Storage Capacity

What Does Storage Capacity Mean?

Storage capacity refers to the specific amount of data storage that a device or system can accommodate. This critical measurement is commonplace in consumer-facing IT and also in designing enterprise systems or other larger systems to function properly.


Techopedia Explains Storage Capacity

In order to precisely represent storage capacity, IT professionals and others use terms like kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes. In the earlier days of computing, storage capacity, or disk space, was often measured in kilobytes. As new storage media began to accommodate the storage of digital image and video, megabytes quickly replaced kilobytes, and gigabytes quickly replaced megabytes. New storage capacity measurements are often presented in terms of hundreds of gigabytes.

One major advance in storage capacity has been powered by something called solid-state design. In more primitive data storage hard drives, data was encoded into the physical drive on a platter and read by a stylus as that platter revolved. Now, many of these types of hard drives have been replaced by a solid-state storage system. In solid-state data storage, large amounts of data can be written on very small storage media through the use of silicon or similar materials and various chemical elements that provide charging at a molecular level to encode data. This process is called doping. Assessing storage capacity is a major part of providing upgrades to systems. It’s also part of looking at the most fundamental advances in IT manufacturing that will power the next generation of devices and systems.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.