Data Management Glossary
A file is a named collection of data that is stored on a computer or other storage device. It represents a unit of information, such as a document, image, video, audio recording, program, or any other type of digital content. Files are organized within a file system, which provides a hierarchical structure for storing and retrieving data.
Files are typically associated with specific file formats that define the structure and organization of the data they contain. Common file formats include .txt (plain text), .docx (Microsoft Word document), .jpg (JPEG image), .mp3 (MP3 audio), .mp4 (MP4 video), and many more. Each file format has its own specifications and is designed to be interpreted or processed by specific software or applications.
File extensions are a part of the file name that indicates the file format or type. They usually consist of a period (.) followed by a few letters or a combination of letters and numbers. For example, a file named “document.txt” has a “.txt” extension, indicating that it is a plain text file.
File Properties and Metadata
Files can have associated properties and metadata that provide additional information about the file. This may include attributes such as file size, creation date, modification date, author, permissions, and more. File properties and metadata help users and operating systems manage and organize files effectively.
Files can be manipulated through various file operations, such as creating, opening, reading, writing, modifying, moving, copying, and deleting. These operations are typically performed using file management functions or commands provided by the operating system or specific software applications.
Files are stored within a file system, which is responsible for managing and organizing the storage of files on a storage device, such as a hard drive, solid-state drive, or network attached storage (NAS). File systems provide a directory structure to organize files into folders or directories and enable efficient retrieval and storage of data.
Files can be compressed to reduce their size, making them occupy less storage space and facilitating faster file transfers. Compression algorithms, such as ZIP or GZIP, are used to compress files by eliminating redundancy or encoding data more efficiently. Compressed files need to be decompressed or extracted to restore them to their original form.
Files are fundamental units of data in computing and are essential for storing and accessing various types of digital content. They enable the creation, sharing, and management of information in a structured and organized manner.
There are many standards and protocols that define how files are transferred, shared, and accessed. File protocol examples include:
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP): FTP is one of the earliest and most widely used protocols for transferring files between computers over a network. It provides a simple way to upload, download, and manage files on a remote server.
- Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP): SFTP is an extension of the SSH protocol and provides a secure method for transferring files over a network. It offers encryption and authentication, ensuring that data is protected during transit.
- File Transfer Protocol over Secure Shell (FTP over SSH or FTPS): FTPS combines the FTP protocol with SSL or TLS encryption to provide secure file transfers. It adds a layer of security to the traditional FTP protocol.
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): While primarily used for transferring web pages, HTTP can also be used to transfer files. When files are accessed via HTTP, they can be downloaded directly from a web server using a web browser or other HTTP client.
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS): HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. It uses SSL or TLS encryption to secure the communication between a web server and a client, ensuring that files transferred over HTTPS are protected from eavesdropping and tampering.
- Network File System (NFS): NFS is a distributed file system protocol that allows files to be accessed and shared among multiple computers in a network. It enables clients to mount remote file systems and access them as if they were local.
- Server Message Block (SMB) / Common Internet File System (CIFS): SMB, also known as CIFS, is a network file sharing protocol commonly used in Windows environments. It allows computers to share files, printers, and other resources over a network.
- Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV): WebDAV extends the HTTP protocol to support remote file management. It enables users to collaboratively edit and manage files stored on a remote server, providing features like file locking, versioning, and metadata management.
These are just a few examples of file protocols used for transferring, sharing, and accessing files over networks. Each protocol has its own specifications and features, catering to specific use cases and requirements for secure and efficient file operations.
We built the product on open standards, so the customer is not locked into our solution. This was risky, because it meant that a customer could kick us out at any time. This is contradictory in the data storage industry where the popular mindset is: “own the data, own the customer.” Our approach forces us to deliver white glove treatment to ensure we’re really solving a customer’s problem. In the process, this has made Komprise stickier with our customers. The way I see it is, if you have data you need Komprise.