People have been able to store data for nearly a century now. Although data storage has not been around for too long in human history, great strides have been made since it was first introduced. Additionally, data storage is only getting better with each passing year. You may have heard how modern smartphones are immensely faster than the rockets produced by NASA in 1969. The same holds for storing information as observed from this brief timeline.
1920’s and 30s
Data storage truly began in 1928 when Fritz Pfleumer invented magnetic tape. At the time, it was hailed as a savior in terms of storing information. This soon gave way to the invention of the magnetic drum in 1932, created by G. Kaushik.
Numerous inventions came to fruition in the 1940s, mostly due to Professor Fredrick C. Williams’s hard work. Along with his colleagues’ help, he was able to produce the world’s first random access memory computer. The storage in this device was 1,024 bits. Additional devices introduced during this time were the Selectron tube, delay line memory, and magnetic core.
1950’s and 60’s
The hard disk was invented in 1956. It utilized rotating platters to retrieve and store bits of information. This led the way for the compact audio cassette to be released in 1963. One fun fact was that the cassette was originally designed with dictation machines in mind, but it soon became a popular format to store music. Robert H. Dennard invented DRAM cells in 1966, which increased memory density as a whole.
The 1970s brought floppy disks to the world. Floppy disks were a universal form of data storage and allowed information to be portable. The first floppy disk was eight inches, but it was not long until a 5.25-inch version was introduced. In addition to being smaller and more convenient, this smaller device could actually hold more bits. This data storage timeline is a great resource, providing information on the full evolution of data storage devices.
Floppy disks continued to become smaller throughout the 1980s and 90s, but this decade also brought the CD. James T. Russel was the first in the 1960s to realize light could be used to record music. It was not until 1980 that the project was complete.
DVDs became the next big hit in the 1990s. Numerous other technology achievements occurred during this time, including the release of the Microdrive. People also began using multimedia cards.
The biggest innovation in terms of data storage in the 21st century is obviously cloud storage. Advancements in internet bandwidth have allowed many tech companies to introduce cloud storage, which has become a more economical resource for individuals and businesses alike. Rather than owning hardware, people can now upload information to the cloud, allowing them to access the information from any device anywhere.
Storing data is a relative innovation in the tech field, but it has grown exponentially within the last couple of decades alone. Greater advancements will surely happen in the coming years, and it is important to remain aware of what technologies are likely to come up so that you can adapt.