How Computers Store ESI – Collection Fundamentals Series, Part 3
A multi-part series on the essentials practitioners need to know about ESI collections
by Matthew Verga, JD, Xact Data Discovery
In “Collection and the Duty of Technology Competence,” we discussed lawyers’ duty of technology competence and the importance of understanding collection to fulfilling that duty. In “The Broad Scope of Collection,” we discussed the potential legal and technological scope of collection. In this part, we review how computer memory actually stores ESI.
A Tale of Tiers and Types
Modern computers employ a wide range of memory technology in concert to accomplish tasks, including read only memory(ROM), multiple levels of cache, random access memory (RAM), and hard drives, including both hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs). This multiplicity of memory is partly for efficiency and partly for affordability.
To operate efficiently, computers need to be able to access and work with lots of stored information as quickly as possible. Some information is needed to tell all of the computer’s components how to work together, some is needed to run the operating system and your applications, some is needed to track and respond to inputs, and some is needed to retain all of your activity and files. Some of that information needs to be stored reliably even when the computer is off, and some of it is only needed temporarily when the computer is on and performing specific operations. Some of it never changes, and some changes all the time.