Data Storage Printing Knowledge
Data Storage

There are several different types of devices and media available for the storage of electronic files. Most of the storage methods allow for the disks to be removable to allow for easy transport. There are different reasons for storing data and some systems work better than others for each reason.

  • Backing up data in case of a computer crash
  • Storage of files that are used often
  • Transferring files to a service bureau or printing company
  • Archiving files that are not used often


Every system should have some sort of back-up in case the computer crashes, your file gets accidentally written over or deleted, or several other reasons why data gets lost. A back-up should be created every night. Most back-up software allows you to set a time when the back-up will take place automatically. A common way of backing-up uses a different media for each day of the week. That way you always have 5 days you can go back to. The DAT (Digital Audio Tape) is the most used media for back-ups.


The most common and fastest storage is your hard drive. The capacity of hard drives keeps going up while the cost keeps coming down. You can add either an external or internal hard disk to allow for more storage. By stacking and connecting a number of high-capacity hard drives together in a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), an almost unlimited amount of data storage can be obtained. All the data that is written to one drive is automatically duplicated on the second drive, providing continuous data back-up. The duplication process is called mirroring. For storing files that are used often but you don't want to store on your hard drive, such as clip art, photos, etc., CD's or Zip disks are popular. CD's or Zip disks are quick to find and access files.


For transferring files to a service bureau or printing company, there are several options. A few years ago, SyQuest was the standard. Since then, the Zip disk has become very popular with its smaller physical size and larger capacity. Other options are the Jaz disks, CD's, and SuperDisks.


Some print shops and service bureaus will archive files for you for a fee. Check with them for availability, pricing, and the length of time that they will keep them. It depends on the chances of having the job re-run or having changes added if you would benefit from them storing it. It is always a good idea to keep a copy yourself in case something happens to the file at the service bureau.


There are several different types of data storage. What is right for depends on how often it will be used, how much space you need, speed, etc. A point to keep in mind when purchasing a system is that the speed of your computer processor will determine the data-transfer speed, regardless of the speed of the storage device. There are also different ways of connecting the devices: EIDE, parallel, SCSI, USB, and FireWire. Make sure the option you choose is compatible with your system.

Here are some of the many options, all of the options are removable media.

Floppy disk - The 3.5" floppy disk has been the most common method of storing data. It works well for text files but the limited size (about 1.4MB) makes it too small for most graphic files. Almost every system has a floppy drive (excluding the iMacs) which makes them easy to transfer data to different systems. They are relatively slow, but the cheap price and small size still make them desirable.

CD-ROM (Compact disc - read-only memory) - You can write data to a CD-ROM only once, after that it cannot be changed. The data is written with a special drive to "burn" (write the information) to the CD. Most CD players included with systems are "read only". The CDs themselves are very inexpensive and hold around 700MB.

CD-RW (Compact Disc - ReWritable) - CD-RW are the same as CD-ROM only you can erase or write over them.

DVD-RAM ReWritables (Digital Versatile Disk)- DVDs look like CDs but can hold 5.2GB. The DVD-RAM ReWritables also can be erased and written over.

SyQuest and Bernoulli - SyQuest and Bernoulli are two types of disks that are basically the same but are made by different vendors. SyQuest is made by SyQuest International and Bernoulli is made by Iomega Corporation. SyQuest was the standard in the prepress areas of printing companies and service bureaus for several years. They came in 44MB, 88MB, and 200MB in the 5.25" size. They then came out with a smaller 3.5" disk that could hold 135MB, 230MB, and 270MB. They also have the SparQ which is a drive and disks that hold 1GB and the SyJet drive and disks which hold 1.5GB. The Bernoulli disks come in 20MB, 44MB, 90MB, 150MB, and 230MB sizes. SyQuest was bought out by Iomega in 1999.

MO (Magnetic-Optical) - Also known as an optical, are relatively slow so they are used for archiving and backup purposes or for transferring large files. They come in both 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch cartridge sizes. The 5.25-inch disks are two-sided and hold 1.3GB, 2.3GB, 2.6GB, or 4.6GB; whereas the 3.5-inch disks are single-sided only and hold either 230MB or 640MB.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape) - DAT use 4mm or 8mm tape cassettes, which is a sequential-access medium, which means that to find a specific file on the tape, you have to wind the tape to that point. This makes the drives slower than random-access devices at finding a specific file. Digital audio tapes are used for daily backups and archiving large jobs. The tapes can hold anywhere from 2GB to 50GB.

