A history of data storage [Infographic]

Do you remember the days when you had a limit to what you could store? Technology is always evolving, adapting to the changes in business and now the floppy disk, the CD-ROM and the hard disk are a thing of the past. We take a scroll down memory lane and look at the history of data storage as well as how the past devices would survive in this modern working environment with “The History of Data Storage Interactive Timeline.”

The History of Data Storage

Computers have come a long way since the mid-1950s and much of their history has been defined by the progress of how we store and use data. Different eras have given us unlikely iconic artifacts like the floppy disk and CD-ROM, while technologies have generally got smaller and faster.

Now Dell looks to have changed the game all over again with the introduction of Ophelia, a personal cloud access stick that offers unlimited storage. So what better time to take a trip down memory lane and look at the history of data storage.

The early days

Everything about early computing was bulky in the extreme and usually about the size of a room, so why would data storage be any different? Amazing breakthroughs were made in the 1950s and ’60s but proper portability of data storage solutions was still a long way off.

The first 5¼-inch floppy disks emerged in the mid-1970s, but these pioneering efforts could only muster 360KB of storage space. The floppies were a forerunner, though, to the more portable and powerful data carriers to come like Sony’s 3½-inch Diskette that was launched in 1981 and eventually IBM’s Microdrive, which stored up to an impressive 170MB as early as 1999.

Hard disks and SD cards

The past few decades saw the introduction of hard disk solutions that could not only store lots of data but also transfer to your computer with increasing speed and reliability. Items like the brilliantly named Seagate Barracuda and the IBM Deskstar Titan took data storage and transfer technology seamlessly into the 21st century.

Meanwhile, matters were also starting to get seriously portable in the early 2000s with companies like Sony and SanDisk succeeding in delivering high-capacity SD cards that could be used with ever smaller and more mobile devices. By now memory card storage has reached an expansive scale, with Sony’s largest memory products capable of coping with up to 2TB worth of data.

The cloud

But, the latest Dell data storage solutions have upped the ante still further by offering mobile access to cloud computing. The Dell Ophelia is being readied as something like a computer on a stick and a very portable one at that. The technology offers access to unlimited storage via the cloud and runs on the immensely popular Android operating system.

So perhaps we are getting our first glimpses of what data storage solutions might look like for the next 50 years. In the meantime, it’s well worth checking out the interactive data storage timeline.

Alan McMahon
Alan McMahon is an online marketing specialist currently responsible for all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) for Dell across Europe (13 countries, eight languages). He holds a marketing degree and a BSc degree in psychology.
Alan McMahon
Alan McMahon
Tags: Storage,Technology
  • Mobin Ranjbar

    Why you did not mention Spectra Logic Tapes(www.spectralogic.com) that CERN uses them in its data center?!