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Data Storage Media


4 Types of Data Storage Media

1) Paper

At first, paper began as punch cards as a mechanical form of data storage media for loom presses in 1725. Punch cards continued use into the 1970s and 1980s. While punch cards are still used in some forms of voting, other forms now are more popular. Punch tape was also pioneered by the textile industry. Printed material on paper has been around since 1450 and the printing press. Bar codes allow machine reading of paper stripe markings.

2) Magnetic

a. magnetic drum memory – invented in 1932 in Austria. Magnetic drum memory was widely in the 1950s and 1960s as the principal data storage media of computers with a capacity then of about 10 kB.

b. floppy disc – first appeared in 1967 with a capacity of 80 kB. Zip drive appeared in 1994 offering 100,000 kB.

c. hard disc drive – first used in 1956 in the IBM model 350 disk file. With 24 discs it had a storage capacity of 5 MB. By 1986, hard disc drive memory increased to 44 MB. 44% of digital memory storage worldwide in 2007.

d. magnetic tape – first used in 1951. Cassette tapes were used for computers in the late 1970s and 1980s offering 660 kB per side on a 90 min tape.

e. digital magnetic tape – (DECtape) created by Digital Equipment Corporation. 12% of digital memory storage worldwide in 2007. Most importantly, the capacity for digital data storage increases about 33% every year on digital magnetic tape.

f. carousel memory

3) Optical

a. CD preceded the Laserdisc (1978) which was primarily for movies. CDs appeared in 1982 offering 700,000 kB

b. DVD-appeared in 1995 offering 1,460,000 kB. Blu-ray appeared in 2003 offering 25,000,000 kB. 23% of digital memory storage worldwide as of 2007.

c. UDO – ultra density optical

d. magneto-optical disc storage

4) Semiconductor

At first, use of integrated circuit silicon computer chips to store data was very limited. MOS -metal-oxide-semiconductor memory cells stores the data. Since millions up to billions of transistors are on a single chip, memory capacity has dramatically increased. Random access memory (RAM) together with flash memory are forms. Without a doubt, MOS transistors are the single most common manufactured device in history. Semiconductors were still just 2% of digital memory storage as of 2007 worldwide. As of 2017, 30% of semiconductor chips are for digital memory.

Digital data storage media

a. SD card appeared in 1999 offering 64,000 kB

b. Later that year, USB flash drive appeared also in 1999 offering 8000 kB. While now current flash drives store up to 256 GB

Intel has been working on 3-D semiconductor chips which could maintain Moore’s Law of transistors for the near future.

DNA may be the data storage media of the future

and has the advantages of small size, extremely dense data compaction and storage, binary structure, biocompatibility. less environmental pollution than silicon. Limitations of DNA include: exorbitant costs, slow writing and reading times, and vulnerability to mutations.

Without a doubt, cloud storage is the most important recent change in data storage. Cloud data storage began in 2006 offering virtually unlimited storage.

In addition, other future data storage options: DNA in bacteria, carbon nanotechnology, holographic data storage, and optical tape.

Using Hilbert, M. and Lopez P. (2011)The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information, Science 332 (6025) 60-65, the trends are as follows:

A. At first, in 1986, 99% of data stored was analog, 1% digital. However, in 2007, 94% of data stored was digital, 6% of data stored was analog.

B. In 2002, the “digital age” began when over 50% of memory storage became digital instead of analog.

C. Data growth since 1986 has been exponential, further accelerating since 2000.

D 90% of data originated in the last 5 years.

E. Finally, an estimated 2.7 zettabytes or 1 billion Blu-rays of data exist in the digital universe today (frontier internet)

Analog formats: records, cassette tape, VHS, paper, film

Digital formats: flash drives (2%), hard discs (2%), CDs (7%), mainframe computers and servers (9%), digital tape (12%), DVDs (23%), PC hard drives (44%)