Data storage throughout history:
from punch cards to hyper clouds

Over the years, there has been a significant evolution in the world of backup and data storage, which led to the necessity for advancements in storage methods and devices. As a result, the demand for increased and scalable storage capacity has skyrocketed. In addition, creating new technologies for advanced storage devices has become a crucial factor in meeting the evolved demands. Let’s take a trip down memory lane discovering the evolution of data storage.

data storage

1881: punch card

The punch card was introduced for use in early computer systems for storing and processing data. A punch card is a stiff piece of paper that contains a series of holes punched in specific patterns to represent information. Each hole position corresponds to a particular data value. By inserting the punch card into a card reader, computers could read and interpret the data encoded on the cards, which allowed data storage and retrieval in early computing systems.

1950: magnetic tape

Magnetic tape consists of a thin plastic coated with magnetic material. To store data on magnetic tape, the tape is passed through a tape drive with read/write heads, which magnetically encode and retrieve information from the tape. The data is recorded in a sequential manner, with tracks running along the length of the tape. To access specific data, the tape must be fast-forwarded or rewound to the appropriate position.

1963: removable hard drive

The removable hard drive is storage that can be removed from a computer while the system is running. This made it easy for users to backup and transfer data from one computer to another.

1971: floppy disk

The floppy disk was introduced by IBM and is a portable and flexible storage medium for computer systems. The first commercially floppy disk drive was introduced along with the IBM System 370 mainframe computer. The term ‘floppy disk’ was due to the flexibility of the diskette inside a protective plastic casing. At the time, the floppy disk revolutionized data storage and became the popular method of storing and transferring data.

1983: CD-ROM

The Compact Disc Read-Only Memory, also known as CD-ROM, can only be read, and not written to. The disk can hold large amounts of data including text, images, and audio. The disk functions by inserting the disk into a CD drive, where a laser beam scans the disc’s surface to retrieve the data stored in a spiral track. This data is transformed into a digital signal that the computer processes.

1999: SD Card

A secure Digital (SD) card is a small removable flash memory card that can contain high-capacity memory and is commonly used in digital devices such as cameras, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles. SD cards are characterized by their compact size, durability, and high storage capacity.

2000: USB

The USB flash drive is a portable storage device that utilizes flash memory technology to store and transfer data. The flash drive consists of a compact circuit board enclosed in a plastic or metal casing with a USB connector at one end. The connector allows the USB to easily be plugged into a USB port, enabling data transfer. The drive is commonly used for data backup, file sharing, and software installation.

2013: The hyper cloud

Hyper cloud storage introduced a whole new way of storing data – and a lot of it. Hyper cloud storage refers to the massive storage capacity and infrastructure utilized by major cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Cloud. These providers operate vast data centers with an enormous number of servers to offer scalable and available storage solutions.
Backups today and the way we store data have also sprung out of more and more digital threats. Companies and people must protect their data in a smarter way to avoid hackers. Therefore, hyper clouds storage often come with air-gapping, segregation of duties, Immutability, the 3-2-1-0 rule and other features.

The evolution of data storage has come a long way from punch cards to hyper clouds. Cloud-based storage has become the new norm and it continues to grow. Even if the way we store data may sound complex, storage has never been this simple, as it is possible to store and retrieve data with a single click of your computer mouse. Simple and scalable data management solutions are at the heart of Anycloud, with a product portfolio consisting of backup, replication, and data storage solutions – all in a partner-ready set-up.

It is possible to store almost limitless amounts of data, thanks to the cloud.

Gregor Frimodt-Møller

Gregor Frimodt-Møller

Anycloud CEO