In order to understand what is virtual data, you need to look at what it is not. While there is some confusion about this, especially in the beginning, it’s worth knowing how to define virtual data in order to figure out what it is in the first place.
Virtual data is data that is stored in a completely different location than your own computer. Virtual data is also called remote data. For example, an e-mail can be stored in a location on the web server of a company somewhere else, somewhere other than where the mailer is physically stored on your computer.
How can a computer be using a different location for its data?
Well, most computers only store data on the hard drive or the DVD/CD-ROM drive. The hard drive is where the computer looks for data when you open up your mouse and click on something.
The hard drive is good for only one thing: storing the data of programs you have run. It’s like taking a video tape and putting all the movies on it on one side and the programs you’ve watched on the other. It makes sense to save those movies somewhere on the tape so you can watch them later.
The second way that most computers store data is by having a storage device on their computer. One of the main reasons why PCs are often used is so that they can access their e-mail, or what you call online storage. However, that online storage is also considered online data, because you can see your data on the internet without having it on the hard drive of your computer.
So, when a person opens up their computer and clicks on something, and then opens up their e-mail and saves it, they’re saving the data on the hard drive of their computer. And when they go to retrieve that data, they use their web browser and look for it on the internet. Now, the person who sent that email to you probably wouldn’t want the person who just saved it for you to download it from the internet to their hard drive. You’re actually saving the data on the hard drive of their computer.
In other words, all the data on your local computer is virtual data. You don’t have it, but someone else does. This is important for several reasons, but one of the most important ones is that it makes it easier for both your computer and the internet to be synchronized so that all information is available at all times.
In the case of online data, what is virtual data? When someone creates a website, or a blog, or an e-mail address or an account for a social networking site, what’s stored in that online storage is the same thing that is stored in a storage unit somewhere else, with the exception that it’s in a different location.
Virtual data also has two forms.
There’s online data room, and there’s offline data.
Offline data is what is used for online data. What’s stored in a file in your computer is also virtual data, and it is your online data. The reason you don’t see the data stored in your computer as you would see on your computer is because it’s online.
Offline data is also called system data.
System data is stored offsite. Data that isn’t usually seen by any of the computers that are hooked up to your network, including the computers that are owned by your own company, is stored offsite.