Storage Facts Not Fiction
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 19 June 2016

The amazing progress in storage technology is not just more of the same. The ability to store very big files has made possible applications that were unthinkable just a few years ago. How big and how cheap has it got?

In the I Programmer office there is a standing joke. Harry Fairhead once said to a colleague after fixing a new hard disk into her IBM PC XT, that it was a whole 5 Mega Bytes and that should be sufficient for the foreseeable future. It may not be as epic as the apocryphal IBM quote in 1943, attributed to Thomas J. Watson

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"

but nowadays Harry often receives forwarded email adverts for 5TByte drives for $99 just to point out how wrong he was!

If you can remember 8-inch floppies and storing programs on audio cassettes then you will appreciate just how far we have come. Magnetic disks are not only bigger they are much more reliable than the early models. Who would have guessed that they would start to be pushed out of the sub Terabyte market by SSDs quite as soon as this?

Talking of missing friends - have you got a computer with a 3.5 inch floppy drive?

What about a DVD burner? They just about hang on but only just.   



Click to open 

The Evolution of Data Storage

This infographic, which provides a timeline with the cost per gigabyte of storage. has been compiled by Nimbus Hosting to illustrate how our data storage needs have changed and how the technology has evolved to match them.

Nimbus points out:

Not only are we storing colossal amounts of data, thousands or even millions of times more than ten or twenty years ago, but the cost of storing it has dropped enormously.

Here is an example that really makes the point. To store one episode of  the TV epic Game of Thrones, you would need: 

  • 6,666,667 punch cards
  • 348 magnetic tapes
  • 7273 8" floppy disks
  • 556 3.5" floppy disks
  • 0.4 of a DDS-1 Tape
  • 5.71 mini discs

or pehaps just a dragon with a good memory.

Just imagine having to load more than 7,000 8-inch floppies just to watch a single episode. But the really shocking statistic comes when you look into the cost. If you were using 3.5 inch floppy disks, it would cost you over $3,000! 

When you consider that an HD movie such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, needs twenty times as much storage, the idea of downloading it to local storage would never have even occurred.

We'll never have enough local storage. How long it will be before 5 TBytes seems far too little? But that's no longer a problem. An alternative solution to adding more and more storage capacity locally is to move to the cloud, and adopt the sort of solution that Nimbus Hosting provides.

More Information

The Evolution of Data Storage

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Last Updated ( Monday, 20 June 2016 )