7 Data Storage Milestones That Changed History

Data storage is in high demand because the globe generates a vast amount of data every day. Every minute, over 55,000 images are uploaded to Instagram, over 18 million SMS are sent, and nearly 700,000 Tik Tok videos are viewed.

That’s a lot of information that needs to be saved. To store all of the data generated by the world every day, 15,625,000 cellphones with 128 gigabytes of storage would be required.

How did the globe keep all of this data before the introduction of supposedly endless cloud storage? Because 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years, the volume of data was easier to deal with. However, data storage has gone through several variations to get to where it is now. Here are seven of the most significant events in data storage’s brief history.

1) Playing Cards

Punch cards were used long before computers were invented. They were first invented in 1725 to aid in the regulation of textile industry mechanical looms. Punched holes in the paper cards constituted a series of instructions, with actions turned on or off based on whether a hole was punched or not.

Herman Hollerith expanded on the punch card concept in the late 1800s, using it to store data rather than only run instructions. The 1890 U.S. Census would use his punch card data processing technique. Hollerith would go on to found the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Business, which would later become IMB, the immensely successful company that was at the forefront of the other data storage breakthroughs described in this article.

A single punch card could hold roughly 80 characters, meaning that a tweet nowadays can hold more information than a punch card could. They quickly lost favour as a data store medium when magnetic storage became more common. They are, nevertheless, still present in voting machines and standardised examinations today.

2. Magnetic Tape

The invention of magnetic tape revolutionised data storage. When UNIVAC discovered a means to store data on its first modern commercial computer using tape in the early 1950s, it changed the world. A single roll of magnetic tape could store the equivalent of 10,000 punch cards in data.

Over the years, magnetic tape underwent various changes before becoming the primary component in cassette tapes and VHS cassettes.

While tape has (more or less) fallen out of favour in the public eye since the introduction of CDs and DVDs, its durability and low cost make it an ideal media for archival preservation.

3) Storage devices

IBM announced the development of the first hard disc drive in 1956. (HDD). Instead of being limited to linear data storage and retrieval on magnetic tape, HDDs may access data in any sequence required. Early HDDs used rotating discs coated in magnetic paint to store data. Those discs would spin at over 1,200 rpm, with a mechanical arm within the drive grabbing the necessary data.

In 1956, the first commercial hard drive was released. It was nearly a tonne and the size of a refrigerator. The best part? It could only store 5 MB of data, and each MB was worth roughly $10,000. That much data is about equivalent to one MP3 music file.

Thankfully, hard drives have gradually become smaller, more inexpensive, and capable of holding more data. The bulk of today’s desktop and laptop computers still employ the same fundamental hard disc technology.

4. Floppy Disks

The invention of the floppy disc aided the growth of the personal computer sector. The early floppy discs were approximately eight inches long and could only contain about 80 kB of data. The flexible and susceptible plastic used to make these discs earned them the nickname “floppy.” It was later packed in a tough plastic coating that made it easier to handle in ordinary situations.

Even though the floppy disc is no longer used in ordinary life (although some government agencies do), its memory lives on as the globally recognised “save” icon.

5) Memory sticks

Memory stick, pen drive, thumb drive The popular flash drive is known by several names. The USB flash drive is immune to electromagnetic interference since it employs flash memory rather than magnetised strips, making it more resistant to data deletion than its predecessors.

Although both IBM and the Israeli company M-Systems filed for an innovation patent in 1999, it’s unclear who invented the flash drive first. However, it became widely available in late 2000, and it immediately became a popular personal storage device. Its excellent portability and affordable price ensure that it remains a popular storage device.

6) Online data storage

Personal data storage capacity were formerly restricted by the size of whatever storage device was physically available. Your personal storage restrictions are now solely determined by the cost of storing your data in the cloud. When you use the cloud to transport or store data, you’re actually sending it to a third-party distant database halfway around the world.

Early forms of cloud storage appeared in the 1960s with the construction of ARPANET, a network that allowed scientists to share their research with others. Dropbox, Salesforce, and, of course, Google have taken cloud sharing to the next level by making it publicly available.

Individuals, small enterprises, and enterprise-level companies have quickly adopted cloud storage as their preferred form of data storage.

7) Data Storage’s Next Evolution

The entire digital cosmos will have 44 zettabytes of data by the year 2020. While it may appear to the general public that cloud storage is boundless, it is not. All of the information still needs to be physically kept.

Scientists are working hard to develop data storage choices that can handle the continually increasing volume of data. DNA appears to be the frontrunner in the data storage contest. Given that one gramme of DNA can store 215 petabytes of data, it appears to be a viable choice as data storage costs and location constraints rise. Quantum memory and holograms are two more futuristic-sounding data storage options that scientists are investigating.

While the next widely adopted evolution of data storage is unclear, one thing is certain: the amount of data on the planet will continue to expand. It’s anyone’s guess what technology will eventually replace the cloud.