What Are the Different Forms of Media?

As of 2014, most computer storage media comes in three forms: magnetic, optical and flash. Magnetic media includes internal and external hard drives, although there are still a few formats that use magnetic tape or removable disks. Optical media includes CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. Flash memory storage involves USB drives, SD and other flash memory cards, and solid-state hard drives.

Each form of media has its advantages and disadvantages. Magnetic media is relatively cheap and cost-effective, but over time, the magnetic field degrades and these drives eventually fail due to the mechanical parts wearing out. Optical media can be cheap and easy to use for backing up data, but the discs are fragile and susceptible to scratching and warping due to heat. Flash memory offers great performance, but it is the most expensive form of data storage and each data cell can only be written to a finite number of times before it fails.

Another popular storage option is cloud storage. Cloud storage uses remote servers to store data, allowing users to connect to their programs and files using their Internet connection. These services can offer safety and flexibility, allowing users to connect to their data anywhere they can reach the Internet. However, without an Internet connection, any data stored in the cloud is unavailable for use.