Storage devices perform the fundamental function of storage networks, which is the reading and writing of data stored on nonvolatile media. They operate in the microscopic realm, combining advanced magnetic physics, chemistry, and electronics. Demands to increase capacity and performance continue to force the industry to conduct fundamental scientific research on the microscopic characteristics of materials.

Storage devices are the building blocks of storage in disk subsystems as well as being used as standalone products in server systems. This chapter mostly examines disk drive technology as the device that is used far more than any other. Tape drives are looked at at the end of the chapter.

Reproduced from the book Storage Networking Fundamentals: An Introduction to Storage Devices, Subsystems, Applications, Management, and File Systems. Copyright © 2005, Cisco Systems, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., 800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Written permission from Pearson Education, Inc. is required for all other uses.