Storage Technology Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing storage and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

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  • C

    converged network adapter (CNA)

    A converged network adapter (CNA) is a single network interface card (NIC) that contains both a Fibre Channel (FC) host bus adapter (HBA) and a TCP/IP Ethernet NIC.

  • copy data

    Copy data is the electronic data that is created as a result of data protection functions like backups, snapshots and disaster recovery.

  • copy data management (CDM)

    Copy data management (CDM) is an approach to reducing storage consumption that involves eliminating the unnecessary duplication of production data.

  • OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder)

    OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) is open source software designed to create and manage a service that provides persistent data storage to cloud computing applications.

  • D

    D2D2C (disk-to-disk-to-cloud)

    D2D2C (disk-to-disk-to-cloud) is an approach to hybrid cloud backup that involves using local storage for staging data that will eventually be sent to a third-part cloud storage service provider.

  • DASD (direct access storage device)

    Direct access storage device (DASD, pronounced DAZ-dee), is a general term for magnetic disk storage devices. The term has historically been used in the mainframe and minicomputer (mid-range computer) environments.

  • DAT USB drive

    A DAT USB drive is a tape drive with digital audio tape (DAT) that can be plugged into a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection as a simple and relatively low-cost way to back up data routinely, especially on servers. DAT USB technology is expected to make it easier and more affordable for small and medium-size businesses, as well as for larger enterprise data centers, to perform backup and restore operations.

  • data at rest

    Data at rest is a term that is sometimes used to refer to all data in computer storage while excluding data that is traversing a network or temporarily residing in computer memory to be read or updated.

  • data availability

    Data availability is a term used by some computer storage manufacturers and storage service providers (SSPs) to describe products and services that ensure that data continues to be available at a required level of performance in situations ranging from normal through "disastrous.

  • data center migration plan

    A data center migration plan is a strategy created by an organization to migrate a data center with minimal downtime.

  • data compression

    Data compression is a reduction in the number of bits needed to represent data.

  • data deduplication

    Data deduplication -- often called intelligent compression or single-instance storage -- is a process that eliminates redundant copies of data and reduces storage overhead.

  • data destruction

    Data destruction is the process of destroying data stored on tapes, hard disks and other forms of electronic media so that it is completely unreadable and cannot be accessed or used for unauthorized purposes.

  • Data Dynamics StorageX

    Data Dynamics StorageX is a software suite that specializes in data migration and Microsoft Distributed File System management.

  • data life cycle management (DLM)

    Data life cycle management (DLM) is a policy-based approach to managing the flow of an information system's data throughout its life cycle: from creation and initial storage to the time when it becomes obsolete and is deleted.

  • data management platform (DMP)

    A data management platform (DMP), also referred to as a unified data management platform (UDMP), is a centralized system for collecting and analyzing large sets of data originating from disparate sources.

  • data migration

    Data migration is the process of transferring data between data storage systems, data formats or computer systems.

  • data reduction in primary storage (DRIPS)

    Data reduction in primary storage (DRIPS) is the application of capacity optimization techniques for data that is in active use.

  • data retention

    Data retention, also called records retention, is the continued storage of an organization's data for compliance or business reasons. 

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical or silicon-based storage media.

  • Datera Inc.

    Datera created Elastic Data Fabric, a block storage platform aimed at cloud service providers and enterprises that want to build a private cloud on premises.

  • DDR SDRAM (double data rate SDRAM)

    DDR SDRAM (double data rate SDRAM) is synchronous dynamic RAM (SDRAM) that can theoretically improve memory clock speed to at least 200 MHz*. It activates output on both the rising and falling edge of the system clock rather than on just the rising edge, potentially doubling output.

  • dedicated cloud

    A dedicated cloud is a single-tenant cloud infrastructure, which essentially acts as an isolated, single-tenant public cloud.

  • deep archive

    A deep archive is a type of data archiving that refers to a storage location for data that will likely never be accessed again, but can't be deleted.

  • defragmenter

    A defragmenter is a software utility that rearranges the fragments or discontiguous parts of each file stored on a computer hard disk so that the small, empty storage spaces adjacent to fragments can be used, effectively creating new storage space and possibly making file access faster.

  • Dell EMC Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud

    Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is a reference architecture that uses technologies from Dell EMC's Federation to integrate public and private clouds.

  • Dell EMC World

    Dell EMC World is an annual event for Dell EMC customers that showcases new and emerging technologies in the virtualization, cloud and data storage market.

  • Dell EqualLogic

    Dell EqualLogic storage-area network arrays provide varying capacities of hard disk drives and solid-state drives using iSCSI and SATA controllers.

  • delta differencing

    Delta differencing is an incremental approach to backup that only backs up blocks that have changed after the first full backup. The differences are recorded in files called deltas.

  • depository

    A depository is a file or set of files in which data is stored for the purpose of safekeeping or identity authentication.

