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Definition: mass storage

Permanent peripheral storage, which is typically a hard disk drive or solid state drive (SSD). It may also refer to a magnetic tape library. Mass storage is an older term that refers to ordinary storage, which was always larger (more "massive") than main memory (RAM). See storage vs. memory.

If the term is used today, it means a huge amount of storage such as in a server array and not the capacity found in a single computer or server (see RAID array). See flash memory, magnetic disk, optical disc and magnetic tape.

Mass Storage on a Deck of Cards
In the 1960s, a roomful of these Card Random Access Memory (CRAM) units provided 176 megabytes of direct access mass storage, a huge capacity for that era. See CRAM for more details. (Image courtesy of NCR Corporation.)