Reasons for Storing Files | Types of Storage Devices
|There are numerous reasons and a variety of methods for storing digital print files. Copies of original files can be made for short term storage, for back-up, or for archiving. Files may be stored on a wide range of removable media or they may be stored off-site until it is necessary to transfer them to the print provider.|
Reasons for Storing Files
Some of the reasons why print files are stored are described below:
- Back-up of Files
Some type of back-up is necessary for every computer system in the event that the system crashes or if print files are mistakenly written over or deleted. It is a good idea to perform a back-up every day. Most back-up software allows you to set a time when the back-up will initiate automatically.
- General Purpose File Storage
There are several methods in which often used print files are stored. The most common device for storing digital print files is the computer hard drive. DVD's, CD's, and Zip disks are also popular for storing files that are used often, such as clip art and photos.
- Transferring Files to a Service Bureau or Printing Company
At some point, print files will need to be transferred to a service bureau or print provider. File transfer can be accomplished with removable media such as a disk, which is then sent on to the printer or it can be transferred via the Internet. Your print provider can advise you as to the types of storage devices and job transfer methods that will work best for a particular situation.
- Archiving Seldom Used Files
Some print shops and service bureaus will archive files for a fee. They can advise you as to availability, pricing, and the time limit for archiving files. Some factors that determine whether or not files should be archived include the possibility of having changes made to a job or if the job requires rerunning. It is advisable to retain a copy of your files in the event that something happens to the files you have sent to the service bureau.
Types of Storage Devices
There are several types of devices and media that are available for the storage of digital files used for digital print output. Most devices allow for the data to be stored on some type of removable media or tape device, which allows for easy storage and transport of the data.
Choosing the correct storage device depends on how often the data will be accessed, the amount of space that is needed, and the speed of the device. One point to remember when purchasing a storage device is that the speed of your computer processor determines the data transfer speed, regardless of the speed of the storage device. Make sure that your computer is compatible with the option that you select. Some of the many storage devices are listed below:
- Hard Drive
The capacity of hard drives continues to increase while their cost has decreased. Either an external or an internal hard disk can be added to provide additional storage. By stacking and connecting a number of high capacity hard drives together in a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), an almost unlimited quantity of data storage can be obtained. All data that is written to one drive is automatically duplicated on the second drive, providing continuous data back-up in a process called mirroring.
- Removable Disks
There are many types of removable disks available from a variety of manufacturers that offer a complete range of storage capabilities. Among the most popular are DVD's, CD's, Zip, and Jaz disks with storage capacities ranging from 100 MB to several GB.
- Tape Cartridges
Like removable disks, tape cartridges are made by many different companies and generally have a much larger storage capacity than disks. They are often used as back-ups for larger files.
The Internet can be used to access online service bureaus that specialize in content storage. Content can be stored for a fee or it may be stored free depending on the other types of services that are purchased from the service bureau.
- 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.