IBM Builds on 50 Years of Spinning Disk Storage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2006-09-08 Print this article Print

News Analysis: There's no question that IT has come a long way from refrigerator-sized computers with 5MB total storage, but how does the world's largest technology company plan to forge ahead in data retention?

SAN JOSE, Calif.—IBM, that oh-so-straight-laced bastion of research, development and commercial success, is kicking back a little to celebrate an anniversary this month and reflect upon how far technology has come since the days of refrigerator-sized computers, Elvis and "I Like Ike."

September 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the world's first commercial hard drive—the 305 RAMAC Computer, with its 350 Disk Storage Unit—that was designed and built right here in what would eventually become Silicon Valley. The Disk Storage Unit was introduced on Sept. 4, 1956, and the 305 RAMAC Computer was introduced on Sept. 13, 1956.

That first computing unit had a total memory storage capacity of a whopping 5MB on 50 24-inch platters.

"The digital photograph of Mona Lisa here in the slide show presentation is bigger than that!" joked IBM vice president of storage Barry Rudolph, who addressed a group of analysts and journalists at a half-day briefing at the company's Almaden Research Center, located in the foothills south of San Jose.

By comparison, the IBM System Storage DS8000 Turbo, introduced in August, can store up to 320 terabytes of information—the equivalent of all the images held in the Guggenheim, the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.

Another example of how things have changed: In 1956, the 350 Disk Storage Unit could hold the digital equivalent of the collected works of Shakespeare, while today's DS8000 could hold more than 76 million copies of Shakespeare's works.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: IBM Builds on 50 Years of Spinning Disk Storage

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