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.

  • G

    gibibyte (GiB)

    A gibibyte (GiB) is a unit of measure of capacity used in computing.

  • gigabyte

    A gigabyte -- pronounced with two hard Gs -- is a unit of data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion bytes.

  • global namespace

    Global namespace is a feature that provides a consolidated view into multiple Network File Systems (NFS), Common Internet File Systems (CIFS), network-attached storage (NAS) systems or file servers that are in different physical locations.

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store multiple petabytes of data.

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • green cloud

    Green cloud is a label that describes the potential environmental benefits that information technology services delivered over the Internet can offer society. 

  • green storage

    Green storage is the practice of using a variety of "clean energy" storage methods and products to cut down on a data center's carbon footprint, as well as cost.

  • grid storage

    Grid storage is a general term for any approach to storing data that employs multiple self-contained storage nodes interconnected so that any node can communicate with any other node without the data having to pass through a centralized switch. (Continued...)

  • H

    HA storage (high-availability storage)

    High-availability storage (HA storage) is a storage system that is continuously operational or provides at least 99% uptime.

  • Hadoop as a service (HaaS)

    Hadoop as a service (HaaS), also known as Hadoop in the cloud, is a big data analytics framework that stores and analyzes data in the cloud using Hadoop.

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively quick access to large amounts of data on an electromagnetically charged surface or set of surfaces.

  • hard disk drive (HDD)

    A computer hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile memory hardware device that controls the positioning, reading and writing of the hard disk, which furnishes data storage.

  • hard drive shredder

    A hard drive shredder is a mechanical device that physically destroys old hard drives in such a way that the data they contain cannot be recovered.

  • hard zoning

    Hard zoning is used to allocate resources and control access in a storage-area network (SAN).

  • hardware RAID (hardware redundant array of independent disk)

    Hardware RAID is a form of RAID where processing is done externally.

  • HD-DVD (high-density DVD)

    HD-DVD (high-density DVD) is an optical digital storage medium with a capacity that far exceeds that of standard DVD media... (Continued)

  • HD-ROM (High-Density - Read Only Memory)

    HD-ROM (High-Density - Read Only Memory) is a high-capacity storage technology developed at Norsam Technologies in conjunction with an IBM research group that enables a disk to store hundreds of times as much information as a CD-ROM. HD-ROM uses a very narrow, finely-focused particle beam (charged gallium ions) to write data.

  • HDD form factor (hard disk drive form factor)

    HDD form factor is the size or geometry of a hard disk drive, determining the device’s compatibility with the drive bays in a storage array or enclosure, server, portable computer or other computing device.

  • helical scan

    Helical scan is a way of recording information onto magnetic tape.

  • HIPAA-compliant cloud storage

    HIPAA-compliant cloud storage implements the guidelines of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  • holographic disk drive

    A holographic disk drive is a holographic storage device that uses a laser to store data to optical media in three dimensions, maximizing storage capacity by using the media's depth... (Continued)

  • holographic storage (holostorage)

    Holographic storage is computer storage that uses laser beams to store computer-generated data in three dimensions.

  • host bus adapter (HBA)

    A host bus adapter (HBA) provides physical connectivity and input/output between a server and a network and/or storage device.

  • host-based replication

    Host-based replication is the processes of using servers to copy data from one site to another.

  • hot data

    Hot data is a reference to data that is accessed the most by an organization.

  • hot plugging

    Hot plugging is the addition of a component to a running computer system without significant interruption to the operation of the system.

  • hot spare

    A hot spare, also called a hot standby, is a backup component that can be placed into service immediately when a primary component fails. 

  • How many bytes for...

    This page provides tables and other information about how many bytes are required (how much computer storage) for various information objects or purposes; it also summarizes some facts that have been gathered about how much information exists in the world and, where appropriate, how much computer storage this requires.

  • HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management)

    HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management) is policy-based management of file backup and archiving in a way that uses storage devices economically and without the user needing to be aware of when files are being retrieved from backup storage media.

  • HVD (holographic versatile disc)

    Holographic versatile disc (HVD) is a medium of holographic storage that looks like a DVD but is capable of storing far more data... (Continued)

  • hybrid cloud hosting

    Hybrid cloud hosting allows organizations to provision dedicated servers and storage and cloud servers and storage on the same network.

  • Hybrid Cloud Storage

    Hybrid cloud storage is an approach to managing storage that uses both local and off-site resources.

  • hybrid flash array

    A hybrid flash array is a solid-state storage system that contains a mix of flash memory drives and hard disk drives.

  • hybrid hard drive (HHD)

    A hybrid hard drive (HHD), sometimes known as a solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD), is a mass storage device that combines a conventional hard disk drive and a NAND flash module.

  • Hyper-V Virtual Fibre Channel

    Virtual Fibre Channel is a feature in Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 that lets virtual machines (VMs) connect directly to Fibre Channel (FC)-based storage by using a standard World Wide Name (WWN) associated with a VM.

