Whether it’s about preserving family memories or storing business information, data storage was considered a need even in earlier times. However, with advancement in IT, data storage technology has evolved too. Now, you have a myriad of options available to store your data in highly capacious and sophisticated ways without worrying about limited data space.

But how did it all get started? The evolution of data storage options is itself a journey! Here is the timeline that says it all:


It all starts from the year 1928 when magnetic tape was hailed as the savior in data storage. Fritz Pfleumer, a German Engineer patented his invention and thus ushered in a new era for storing data.



Move into 1930, and G. Taushek, an Austrian visionary, created a magnetic drum. This invention was based on the magnetic drum’s invention.


In the 1940s, Professor Frederick C. Williams along with his colleagues advanced the use of first access random memory. This was done at the University of Manchester located in the UK. Now, if we come to know the amount of storage in it, we would laugh it off. It was 1024 bits!

The same decade then saw the emergence of Selectron tube and delay line memory. But now, things have changed drastically: businesses are turning to data storage on servers, using highly innovative operating systems such as IBM iSeries letting them have data storage without worrying about space.


In the 1950s, the world saw the use of magnetic rings composed of ceramic for data storage.

In the same decade, 1956 to be precise, the world saw the legendary hard disk. This hard disk had rotating platters with which you could store and retrieve information from a flat magnetic surface.


Lo and behold! It was getting better and better. Originally intended as audio cassettes by Philips, these tapes were then later used for data storage. In the same period, we also saw DRAM (PDF) and the Twister memory.



Better and better, another form of data storage was invented. This time, it was Bubble Memory. On this thin magnetic film, you could store a bit of a data.

Later, we saw the famous 8” floppy. Data storage was now easier and faster and this device was portable so everyone was happy!

This floppy later decreased in size to 5.25”. As compared to its predecessor, it was faster and cheaper.


James T. Russel thought he would try his hand at light to store data. Thus, the optical digital television recording was given a deep thought. And it didn’t just stay there. This optical device went places! In 1975, Philips representative paid a visit to Russel and commissioned him to develop it into a CD. James did and later presented it to Sony.


Here comes the more familiar part. In this decade, we saw the emergence of the optical disc, MiniDisc, DLT Compact Flash, Zip, DVD, Smart Media, CD – RW, Multimedia Card, Microdrive. So, you can say, this decade saw some major improvements.


SD card, Blu-ray, HD-DVD, and holographic technologies were some developments we got to see in this decade.


Now onwards

Earlier, it used to cost $105,000/ gigabyte. It’s only a matter of relief and tremendous amazement now that we can get the same amount in as low as $0.03/Gigabyte. That’s because of technology, of course.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to data storage, whether it is Helium drives or Shingled Magnetic Recording, DNA or other data storage technologies, we know it just keeps getting better and more astonishing day by day, so hang on. This amazing journey of data storage technology has just begun!

Rebecca O’Brien works for a website provider handling tech support. A geeky girl at heart she writes about hosting, websites, the cloud, and so much more in her articles.