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Storage Basics and Fundamentals


Storage is another fundamental core IT infrastructure component that is found in both on-prem and cloud datacenters. In this post we will learn the fundamental concepts and basics of Storage infrastructure. We will explore common storage devices and systems and how they are attached and are accessed both in the cloud and local datacenters.

In the previous posts we learned the basics and fundamental concepts of Cloud Computing and Virtualization. In this post we will learn the below topics about Storage infrastructure – a core component in Cloud Computing.

  1. What is a Storage Device
  2. Types of Storage Interfaces
  3. Introduction to Cloud Object Storage
  4. Storage Management Techniques
  5. Storage provisioning Techniques
  6. Storage Access Methods
  7. Storage Network Technologies
  8. Storage Access Protocols

1. What is a Storage Device

A Storage device is nothing but a non-volatile recording media on which information can be persistently stored. Storage may be on internal hard drive, removable memory cards, or external magnetic tape drive connected to a compute system. Based on the nature of the storage media used, storage devices can be broadly classified as

  • Magnetic Spinning Drives –  Hard disk drive (HDD) and magnetic tape drive.
  • Optical storage Drives –  Blu-ray, DVD, and CD.
  • Flash-based Drives –  Solid state drive (SSD), memory card, and USB thumb drive (or pen drive).

Magnetic Spinning Drives

  • These are the traditional hard drives consists of a series of rapidly spinning platters with a magnetic material on each of the platters. HDDs and Tape storage devices are the common examples of magnetic spinning Drives.
  • A read/write head moves along the platters for storing and retrieving bits of storage information on the magnetic media.
  • Many different types of spinning drive designs have evolved with various physical sizes, and storage densities. However, HDD is the most commonly and widely used magnetic storage medium in both on-prem and Cloud Computing world.
  • HDD will be cabled to the computer system network with a standardized system that allows for interoperability and ease of use as well as performance.

Optical Storage Devices

  • Most optical devices are flat, circular storage medium made of polycarbonate with one surface having a special, reflective coating such as aluminum.
  • These disk drives uses the laser technology to record data on the disc in the form of microscopic light and dark dots. 
  • The laser reads the dots, and generates electrical signals representing the data. The commonly used optical disc types are CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disc (BD). These discs can be recordable or re-writable disks.
  • Recordable or read-only memory (ROM) discs have Write Once and Read Many (WORM) capability and are typically used as a distribution medium for applications or as a means to transfer small amounts of data from one system to another.

Flash Storage Drives

  • Unlike the spinning platter of traditional HDDs, SSD storage devices use silicon for storage. 
  • Also, SSD drives can have very fast read and write times, which can increase server performance in cloud computing datacenters.


Learn more about  Storage devices used in Storage Arrays