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The History of Storage and the Challenges of Ever Increasing Data

30th July 2015 · Our Thoughts

The way we store data has changed drastically over the years. From the physical books we stored in libraries; the documents we placed in filing cabinets; to the music we embedded in vinyl records, we have moved to an altogether different method of storage because of the explosion of data. Today, a Kindle can hold over 3000 novels, a flash drive can hold a terabyte of data, and an iPod can hold up to 14,000 songs. The change in the technology we use has been phenomenal, and the change in the way we manage and store it has been extraordinary too because of our reluctance to press delete.

Historic Timeline:

Magnetic TapeIn 1928, magnetic tape was invented to record audio data. Back then it was used to pre-record radio programs and songs on gramophones.


sp136aIn 1946, the Selectron tube – an early form of digital computer memory – was developed. One tube could store 4096 bits. To put things into perspective, a regular smartphone nowadays holds 64000000000 bits (8 GB). The Selectron tube was later discontinued due to its cost.



BRL61-IBM_305_RAMACIn 1956, the first commercial computer using magnetic disk storage the RAMAC was developed by IBM. It weighed a tonne, literally, requiring multiple delivery men to wheel it into buildings. It could store 4.4 MB of data, and was considered to be a revolutionary invention.

TapeIn 1963, Philips released a tape that could distribute a pre-recorded mix of music tracks. This later evolved into the popular Walkman (owned by Sony) in 1979.


DiskIn 1971, floppy disks (portable storage device) were created. Several editions have been released over the years. The 8-inch disk could hold 79.75 kilobytes of data. Several editions have been released over the years, shrinking in size each time, with a 3 ½ inch high capacity disk capable of carrying 150-200 MB, entering the market in 1998.

shutterstock_250596013In 1980, CDs were developed. This allowed people to listen to pre-recorded music on a small disk. CDs now have more functions, and can be used to read information on a computer.


DVDsA similar invention was created in 1995- the DVD. These disks store multimedia data (e.g. movies).


USBIn 1999, flash drives were created to hold data. They had a storage capacity of 8 GB which could store 5 times the amount of data of a floppy disk. There are now plans to create a 2 TB flash drive which is more than double the capacity of its original model.


CloudToday, we are creating so much data that new methods have had to be created to deal with it: these are cloud storage services.


Data usage has grown rapidly over the years. In 1995, less than 1% of the world population had an internet connection, according to statistics from Internet Live. Now, 40% of the world has a connection and the number of connected devices being used is twice that of the global population. More people are using data, and future growth is staggeringly high. According to Tech Spartan more than 200 million emails and over 400,000 tweets are sent per minute. With rates as high as these, there has been a growing concern over our networks’ ability to handle the traffic. Expansion is all well and good, however as networks grow bigger, the debate has shifted to how security can be maintained and information kept secure. A blend of cloud storage and cloud backup provides most organisations with a secure and reliable solution to protecting their data.

iomart offers a range of cloud storage and backup solutions. Data is hosted in a wholly-owned network of secure global data centres and on state-of-the-art arrays. Secure enterprise grade solutions eliminate the security concerns of public platforms, and are backed by industry leading Service Level Agreements (SLAs). CTERA File Sync & Share bridges the gap between cloud and local storage and allows collaboration across teams while CTERA Cloud Storage Gateway provides local network storage combined with asynchronously replicated off-site cloud storage. EMC GeoDrive offers reliable cloud file management software allowing users to drag and drop files into the cloud. Meanwhile the Panzura Global Cloud Storage System and OpenStack Swift Object Storage Platform offer truly enterprise solutions to meet the storage challenges faced by large companies.

Data storage is ever-changing, requiring new and improved solutions to tackle security and capacity issues. With cloud storage, information can be kept safe and secure eliminating concerns about confidentiality and reliability.

To find out more information about iomart’s cloud storage solutions, click here.


This blog post was written and researched by Ayah-Sofia Semlali, a student from James Gillespie’s High School, who won work experience with iomart student in a competition with Young Scot.


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