Tape Cartridges

  • ADR Cartridge - 30GB cartridges that require a special drive.
  • AIT Data Cartridge - 25GB, 50GB, 70GB
  • DLT Tape Cartridge (Digital Linear Tape) - Hold anywhere from 10GB to 80GB.
  • DDS Tape - Available in 8GB, 24GB, and 40GB.
  • VXAtape - VXAtape cartridges come in 24GB, 40GB, and 66GB. The cartridges are used with the VXA-1 tape drive made by Ecrix. They are very fast and durable.
  • LTO (Linear Tape Open) - LTOs are 4 inches square in size and hold up to 100GB of data.

Zip: Zip disks are manufactured with a capacity of either 100MB or 250MB. A 250MB drive can read the 100MB disks but the 100MB drive can only read the 100MB disks. Zip drives are made by Iomega, but several vendors produce the disks.

Jaz: The Jaz disk was introduced after the Zip drive became so popular. It is also made by Iomega and the disks are available in 1GB or 2GB capacities. The 2GB drives can read both disks but the 1GB drive only reads the 1GB disks.

Clik! Disk: Made by Iomega, the Clik! disk holds up to 40MB of data. They are the size of a matchbook and are used primarily for digital cameras and laptops.

SuperDisk: The SuperDisk is Imation's response to the Iomega Zip disk. They hold 120MB and require a SuperDisk drive to read the disks. SuperDisk drives also read regular floppy 1.44MB disks.

ORB: Made by Castlewood, ORB disks are available in a 2.2GB capacity and use the ORB Drive.

Internet: There are several online services bureaus specializing in content storage on their servers free of charge or for a fee.

Solid-State Removable Storage: Storing data with solid-state removable storage is fast, small, light and the devices have no moving parts. It is not magnetic like a hard disk or optical like a CD, but is a solid state semiconductor such as battery backed RAM. Access time is faster than a disk because the data can be randomly accessed and does not rely on a read/write interface head synchronizing with a rotating disk. They also provide greater physical resilience to vibration, shock and extreme temperature changes.

The one disadvantage that solid-state storage has is the higher cost per megabyte of storage. They are used for small, portable devices such as digital cameras and PDAs. A special card reader is required so that the disks can be read on a standard PC.

Solid state storage is based on read-only memory (ROM). ROM is sometimes described as nonvolatile memory as it doesn't require any power to keep its contents intact. It is also referred to as Flash memory. There currently is no standard in flash memory types. You may have two different devices that use two different types of cards. The following are some of the available options:

  • DataFlash: A Type II PC Card has DataFlash memory, which makes them larger in size than the other options. They are found in larger, professional-level digital cameras and can store data ranging from 8MB up to 160MB.
  • SmartMedia: Known as Solid State Floppy Disk Card (SSFDC), the SmartMedia format is very small, measuring about 1.7 by 1.5 inches with a thickness of 0.03 inches. It has a storage capacity of 2MB up to 128MB. In order to use SmartMedia, there are different adapters available including a PC Card adapter and a floppy disk adapter.
  • CompactFlash: With the ability to store 4MB to 64MB of data, CompactFlash cards are about the same physical size as SmartMedia except that they are thicker. CompactFlash adapters are available in order for the cards to be used properly.
  • CompactFlash: With the ability to store 4MB to 64MB of data, CompactFlash cards are about the same physical size as SmartMedia except that they are thicker. CompactFlash adapters are available in order for the cards to be used properly.


Back to Top

More Imaging >>

Additional search results for:
   Data Storage
Image Storage
Variable Data
Switched Multimegabit Data Service (SMDS)
Static Data
Material Safety Data Sheets
Mailbox Storage
Forms Data
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)
Electronic Data Processing (EDP)
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Data-centric Application
Data Transmission
Enter keywords to search
PrintingTips.Com Knowledge
Print Preparation
Bar Coding
Analog Platemaking
Desktop Publishing
File Transfer
Image Formats
Data Storage
Stock Art
Planning and Design
Print Processes
Security Features
Print Products
Features of Interest
Featured Ad
Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Site Map |  Index |  Contact Us
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.
Copyright 2024 Tecstra Systems, All Rights Reserved, PrintingTips.Com

Data Storage -

Printing Tips Home Customer Service Knowledge Glossary Printing Tips Home