  • I

    I/O blender effect

    The I/O blender effect is a phenomenon in virtualized environments that degrades storage performance.  The I/O blender effect occurs when multiple virtual machines (VMs) all send their input/output (I/O) streams to a hypervisor for processing.

  • I/O contention (input/output contention)

    I/O contention (input/output contention), occurs when virtual machines compete for I/O resources because there is a limited storage bandwidth.

  • I/O virtualization (IOV)

    I/O virtualization (IOV), or input/output virtualization, is technology that uses software to abstract upper-layer protocols from physical connections or physical transports.

  • IBM General Parallel File System (IBM GPFS)

    The IBM General Parallel File System is one of the top file systems used in high-performance computing and the basis for many storage products used in supercomputing.

  • IBM racetrack memory

    Racetrack memory is a type of non-volatile, solid-state nanotech memory being developed by IBM.

  • IBM Spectrum

    IBM ships six storage and management software products that fall under the IBM Spectrum umbrella. They provide services such as capacity, data movement and backup.

  • IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)

    Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) refers to the integration of the controller and drive.

  • iFCP (Internet Fibre Channel Protocol)

    iFCP (Internet Fibre Channel Protocol) is an emerging standard for extending Fibre Channel storage networks across the Internet.

  • illumos

    Illumos is a free, open source operating system (OS) developed as a fork of Unix-based OpenSolaris, the open source community-built derivative of the Solaris OS.

  • InfiniBand

    InfiniBand is an architecture and specification for data flow between processors and I/O devices. The technology is most often used in high-performance computing (HPC) environments... (Continued)

  • information architecture

    In technical writing, information architecture is the set of ideas about how all information in a given context should be treated philosophically and, in a general way, how it should be organized.

  • information life cycle management (ILM)

    Information life cycle management (ILM) is a comprehensive approach to managing the flow of an information system's data and associated metadata from creation and initial storage to the time when it becomes obsolete and is deleted.

  • intelligent switch

    An intelligent switch is a high-level storage area network (SAN) routing switch that provides features such as storage virtualization, quality of service (QoS), remote mirroring, data sharing, protocol conversion, and advanced security.

  • International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)

    The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an international code used to identify sound and audio-visual recordings on compact discs (CDs), music videos, and other media, primarily to ensure royalty payments.

  • Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) adapter

    An iSCSI adapter is a network interface card that enables the transmission of data between host computers and iSCSI-based storage arrays and typically handles the TCP/IP processing.

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor numbers can vary from real-world performance.

  • IP SAN (Internet Protocol storage area network)

    An IP SAN is a dedicated storage area network (SAN) that allows multiple servers to access pools of shared block storage devices using storage protocols that depend on the Internet Engineering Taskforce standard Internet Protocol suite.

  • IP storage

    IP storage is a general term for several approaches to using the Internet Protocol (IP) in a storage area network (SAN) usually over Gigabit Ethernet.

  • IPI (Intelligent Peripheral Interface)

    IPI (Intelligent Peripheral Interface) is a high-bandwidth interface between a computer and a hard disk or a tape device.

  • iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface)

    ISCSI is a transport layer protocol that describes how Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) packets should be transported over a TCP/IP network.

  • iSCSI initiator

    An iSCSI initiator is software or hardware that enables a host computer to transmit data to an iSCSI-based storage array through a network adapter over a TCP-based IP network.

  • iSCSI switch (Internet Small Computer System Interface switch)

    An iSCSI switch is an appliance that processes and channels data between an iSCSI initiator and target on a storage device.

  • J

    Jaz drive

    A Jaz drive is a small, portable hard disk drive used primarily for backing up and archiving personal computer files.

  • JBOD (just a bunch of disks or just a bunch of drives)

    JBOD ("just a bunch of disks") refers to a computer's hard disks that haven't been configured according to the RAID system.

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • K

    Kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi, and all that

    Kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi, and exbi are binary prefix multipliers that, in 1998, were approved as a standard by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in an effort to eliminate the confusion that sometimes occurs between decimal (power-of-10) and binary (power-of-2) numeration terms.

  • Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta and all that

    Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta are among the list of prefixes used to denote the quantity of something, such as a byte or bit in computing and telecommunications.

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science professionals, along with the general public, when referring to amounts of computer data using the metric system.

  • Kryder's Law

    Kryder's Law describes the rate at which former Seagate CTO Mark Kryder predicted disk drive density would grow.

  • L

    Learning Guide: Firewalls

    How to select the right firewall for your needs

  • legacy storage

    Legacy storage is traditional storage hardware that is older and sometimes no longer sold by its vendor.

