Data storage

7 of the most important milestones in data storage

Cloud storage services, like Dropbox, are just the latest in a long line of progressive developments in data storage over time. From the early days of punch cards, the way we store, read-write, and transfer data changed beyond recognition until just 100 years ago.

What is the the future of data storage that everyone will guess, but there are certainly some interesting proposals.

In the following article, we’ll explore what is meant by terms like “Cloud Storage”, what is the size of a terabyte, and highlight some of the major milestones in the history of data storage.

We’ll also try to put a TB into perspective by estimating how much of each step would be needed to provide the same amount of data storage (if any).


What are the achievements of historical data storage throughout history?

Here are some of the major milestones in data storage Through time. You will not be surprised to learn that it is far from exhaustive.

1. The punch cards and tape helped kick it off

Mid-20th century punched card. Source: Pete Birkinshaw / Wikimedia Commons

Punch cards and tape are one of the very first methods of storing “data” in the history of the computer. Forms of this technology have been used since the early days of Industrial Revolution and were widely used in the textile industry.

They were originally used to control mechanized looms, but were adopted in the 20th century for use in early computers. For computers, punched tape and cards can be used as the basic method for data entry and exit.

Each row on the cards and / or strip represented a single character. Punch cards and tapes were very common for much of the 20th century until the mid-1970s or so.

Interestingly enough, they were also an essential part of Allied Forces Bletchley Park during World War II to store decrypted German messages.

Punch cards, on average, could “store” 80 characters each. It is about 80 bytes by card or 1.26 x 10ten cards (to give or take).

They are, of course, today widely regarded as obsolete.

2. IBM’s Winchester hard drive architecture was a ‘big bang’ moment

The IBM 3340, codenamed “Winchester”, is widely regarded as a “Big Bang” moment in data storage. It was first introduced in the early 1970s and used removable data modules each including a head and arm assembly.

“Winchester” had an access time of 25 milliseconds and the data transfer rates of 885 KB / s. It also came in two sizes including one 35 megabytes capacity version and 70 megabytes version.

To get 1TB of storage you would need 1,000,000 megabytes, so with the biggest 70 megabytes storage, you would need 14 286 “Winchester” units.

It will be very successful and was finally withdrawn in the mid-1980s. While “Winchester” was the product of previous work on hard disks (like RAMAC), many industry players consider this to be a watershed moment in the development of data storage.

3. Magnetic tape and cassettes changed everything

data storage cassette
Source: Pexels

The advent of magnetic tape was revolutionary in the early 1950s. One of the first was called UNISERVO, which was the primary I / O device for the UNIVAC 1 computer and the first commercially available computer.

UNISERVO had a transfer rate of 7,200 characters per second and the data was stored in 365 meters long strip contained in a metal case.

This technology will eventually become one of the most iconic data storage systems of all time – compact cassettes. These would become incredibly popular storage devices and were very common between the 1970s and 1990s.

They had many applications, from computer storage to the music and games industries.

To get 1TB of storage using cassettes you would need (based on C64 format and 2MB of storage) about 500,000 cassettes. The calculation here is thanks to BuffaloX on ubuntuforums.

4. The floppy disk was another “turning point”

data storage disk
Source: Pexels

The development of Floppy disk was a big time in data storage. It almost single-handedly drove the consumption of the personal computing (PC) industry. This, in turn, has prompted manufacturers to develop ever bigger and better hard drives.

PCs also indirectly fostered the development of network attached storage which would ultimately lead to things like NAS, SAN, and RAID (not to mention the Internet).

This technology was developed by IBM and became mainstream around the mid-1970s. It turned out to be so successful that they were still a common sight until the 1990s.

The first versions were 8 inches (203 mm) in size and had about 80 KB data storage capacity. Later versions of the floppy disks were reduced in size to 5.25 inch (133 mm) and 3.5 inches (90 mm) formats and capable of increasing storage to over 1MB per piece.

Use of later formats with approximately 1 MB storage, you would need 1,000,000 floppy disks for 1 TB.

5. Fiber Channel, SAS and SATA have changed everything

Fiber Channel Data Storage
Fiber Channel Director with SFP + module. Source: Scottkipp / Wikimedia Commons

Fiber channel, SAS and SATA were other revolutionary developments in data storage and transfer. Fiber Channel, in particular, has evolved from the development of SCSI interfaces that developed into serial links allowing better data transfer in industry.

According to the sites like Wikipedia, Fiber Channels are “a high speed data transfer protocol (typically run at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 128 gigabits per second) providing orderly and lossless delivery of raw block data, mainly used to connect computer data storage To waiters. “

Today, it is widely used in Storage Area Networks (SANs) and other commercial data centers.

To transfer 1 TB data using Fiber Channel, it would take (at 128 GB / s) In regards to 7.8 seconds.

6. SSDs are all the rage

SSD disks, or SSD, has literally changed the data storage industry forever. In the mid-2000s, companies like SanDisk, Samsung, etc. had developed flash SSDs on the market which directly replaced old hard drives.

SSDs were faster and smaller than their contemporaries. They are the de facto standard today for many portable devices and computers. Compared to old hard drives, SSDs offer better storage capacity, better performance, and they are more energy efficient and are more suitable for miniaturization.

Many devices today have huge storage capacities. Sizes like 1 TB + a coin are becoming commonplace today.

7. Cloud storage and the future

data storage drop box
Source: Drop box

Online storage (more on this later) was one of the most significant developments in data storage in the history of computing. By changing the traditional conception of local data storage, it is taking the data storage industry by storm.

It’s actually a lot older than you might think. Some early versions were developed in the early 1980s, by Compuserve, and may even have their origin in the 1960s with technologies such as ARPANET.

Hosting companies, like Dropbox, have benefited from this development and now have millions of users around the world.

Technology experts are confident that it will become one of, if not the primary method of data storage in the future.

What is cloud storage?

According to Techopedia, “Cloud storage is a model of cloud computing in which data is stored on remote servers accessible from the Internet or“ cloud ”. Cloud storage is also known as utility storage – a term subject to differentiation depending on the actual implementation and service delivery. “

Data storage typically takes the form of physical storage on multiple servers which are often located in multiple locations around the world. Access to this form of storage is usually owned and managed by a hosting company (such as Drop box).

These suppliers are responsible for the maintenance and operation of said servers. They are also responsible for the access and security of customer data. Users effectively rent some of the data storage capacity from hosting companies and require Internet access and an application programming interface to access, store, and retrieve their data.

How much is 1 TB?

How much costs 1 TB? Basically a lot.

1 TB data is 1,000,000,000,000 bytes Where ten12 bytes Where 1000 gigabytes. It is, in this sense, a large multiple of the base unit “byte” used to quantify the digital information.

Its prefix, Tera, represents the power of 4 of 1000 and means 10 to the power of 12 in the International System of Units. It is therefore 1000 billion bytes.

To put this in perspective, it would be about 8 smartphones each with a 128 GB capacity.

This amount of memory would be enough to store (courtesy of Dropbox):

  • 250,000 photos taken with a 12MP camera;
  • 250 films or 500 hours HD video; Where
  • 6.5 million document pages, typically stored as Office files, PDFs, and presentations. It is also equal to 1,300 physical paper binders!
  • One of the first terabyte drives ever produced was by Hitachi in 2007.

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are ours. Dropbox is not affiliated with or endorsed by any other product or service mentioned.