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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  • S

    SSD form factor

    An SSD form factor is the size, configuration or physical arrangement of solid state storage media. The form factor determines the media's physical compatibility and interchangeability with other computer components or devices.

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across multiple SSDs.

  • SSD TRIM

    SSD TRIM is an Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) command that enables an operating system to inform a NAND flash solid-state drive (SSD) which data blocks it can erase because they are no longer in use.

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • storage (computer storage)

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

  • storage as a service (STaaS)

    Storage as a service (STaaS) is a managed service in which the provider supplies the customer with access to a data storage platform.

  • storage at the edge

    Storage at the edge is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating source as possible.

  • storage capacity planning

    Storage capacity planning is the practice of assessing current data storage needs and forecasting future storage requirements.

  • storage class memory (SCM)

    Storage class memory (SCM) is a type of physical computer memory that combines dynamic random access memory (DRAM), NAND flash memory and a power source for data persistence.

  • storage filer

    A storage filer is a type of file server designed and programmed for high-volume data storage, backup and archiving.

  • storage medium (storage media)

    In computers, a storage medium is a physical device that receives and retains electronic data for applications and users and makes the data available for retrieval.

  • storage security

    Storage security is the group of parameters and settings that make storage resources available to authorized users and trusted networks and unavailable to other entities.

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device -- or pool of available storage capacity.

  • storage volume

    A storage volume is an identifiable unit of data storage. It can be a removable hard disk, but it does not have to be a unit that can be physically removed from a computer or storage system.

  • What is a SAN? Ultimate storage area network guide

    A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of storage devices to multiple servers.

  • T

    tape drive

    A tape drive is a device that stores computer data on magnetic tape, especially for backup and archiving purposes.

  • tebibyte (TiB)

    A tebibyte (TiB) is a unit of measure used to describe computing capacity.

  • Terabyte (TB)

    A terabyte (TB) is a unit of digital data that is equal to about 1 trillion bytes.

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage hierarchy.

  • tiered storage

    Tiered storage is a method for assigning different categories of data to various types of storage media to reduce overall storage costs and improve the performance and availability of mission-critical applications.

  • TLC flash (triple-level cell flash)

    TLC flash (triple-level cell flash) is a type of NAND flash memory that stores three bits of data per cell.

  • U

    U.2 SSD (formerly SFF-8639)

    A U.2 SSD is a high-performance data storage device designed to support the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) interface using a small form factor (SFF) connector that is also compatible with standard Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA)-based spinning disks and solid-state drives (SSDs).

  • unified storage

    Unified storage -- sometimes called network unified storage or multiprotocol storage -- is a storage system that enables users to run and manage files and applications from a single device.

  • USB flash drive

    A USB flash drive -- also known as a stick, thumb or pen drive -- is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash memory and can attach to a keychain.

  • utility storage

    Utility storage is a service model in which a provider makes storage capacity available to an individual, organization or business unit on a pay-per-use basis.

  • V

    virtual LUN (virtual logical unit number)

    A virtual LUN (virtual logical unit number) is a representation of a storage area that is not tied to any physical storage allocation.

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management technique where secondary memory can be used as if it were a part of the main memory.

  • virtual SAN appliance (VSA)

    A virtual SAN appliance (VSA) is a software bundle that allows a storage manager to turn the unused storage capacity in his network's virtual servers into a storage area network (SAN).

  • virtual storage area network (VSAN)

    A virtual storage area network (VSAN) is a logical partition in a physical storage area network (SAN).

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • VRAM (video RAM)

    VRAM (video RAM) refers to any type of random access memory (RAM) specifically used to store image data for a computer display.

  • W

    wear leveling

    Wear leveling is a process that is designed to extend the life of solid-state storage devices.

  • World Wide Name (WWN)

    A World Wide Name (WWN) is a unique identifier that is hard-coded into each Fibre Channel (FC) device by the device's manufacturer.

  • WORM (write once, read many)

    In computer media, write once, read many, or WORM, is a data storage technology that allows data to be written to a storage medium a single time and prevents the data from being erased or modified.

  • write amplification factor (WAF)

    Write amplification factor (WAF) is a numerical value that represents the amount of data a solid-state drive (SSD) controller writes in relation to the amount of data that the host's flash controller writes.

  • write endurance

    Write endurance is the number of program/erase (P/E) cycles that can be applied to a block of flash memory before the storage media becomes unreliable.

  • Y

    yobibyte (YiB)

    A yobibyte (YiB) is a unit of measure used to describe data capacity as part of the binary system of measuring computing and storage capacity.

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte (YB) is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and data volumes equal to 2 to the 80th power bytes, or approximately a million trillion megabytes (MB).

  • Z

    zebibyte (ZiB)

    A zebibyte (ZiB) is a unit used to measure computing and storage capacity.

  • zettabyte

    A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals and the general public to describe a computer or other device's storage capacity.

  • ZFS

    ZFS is a local file system and logical volume manager created by Sun Microsystems to control the placement, storage and retrieval of data in enterprise computing systems.

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