What is:

Optical, Magnetic and Solid state Storge?

Optical Storge

In general, optical or optical technology refers to anything that relates to light or vision, whether it be visible light or infrared light that performs a specific function. For example, optical fiber, like that shown to the right is a type of wire commonly made out of glass or plastic that carries light signals. These signals can be interpreted by a computer as data (binary) and is one example of how data can be transferred over a network.

A computer mouse is another type of device that uses optical technology. Blu-ray laserOptical storage devices use optical technology to save and retrieve data on discs, like a Blu-ray, CD, DVD. The device uses a laser light to read information on the disc and to "write" new information to the disc for future retrieval.


Durability. With proper care, optical media can last a long time, depending on what kind of optical media you choose.

Great for archiving. Several forms of optical media are write-once read-many, which means that when data is written to them, they cannot be reused. This is excellent for archiving because data is preserved permanently with no possibility of being overwritten.

Transport ability. Optical media are widely used on other platforms, including the PC. For example, data written on a DVD-RAM can be read on a PC or any other system with an optical device and the same file system.

Random access. Optical media provide the capability to pinpoint a particular piece of data stored on it, independent of the other data on the volume or the order in which that data was stored on the volume.


Reusable. The write-once read-many (WORM) characteristic of some optical media makes it excellent for archiving, but it also prevents you from being able to use that media again.

Writing time. The server uses software compression to write compressed data to your optical media. This process takes considerable processing unit resources and may increase the time needed to write and restore that data.

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Magnetic Storge

A magnetic card is a rectangular object that contains either a magnetic strip on the outside or a magnetic object within the card that contains data. A magnetic card may contain information about an individual such as available credit on a credit card, or contain information about an employee that allows that employee into certain parts of a building. In the picture to the right is an example of a Magnetic card being swiped through a magnetic card reader.

Any storage medium that utilizes magnetic patterns to represent information. Good examples of a magnetic media and magnetic storage are a floppy diskette and hard drive.

Floppy Disk -



Easy to carry


Useful for transferring small files

Can be used many times

Security tab to stop data from being overwritten


Easy to be damaged

Small storage capacity

Many new computers don’t have floppy disk drives

Can transport a virus from one machine to another

Slow to access and retrieve data when compared to a hard disk

Data can be erased if the disk comes into contact with a magnetic field


Magnetic Tape -


Relatively cheap per megabyte of storage

Can store large amounts of data - over 100 Gb

Can be set up to do the back-up overnight or over the week


Needs serial access, so can be quite slow to access data

Need a special piece of equipment to record and read the data on the tape


Hard Disk -


Stores data for operating systems, software and working data

Good for any application requiring very fast access

Good for online and real-time processes

Can handle major procedures such as payroll processing


Generally not portable

Solid state Storge

In computers, solid state is used to describe a storage media that does not involve magnetic disks or any moving parts. For example, computer memory (RAM), utilizes solid state media. RAM consists of microchips that store data on non-moving components, providing for fast retrieval of that data. The transistor is considered to be the first widely used solid-state device and is still being used in almost all electronic devices today.

Advantages of Solid State Storage Device

1. Faster startup because there is no spin-up required.

2. Far faster than conventional disks.

3. Faster boot and application launch time when hard disk seeks are the limiting factor.

4. Somewhat longer lifetime – Flash storages typically has a data lifetime of 10 years before it stops working.

5. Security – allowing a very quick scan of all data stored.

6. Some of the storage devices are waterproof.

Disadvantages of Solid State Storage Devices

1. Price – Flash memory prices are still considerably higher per gigabyte than those of comparable conventional hard drives.

2. Vulnerability to certain types of effects, including abrupt power loss, magnetic fields and electric/static charges compared to normal hard disk drives.

3. Limited writes cycles. Typical Flash storage will typically wear out after 100,000-300,000 write cycles, while high endurance Flash storage is often marketed with endurance of 1–5 million write cycles

4. Slow random write speeds – as erase blocks on SSDs generally are quite large, they're far slower than conventional disks for random writes.


Magnetic can be erased, damaged or worn out. But it can also be very fast. Hard drives are magnetic.

Optical can be written only once(in most cases) scratched, improperly burned or lost, but they are portable, cheap and easy to mail.

Solid state is very small, will not wear out from excessive use and is relatively durable.