  • desktop NAS

    Desktop NAS (network-attached storage) is a device that stores and serves the file-level data of networked computers.

  • digital film

    Digital film is any storage medium (such as a memory card, diskette, or recordable CD) used in a digital camera to capture and store images.

  • DIMM (dual in-line memory module)

    DIMM (dual in-line memory module) is a type of computer memory that is natively 64 bits, enabling fast data transfer.

  • direct access

    In computer storage, direct access is the ability to obtain data from a storage device by going directly to where it is physically located on the device rather than by having to sequentially look for the data at one physical location after another.

  • direct-attached storage (DAS)

    Direct-attached storage (DAS) is computer storage that is connected to one computer and not accessible to other computers.

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object storage.

  • disk cache

    A disk cache is a mechanism for improving the time it takes to read from or write to a hard disk.

  • disk duplexing

    Disk duplexing is a variation of disk mirroring in which each of multiple storage disks has its own SCSI controller.

  • disk mirroring (RAID 1)

    RAID 1 is one of the most common RAID levels and the most reliable. Data is written to two places simultaneously, so if one disk fails, the other can be used to retrieve data.

  • disk striping

    Disk striping divides data into blocks and spreads the blocks across hard disks or solid-state drives to accelerate read and write access.

  • disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T)

    Disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) is an approach to computer storage backup and archiving in which data is initially copied to backup storage on a disk and then later on copied again to tape.

  • diskette (floppy disk)

    A diskette is a random access, removable data storage medium that can be used with personal computers.

  • Double-Density Compact Disk (DDCD)

    Double-Density Compact Disk (DDCD) is a CD format that increases the storage capacity of the disk through means such as increasing the number of tracks and pits (scores on the disk that are used to encode the data).

  • double-parity RAID

    Double-parity RAID (redundant array of independent disks), also called diagonal-parity RAID, Advanced Data Guarding (RAID_ADG), or RAID-6, is a method of protecting against multiple storage drive failures by creating two sets of parity data on an array of hard disks.

  • DRAM (dynamic random access memory)

    Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory that is typically used for the data or program code needed by a computer processor to function.

  • DRDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory)

    RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory) is a memory subsystem that promises to transfer up to 1.6 billion bytes per second.

  • driver

    A driver is a program that interacts with a particular device or special (frequently optional) kind of software.

  • dropout

    A dropout is a small loss of data in an audio or video file on tape or disk.

  • dual-layer magnetic tape (dual-side magnetic tape)

    Dual-layer magnetic tape, also known as dual-side magnetic tape, is a high-density storage medium capable of holding far more data than conventional tape backup... (Continued)

  • DVD (digital video disk)

    DVD is an optical disc technology with a 4.7 gigabyte storage capacity on a single-sided, one-layered disk, which is enough for a 133-minute movie.

  • DVD Forum

    The DVD Forum is an international organization made up of companies using or manufacturing digital versatile disc (DVD)-related products.

  • DVD-Audio (DVD-A)

    DVD-Audio (DVD-A) is a Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) format, developed by Panasonic, that is specifically designed to hold audio data, and particularly, high-quality music.

  • DVD-RAM

    DVD-RAM is a DVD(optical disc) technology for high-capacity data storage for computers.

  • E

    Dell EMC Atmos

    Dell EMC Atmos is an object-based cloud storage platform that was released in November 2008 by EMC.

  • EDO RAM (extended data output RAM)

    EDO (extended data output) RAM is a type of random access memory (RAM) chip that improves the time to read from memory on faster microprocessors such as the Intel Pentium.

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email messages to enable fast retrieval.

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

  • enhanced CD (E-CD)

    Enhanced CD (E-CD) is a compact disc (CD) format that enables discs to be played on either a CD player or a multimedia-capable device, such as a CD-i player, or a DVD-ROM, or CD-ROM drive, where added material can be displayed.

  • enterprise cloud storage

    Enterprise cloud storage is public cloud storage purchased for a large organization. Enterprise cloud storage can be contrasted with consumer cloud storage, which is often free or purchased at a low price for an individual user's needs.

  • enterprise MLC (eMLC)

    Enterprise MLC (eMLC) is a type of MLC flash that has been enhanced to accommodate more write cycles than consumer-grade MLC flash offers.

  • enterprise SSD (enterprise solid-state drive)

    An enterprise SSD (also known as an enterprise solid-state drive or enterprise solid-state disk) stores data persistently or caches data temporarily in nonvolatile memory and generally provides higher performance and greater endurance than consumer or client SSDs.

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data sharing functions through connections to computer systems.

  • erasure coding

    Erasure coding (EC) is a method of data protection in which data is broken into fragments, expanded and encoded with redundant data pieces and stored across a set of different locations or storage media.

  • exabyte (EB)

    An exabyte (EB) is a large unit of computer data storage, two to the sixtieth power bytes.