  • litigation hold (preservation orders or hold orders)

    Litigation hold is a stipulation requiring a company to preserve all data that may relate to a legal action involving the company... (Continued)

  • Load DynamiX

    Load DynamiX is a storage performance testing appliance that can simulate production workloads and virtual desktop infrastructure workloads to determine how a system handles stress before putting that system into production. Appliances support all major storage protocols.

  • logical unit number (LUN)

    A logical unit number (LUN) is a unique identifier for designating an individual or collection of physical or virtual storage devices that execute input/output (I/O) commands with a host computer, as defined by the Small System Computer Interface (SCSI) standard.

  • LUN management

    LUN management is the process of assigning, provisioning and overseeing logical unit numbers (LUNs) across a storage environment.

  • LUN masking

    LUN masking is a further constraint added to zoning, subdividing access to the port so that only LUNs authorized to access a specific server can access the corresponding port.

  • LUN zoning

    LUN zoning is a method of configuring SAN fabric to match logical unit numbers (LUNs) to the proper servers. As a rule, end devices such as hosts can only see and access storage within their zone. Limiting access in this way improves security and allows bandwidth allocation through assigning particular ports to a zone.

  • M

    M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted storage expansion cards of a small form factor.

  • magneto-optical drive (MO)

    The magneto-optical (MO) drive is a popular way to back up files on a personal computer.

  • magnetoresistive head technology

    Magnetoresistive (MR) head technology is used in disk drives to allow higher storage densities than the older inductive-head technology.

  • MAID (massive array of idle disks)

    MAID (massive array of idle disks) is a storage technology in which only those disk drives in active use are spinning at any given time...

  • Mammoth

    Mammoth is a magnetic tape and drive system used for computer data storage and archiving.

  • managed storage

    Managed storage is the process of offloading an organization’s data storage requirements to an outside managed service provider.

  • mebibyte (MiB)

    A mebibyte (MiB) is a unit of measurement used in computer data storage.

  • megabyte (MB)

    As a measure of computer processor storage and real and virtual memory, a megabyte (abbreviated MB) is 2 to the 20th power bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes in decimal notation.

  • megabytes per second (MBps)

    Megabytes per second (MBps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speed to and from a computer storage device.

  • memory

    Memory is the electronic holding place for instructions and data that your computer's microprocessor can reach quickly.

  • Memory Stick

    Developed by Sony, the Memory Stick is a digital data storage technology with up to 10 times the storage capacity of a 3.5 diskette.

  • Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (Microsoft VSS)

    Microsoft VSS is a Windows Server feature used for backing up and restoring LUNs and individual files.

  • Millipede

    Millipede is a nano-storage prototype developed by IBM that can store data at a density of a trillion bits per square inch: 20 times more than any currently available magnetic storage medium.

  • mirror site

    A mirrored site is a website or set of files on a server that has been copied to another server so that the site or files are available from more than one place.

  • MO-297

    MO-297 is a JEDEC standard that defines the layout, connector positions and physical dimensions for a 54mm x 39mm solid state drive (SSD) with a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) connector. 

  • MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory)

    MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a way to store data bits using magnetic states instead of the electrical charges used by dynamic random access memory (DRAM).

  • MrSID (Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database)

    MrSID (Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database) is an image compressor, viewer, and file format for extremely large raster graphics images.

  • mSATA SSD (mSATA solid-state drive)

    An mSATA SSD is a small-form-factor solid-state drive designed for portable devices such as laptops and tablets. Advantages include low power and vibration resistance.

  • MTTR (mean time to repair)

    MTTR (mean time to repair) is the average time required to fix a failed component or device and return it to production status.

  • multi-level cell (MLC)

    Multi-level cell flash is a type of NAND flash memory that can store more than 1 bit per cell.

  • multipathing (SAN multipathing)

    Multipathing, also called SAN multipathing or I/O multipathing, is the establishment of multiple physical routes between a server and the storage device that supports it. 

  • multiprotocol storage

    Multiprotocol storage, also known as unified or federated storage, supports protocols traditionally associated with SAN block-based and NAS file-based storage in a single device.

  • multisession CD

    A multisession CD is a recordable CD format (like a CD-R) that allows the recording of a compact disk to be conducted in more than one recording session.

  • N

    N_Port ID virtualization (NPIV)

    N_Port ID virtualization (NPIV) is a technology that allows a single host bus adaptor (HBA) called an "N_Port" to register multiple World Wide Port Names (WWPNs) and N_Port identification numbers.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NAND flash wear-out

    NAND flash wear-out is the breakdown of the oxide layer within the floating-gate transistors of NAND flash memory.

  • NAND mirroring

    NAND mirroring has been proposed to break the security in certain portable devices that use NAND flash memory for encryption.

  • nano-storage

    Nano-storage is a nanotechnology approach to storage that seeks to radically increase storage capacities through a variety of technologies, and, ultimately, to replace current storage media with extremely high-density media and devices.

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchDataBackup

SearchConvergedInfrastructure

Close