List of Different Types of Computer File Storage Systems

By Naomi Bolton

Computer storage is important for storing and archiving company files.
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If your business works with big files such as large images, videos and programs, chances are that you will start running out of space eventually. The type of storage option you choose will depend on your budget and what storage system is most suitable for your company's needs. To prevent loss of income if your computer gets damaged, it is very important that you create backup files and store it on another system.

Built-in Storage Systems

The first storage system your files will be saved to is your computer's built-in hard drive. It is possible to install multiple hard drives in one computer. You can, for instance, assign one specific hard drive for archiving purposes. Keep in mind that your operating system and software also take up hard drive space, so you need to calculate that in if you want to estimate what capacity you will need. As of May 2013, hard drives up to 4TB are available commercially.

Removable Storage Systems

The most commonly used removable storage systems for computers include external hard drives, USB memory sticks and DVDs. The external hard drive has the largest capacity and can be plugged into your computer via its USB port. External hard drives are available in the same sizes as regular hard drives, and it is also possible to convert a regular hard drive to external using a special casing. The benefit over other removable systems is that you can move large files fairly quickly and it works out cheaper per gigabyte than the smaller USB stick. USB memory sticks are ideal for temporary file storage, as they are small and portable. USB memory sticks are now available in capacities of up to 1TB. DVDs are a good option for archiving purposes if you don't have too many files to back up or if you want to give the files to your colleagues or clients permanently. DVDs are fairly inexpensive and you get them in recordable and rewritable versions.

Network Storage Systems

In an office setting with a local area network, it is beneficial to have one central server that contains all the files for everybody to access. The simplest network storage option is to share one of the PCs to the network and create a public folder on it. If you don't want to keep one PC on at all times to be available for storage, a router with a USB port is another solution: plug a USB stick or external hard drive into the port and the files on it will be available on the network. Some external hard drives also come with network support, allowing you to share them directly to the network, and you get hard drive casings that will transform your internal drive to a network storage card. A more dedicated network storage option is the network attached storage (NAS) devices. Some of these NAS servers are dedicated to sharing and archiving files on your network, but others can also act as a printer, media streamer or even surveillance system.

Online Storage Systems

Online storage services are a good file storage option if your employees work at remote desktops. There are many online cloud storage services, among which are quite a few that you can make use of for free up to a certain capacity. Most of these services charge for the space you use and allow for automatic syncing of different devices. Some are designed for specific purposes, such as a music library or backup system. Many software packages also make use of cloud computing so the software stays on the online server, leaving more space on your own PC for your own files.