Have you ever wondered, how do computers store data? The question has been asked often by users blown away by the memory ability of computers. The data that computers store includes e-mails, all text files, programs and entire databases. While this storage ability would seem to involve complicated processes, computers perform data management in a relatively straightforward manner.
Two of the most important elements to consider when buying a computer are the quality of the machine's Central Processing Unit (CPU) and Random Access Memory (RAM). In tandem, these two play an integral role in data storage. As the true brain of the computer, the CPU instructs the computer to access and utilize data stored in RAM, which is a memory module inside the computer. RAM works with three kinds of stored data components known as primary storage, secondary storage and off-site storage.
Primary Storage: Primary storage is data that can be accessed directly by the CPU. Saved as RAM, primary storage data is constantly being altered and rewritten based on the user's downloads and creation of files. While the data analysis process performed by the CPU and RAM does not change, it is perpetually analyzing varied forms of data.
Secondary Storage: Secondary storage includes every type of storage that is not included in primary storage. Secondary storage includes flash memory sticks, CD-ROMs and other internal hard drives. Because of the breadth and capabilities of secondary storage data, it has been frequently divided into smaller subsets of data storage, such as off-site storage.
Off-Site Storage: Off-site storage is appropriately named, as it involves data that is stored at a different location. It can be accessed through an Internet connection, as with cloud computing. Off-site data can be invaluable in case a computer malfunctions and loses data, as the lost material can be recovered when the computer is in working order again.
By understanding data storage, you can also understand its limits. For example, you want to make sure that a computer has plenty of RAM so that it runs faster and more efficiently, and you want to back up your files to secondary or off-site storage so you don't have to worry in the event of a computer crash.