  • exbibyte (EiB)

    An exbibyte (EiB) is a unit used to measure data capacity.

  • Express Bay

    Express Bay is an externally accessible storage slot that is designed to accept a high-performance PCI Express (PCIe) solid-state drive (SSD),

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the addressable data storage that is not inside a computer's main storage or memory.

  • F

    failover

    Failover is a backup operational mode in which the functions of a system component (such as a processor, server, network, or database, for example) are assumed by secondary system components when the primary component becomes unavailable through either failure or scheduled down time.

  • FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet)

    FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) is a storage protocol that enable Fibre Channel communications to run directly over Ethernet. FCoE makes it possible to converges storage and IP protocol traffic onto a single cable transport and interface.

  • Fibre Channel

    Fibre Channel is a high-speed networking technology primarily used for transmitting data among data centers, computer servers, switches and storage at data rates of up to 128 Gbps.

  • Fibre Channel adapter

    A Fibre Channel (FC) adapter is a hardware component that provides connectivity from a server to a storage area network (SAN).

  • Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL)

    A Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) is a high-speed Fibre Channel (FC) topology that can connect up to 126 ports on one controller using a one-way loop or hub design.

  • Fibre Channel director (FC director)

    A Fibre Channel (FC) director is a modular, chassis-based, high port-count switch that connects servers, switches and storage in a dedicated FC storage area network (SAN).

  • Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA)

    The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) is an international organization whose goal is to help its members promote Fibre Channel (FC) technology.

  • Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP or FC/IP)

    Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP or FC/IP, also known as Fibre Channel tunneling or storage tunneling) is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking technology developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

  • Fibre Channel port names

    Fibre Channel port names

  • Fibre Channel switch (FC switch)

    A Fibre Channel switch is a networking device that is compatible with the Fibre Channel (FC) protocol and designed for use in a dedicated storage area network (SAN).

  • FICON (Fiber Connectivity)

    FICON (for Fiber Connectivity) is a high-speed input/output (I/O) interface for mainframe computer connections to storage devices.

  • file storage

    File storage stores data in a hierarchical structure, usually in a NAS system. The system storing data and the client retrieving data see files and folders in the same format.

  • file synchronization (file sync)

    File synchronization, often used as a form of backup, is the process by which files residing in more than one physical location are kept up to date.

  • file system

    In a computer, a file system -- sometimes written filesystem -- is the way in which files are named and where they are placed logically for storage and retrieval.

  • file virtualization

    File virtualization is the creation of an abstraction layer between file servers and the clients that access those file servers... (Continued)

  • file-area network (FAN)

    A file-area network (FAN) is a set of technologies that facilitate file sharing and data management over a network.

  • FLAPE

    FLAPE (flash plus tape) is an approach to tiered storage that allows administrators to archive data as soon as it is written.

  • flash cache appliance

    A NAND flash cache appliance is a dedicated network appliance that resides between the hosts and underlying storage arrays.

  • flash controller (flash memory controller)

    A flash controller is the part of solid-state flash memory that communicates with the host device and manages the flash file system directory.

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure flash-based capabilities are used efficiently.

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • flash memory card

    Flash storage memory cards use nonvolatile semiconductor memory to store pictures, audio and video data on portable and remote devices.

  • flash storage

    Flash storage is any type of drive, repository or system that uses flash memory to keep data for an extended period of time.

  • flash-based solid state drive (SSD)

    A flash solid state drive (SSD)  is a non-volatile storage device that stores persistent data in flash memory. 

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical charge in a memory device that is used to store data.

  • FPM DRAM (Fast Page Mode DRAM)

    Prior to newer forms of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), FPM DRAM (Fast Page Mode DRAM) was the most common kind of DRAM in personal computers.

  • FRAM (ferroelectric RAM)

    FRAM (ferroelectric RAM) is random access memory that combines the fast read and write access of dynamic RAM (DRAM) - the most common kind of personal computer memory - with the ability to retain data when power is turned off (as do other non-volatile memory devices such as ROM and flash memory).

  • FreeNAS Project

    The FreeNAS storage operating system is compatible with most major protocols and storage hardware and provides file sharing in a NAS environment.

  • fresh out of the box (FOB)

    Fresh out of the box (FOB) is a term used in solid state storage (SSS) to describe a flash memory device that has experienced few or no program/erase (P/E) cycles since the device was manufactured.

  • G

    garbage collection

    Garbage collection is the systematic recovery of pooled computer storage that is being used by a program when that program no longer needs the storage.

  • geek speak

    Geek speak is how the uninitiated refer to the jargon and special vocabulary used by those immersed in computers and other fields of information technology.

  • Ghost

    Ghost is a software product from Symantec that can clone (copy) the entire contents of a hard disk to another computer's hard disk or to storage media.

  • giant magnetoresistive effect

    GMR is the newest generation of hard disk drive storage.

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