Data storage is a fundamental component in computing and describes digital files retained on an optical or electronic system for later retrieval. As time has passed, the volumes of data generated by computers and computer systems has exploded, with the manufacturers of data storage technology continually advancing the capabilities of the devices which retain and protect information. Storage can be thought of as a cupboard for data – in fact, one of the world’s leading data storage companies, EMC (now part of Dell), started by selling furniture.
Storage typically describes the physical devices, while databases are concerned with data structure and management. Today, even personal storage capacities run into the terabytes, with this section of the information technology industry valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars.