Big storage

Discover how storage has evolved over the past 60 years, from large hard drives to small USB sticks and now the future of the cloud.

IBM Storage

This picture features the delivery of a 5MB IBM hard drive to a company in circa 1956. It is simply enormous, taking 5 or 6 men just to move it, and probably cost the company a lot of money (which, piled up, may have been a similar size to the hard drive itself!)

Nowadays, most of us walk around with 8, 16 or even 32GB worth of storage in our back pockets without even thinking about it. Put simply, the storage on the average 32GB modern smart phone would be equivalent to 6,400 (state of the art) 1950s IBM hard drives. Now, they would require a lot more than one pocket to squeeze in to!

When you apply this concept to a business scenario, where data storage demands are generally in GB or TB, you can only imagine the size that your office would need to be if you were limited to using the 1950’s IBM storage device.  This was put in to context for me today when a colleague showed me a 500GB hard drive… and it was smaller than half a laptop.  That’s 500,000MB or (and you should be there, if your maths is half as good as mine) 100,000 1950s IBM hard drives.  I’ll let you visualise that, because it’s a whole lot of space – quite a few football fields worth in fact.

So, in a nutshell, we can now actually store and transport unbelievably vast amounts of data on tiny bits of kit.  However, as we all know, small things are notoriously easy to steal, lose, damage or destroy, and need to be stored in a safe place (or at least duplicated somewhere) to try and prevent this.

Bringing it back to a business scenario, if you are a security savvy company, you will already be looking after company data and keeping it safe by ensuring a robust data backup policy is in place. With the introduction of cloud services, you simply don’t need to invest in enough hardware to cover the size of a small country – in fact – cloud services mean you don’t have to invest in any hardware at all. Now you can purchase everything “…as a Service” or “…aaS” which ultimately leaves the feeding and watering of your underlying hardware infrastructure to a service provider. This means you don’t have to worry about the small “bits of kit” containing your company data, from getting into the wrong person’s hands or being lost forever.

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