Data storage is a general term for archiving data in electromagnetic or other forms for use by a computer or device.
Different types of data storage play different roles in a computing environment. In addition to forms of hard data storage, there are now new options for remote data storage, such as cloud computing, that can revolutionize the ways that users access data.
One common distinction between forms of physical data storage is between random access memory (RAM) and associated formats, and secondary data storage on external drives. Random access memory is stored in integrated circuits for immediate use, while the data stored on hard drives, disks, flash drives and new solid state data storage units is archived for event-based access or research activities initiated by an end user.
New technologies promote the continual expansion of data storage capability. New solid state drives can hold enormous amounts of data in a very small device, enabling various kinds of new applications for many industries, as well as consumer uses. Cloud services and other new forms of remote storage also add to the capacity of devices and their ability to access more data without building additional data storage into a device.