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A Brief History of Data Storage

A Brief History of Data Storage

Humans are record-keepers and have been trying to devise the best way to keep track of records and important information for centuries. From stone tablets to scrolls, manuscripts to floppy disks, and hard drives to cloud storage, we’re constantly searching for the most effective data storage option as our technologies continue to develop and improve. This blog is a brief and selective overview of electronic data storage from its beginnings to the present.

Historical Data Storage

Punch cards, and later punch tape, were developed by the textile industry in the 1700s for use in mechanized looms. The perforations in the paper provided instructions for the machines as to what patterns to create in the fabric. Punch cards evolved into punch tape, which could hold significantly more data, and these types of data storage continued to be used for about 200 years.

20th Century Data Storage

The most significant data storage development in the mid-20th century was magnetic tape. Invented in 1928 to store audio for the radio and recording industries, early computer pioneers chose it as a storage medium because a single roll of magnetic tape could hold as much data as 10,000 punch cards. Magnetic tape was widely used for recording music and video until the 1990s and was in just about everyone’s home in the form of music cassettes and video tapes.

Next came floppy disks, which many remember as being integral to their introduction to the personal computer. The first floppies were 8-inch plastic squares that were flexible (hence their name) and were introduced in 1969. As technology advanced, by the 1990s, floppy disks were much smaller and could hold more data – 250MB on a 3-inch floppy disk compared to 80KB on an 8-inch floppy.

The Digital Age

In the 1980s and 1990s, CDs and DVDs emerged as the preferred data storage medium. CDs can hold around 700 MB of data and ordinary single-layer DVDs can hold approximately 4.7 GB. While this is significantly more than was ever possible, data storage development continued.

The next notable data storage advancement was the introduction of flash storage with no moving parts and that retained stored data when powered off. USB flash drives were introduced in 2000 and since they were so small and portable, become the most popular form of data storage available. In addition, flash memory can hold gigabytes of data on a few millimeters of physical space, making them perfect for data storage in mobile phones, digital cameras, game consoles, and other electronics. This also made flash drives perfect for duplication for commercial use.

Digital data storage and its usage will continue to expand and advance, and whatever the next advance is, Diskcopy will be on the forefront of its duplication.

Diskcopy is the industry’s most trusted name for exacting media duplication because every bit is important. We pioneered media and data duplication for businesses in the early 1990s and we have decades of experience and expertise with all types of media duplication.

When you need high-quality media duplication services, you need Diskcopy.

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