space (from vacation photos to gaming data), and security for their personal information.
As a result, it is critical for IT managers to adopt data storage technologies that allow them to reduce costs without compromising performance, security, or reliability.
Top Summary: There are several techniques commonly used by modern data storage technologies and they just keep evolving. These new data storage solutions are being designed to help businesses and individuals manage data growth. Besides meeting any compliance requirements while still reducing storage costs.
What is data storage?
Computer data storage is any technology that records and retains digital data.
It’s possible to divide data storage technologies into magnetic, optical, or mechanical media. But regardless of form, data storage needs an actual device to retain data in. Here, we can divide data storage devices into two categories: direct area storage and network-based storage.
Direct Area Storage
Also known as Direct-Attached Storage (DAS), this is the data storage category we are all familiar with. As its name suggests, it’s a data storage device that connects directly to the computer accessing it. Hard Disk Drives (HDD); Solid State Drives (SSD); Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHD); Floppy Disks; Optic Compact Disks (CD); Digital Video Disks (DVD); Flash Drives, and USB Drives, among others, all fall within this category.
Unlike DAS, Network-Based Storage allows more than one computer to access the data storage device through a network connection. It’s great for data sharing and collaboration needs. The most common setups are Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN). It can combine multiple types of devices for RAID arrays for example, and/or include cloud data storage.
Summary: Data storage solutions are divided into different media and devices, that directly attachs to a computer or is accessed through a network. Businesses and users can choose and tailor a data storage setup to meet their goals. They can select capacity, reliability, performance speed, costs, or even physical space needs.
The need for new data storage solutions
Not long ago, fragile CDs/DVDs and incapacious floppy disks were considered an unprecedented technological breakthrough.
Today we’re used to data storage devices with schemes that are smaller than a postage stamp. Just click on that “save” button, and watch the data whisking off straight into the cloud data storage.
Yearly businesses and individuals have growing data to upload and store on storage devices and cloud accounts. Which increases the debate on where we’ll run out of storage space.
Another thing to be concerned about is the environmental factor. A recent study revealed that 7 percent of the total carbon footprint caused by technology is due to data centers. The same study points out that a single data center can consume more power than a medium-sized town.
No wonder why scientists and inventors around the world are working on seeking better alternatives and building the future of data storage technologies.
What is the future of data technologies?
Here is a list of the most mind-boggling inventions and game-changing technologies. They have a brief overview of each, to shed some light on new technologies coming worldwide in the foreseeable future.
The hard drives we’re presently working with consist of rapidly spinning platters that rotate at a given speed. However, the air inside is enough to drag the platters. This lead to a fair amount of additional energy required to rotate them.
Because of it, researchers found a way to replace the air inside of a hard drive with helium. They assumed that using helium, since it’s lighter than air, should significantly reduce the resistance — and thereby the required amount of energy.
The most difficult part, however, was the fact helium tends to escape from everywhere. For this reason, it took years for the manufacturers to come up with a hard drive that not only could cope with refraining helium inside, but also function properly.
Helium drives became commercially available in November 2013, with the first helium-filled hard disk being introduced to the general public by HGST, a Western Digital subsidiary.
It took less than 4 years for this first 6TB helium-filled disk to evolve into 12, 14, and 16TB hard drives. Today helium HDDs have an average read/write speed of 7200 rpm.
DNA Data Storage
How do you like the idea of keeping various kinds of data within a molecule that nature invented to store biological information? If you find it curious, yet way too unrealistic data storage technology at the same time — we agree.
The most intriguing feature of DNA storage is its incredible storage density, which is equal to 2.2 petabytes per gram.
A DNA hard disk about the size of a teaspoon would be capable of fitting all of the world’s data on it.
The implementation and availability of the DNA storage technology won’t be soon, however. First, it takes an extremely long time to read and write DNA. Secondly, the technology is yet too expensive to be usable now: the cost is $3,500 per 1 megabyte, while hard drives cost under $0.10 per GB.
Researchers from the University of Manchester created molecules that one day could store hundreds of times more data than the mightiest hard disk we know today. Even while refraining it in a materially smaller form factor. The catch is that it needs to be kept extremely cold to function.
This method, if works, will lead to a very useful technology called single-molecule magnets.
That’s because of their ability to remember the direction of an applied magnetic field over relatively long periods. All the while representing sizes many times smaller than existing magnetic materials we use to store information.
“Using single-molecule magnets, we could potentially make data storage media that is 100 times denser than current technologies such as HDDs and SSDs, which are facing their limitations for data density,” explains Dr. Nicholas Chilton, a senior lecturer and Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester.
Which, however, might be even more important, adoption of the frozen data storage technology might be an all-embracing solution. Since data centers would require supercooling technology to use, a significant reduction in their carbon footprint would be included.
5D Optical Data Storage
Another revolutionary data storage technology that is being presently elaborated by researchers at the U.K.’s University of Southampton, namely glass.
5D storage will imply terabytes of data being carved into tiny glass disks in multiple layers, with femtosecond laser writing.
The key to the enormous capacities the technology promises is in 5D. With the orientation and size of structures imprinted onto the surface of the disk, we might achieve freedom for the data to be stored.
The longevity of such a data storage solution is one of its most attractive features as a device for the future of data storage technologies. Especially when compared to vulnerable current data storage technologies, such as hard drives and magnetic tapes.
Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)
Shingled Magnetic Recording, or just SMR, is a new type of hard drive technology. It has great potential as a representative of the future of data storage technologies because of its large data storage capacity and reliability.
SMR is a data storage that will be in use soon since it’s a cost-friendly solution. Further, it needs no new materials to be manufactured, using existing parts to be produced. Meaning, it’s also an eco-friendly solution.
TL; DR: As more and more capacity is needed, researchers and data storage companies around the globe are working around the clock to discover or employ new technologies. Helium, DNA, Frozen Data, 5D Optical Data Storage, and SMR seem to guide the future of data storage solutions. The challenge goes beyond data capacity, encompassing solutions that reduce environmental damages and technologies that occupy less physical space.
For what it’s worth, we have come far in just a few decades with the data storage progress. Although we still are dealing with operational systems that sporadically greet us with Blue Screens of Death and hard drives that eventually crash.
So, in case some imperfect device of today has let you down and lost any of the important information it stored, contact SalvageData. Our team of dedicated, highly-qualified technicians can get your vital data back safely and fast.