Star Wars; Into The Black
A Data Matrix is a device for storing large amounts of data, with no capability for processing. Data matrices are intended for situations in which a standard data chip is not suitable, usually due to a lack of either chip ports on the computers involved or sufficient capacity or security on available data chips. They are commonly used for backing up important information or transferring it physically from one computer to another. Portable computer systems that need reliable access to large amounts of static data sometimes use small data matrices rather than conventional data chips for long-term storage.
Most data matrices are rectangular solids with measurements between one and three feet long, with standard and nonstandard connection points for connecting to data sources and output systems. They are physically very sturdy, with top-quality models being able to survive assault weapons fire with their contents un-corrupted. While it is possible to make a data matrix the size of a conventional data chip, but many times the capacity, there is not much demand for such items due to the significantly increased cost. There is a small but steady niche market for micro-matrices which can store significant amounts of data in matrices much less physical space than a conventional data chip. Micro-matrices are usually read via an adapter that allows them to connect to a standard port. There are a few standard configurations of micro-matrices, but custom models for specialized purposes are also common.
A data matrix can be secured against unauthorized access both by encrypting the stored data and physically disconnecting portions of the transfer hardware built into the matrix. Most data matrices are lockable in some physical way, such as a restraining bolt or an essential connector using a unique plug being removable. The larger the matrix, the more complex the security features are likely to be.
All data matrices have measures in place to prevent loss or corruption of data. Even the most basic will have some form of shielding to prevent radiation or electromagnetic fluctuations from altering the contents. The most advanced models are physically better-protected than many combat spacecraft. Many popular models trade ultimate capacity for a backup, with two or more sub-matrices storing the same information, which is checked for inconsistencies after storage and at the time of retrieval. Others use a file system that uses checksums to warn the user of potentially corrupted data at various points in the transfer process.