This month we saw another Consumer Electronics Show come and go. As usual, CES 2013 was a chocolate factory for the tech minded full of innovative gadgets from the Razor Edge, iTwin, Curved OLED Panel, Eye Tracking and VR goggles. There were plenty of displays of how we’re evolving and how technology is progressing faster than anything from any other sector.
We now walk around with at least a couple of GB in our pocket and don’t even bat an eye; if anything we complain that it’s not enough. But go back fifty years and we wouldn’t be quite as mobile and we’d be putting pictures in albums (be honest, how many of you have got around to printing off last year’s photos?) and storing data on punch cards. Just as computers have become faster, smaller and most of us have become pretty reliant on our laptop, our need for accessibility and backup have become an ever increasing necessity. We take a look how we have evolved from the paper punch card to the ever-increasing presence of the cloud.
The oldest form of data storage is generally considered to be in the form of punch cards, which date all the way back to 1725. First used by Basile Bouchon when working for the textile industry, he used a perforated paper loop to store patterns.
From there, punch cards eventually became punched tape in 1846. Punched tape was once the basis for digital information used for computer programs and data storage. They were used in processing machines to input and store data in the first half of the 20th century. They were gradually replaced by magnetic tapes in the 50s as they were slow, required a lot of time and effort for processing and had a low capacity. Magnetic tape however could store as much data as 1000 punch cards. It became the most popular way of storing computer data until the mid-80s and was also later refined to be used for cassettes and VHS/Betamax.
While magnetic tape was still largely in use, other forms of storage devices were being created. In 1956 the IBM 305 RAMAC was first introduced and could store up to 4.4MB of data (about enough to download a standard song today), which was revolutionary at the time. Thirteen years later the first 8-inch floppy disk was introduced. While it was a more flexible option, it originally could only store 80KB but as the need for higher storage capacity was needed the floppy disk got smaller (and no longer floppy) and could store more data.
However, if you look at a PC or laptop today you’ll find that they don’t even have a floppy drive. Now the floppy has been replaced by the well-known CD, DVD, Blue-ray and USB Flash Drive.
First introduced in 2001 USB Flash Drive capacity can range from 8MB to 256 GB+ and is now an industry standard. But with the take up of cloud storage by virtually every service provider, will soon the USB become something of the past like its very first forbearer the punch card?
While the concept of the cloud was born in the 60s, it wasn’t until the internet age of the 90s and the dot com bubble burst that the cloud began to become reality and it didn’t really flourish until the 00s. Now, with the rise of local and global networks, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G, the cloud enables us to store and back up critical data without the need to copy data to external media and move it physically to another computer.
While the medium of choice varies greatly from era to era, the very evolution of data storage is reaching a new milestone as we push further into the digital age. Cloud solutions are just the next evolutionary step on the storage ladder, giving people more control, variety and accessibility over storing important data for personal and business use.
If you would like to learn more about how the cloud can help you, get in touch with one of our Veber team members today.