Evolution of Data Storage Technology

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Evolution of Data Storage Technology – A Brief Overview Ever since the advent of the computer age, the need to properly manage information has been of paramount importance. The rapid changes in computing technology, as well as market needs for other forms of digital storage, have contributed heavily in the evolution of the technology behind information storage and retrieval. In the early years of computing, a number of different technologies were used for information storage. The earliest devices included magnetic tapes and drums, vacuum tubes and magnetic discs. What all these designs had in common, was that all of them were extremely large and expensive, and the technology behind them was still rudimentary. In 1956, IBM introduced the RAMAC design, which emerged as the dominant design and was rapidly adopted by other vendors. RAMAC implements a spinning magnetic disk with a phonograph like head accessing data, which is controlled by a controller which then transmits the data to the interface connecting the device to the computer. This design has endured and continues to be the fundamental operating principle behind modern day hard disks. As computers became more mainstream, there was demand for portable data storage. That led to the first floppy disk in 1971, where the magnetic disc containing the data was separated from the rest of the system, and when needed could be plugged in to a drive containing the reading head and the controller. This advancement was crucial, as from this period onwards, we start to see parallel technological advances in internal and external data storage technologies. Also, at this point we start seeing the emergence of clear performance parameters which drove the innovation of these devices: • Reliability • Capacity • Speed of operation (data read/write) • Cost • Size The degree of importance of these parameters

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