In computing, a data storage device—as the name implies—is a device for storing data. It usually refers to permanent storage (non-volatile), that is, the data will remain stored when power is removed from the device; unlike RAM. Recording can be done mechanically, magnetically, or optically.

A typical way to classify data storage media is to consider its shape and type of movement (or non-movement) relative to the read/write device(s) of the storage apparatus. The following is a list of storage media, roughly sorted descending from modern to older/archaic media.

As of 2003, it is expected that in the future, miniaturization might lead to the invention of storage devices that store bits using one single atom each (Bekenstein, 2003).


See also