Data Storage: From the Past to Today and Beyond

Computers do nothing without information and it needs to be processed and stored, what makes necessary the use of high technology to write data and keep it for further access. Technology nowadays offers so many ways to store and handle data (Magnetic Disks and Flash Drives, for instance), but as systems generates large amounts of data, it must be retrieved fast, must be stored with a reliable technology, must be cost-effective and it must be centralized, decentralized or even both, depending on the architecture strategy.

In computing, when data is stored and it is available to be retrieved at any time it is defined as “Non-Volatile Memory”. Non-Volatile Memory is a term when it refers to memory chips that hold their content without power being applied (PcMagazine, 2014).

The Data Storage topic is and will continue to be a critical topic in computing, especially considering decentralized systems with huge amount of data, using the concepts of Cloud and Big Data. According to Zdnet, 2014, as data usage continues to grow exponentially, IT managers will need to orchestrate multiple kinds of storage — including flash, hard disk and tape — in a way that optimizes capacity, performance, cost and power consumption.


During all the technological advances, there are technologies which are obsolete today. In this article I will present 2 obsolete storage technologies which are listed below:

  • Zip drive: A Zip drive was a small, portable disk similar to a floppy disk, but able to support larger amounts of data. This technology was created and sold by Iomega Corporation. There were available initially disks in two capacities: The 100 megabyte size and the 250 megabyte storage disks (Search Mobile Computing, 2007). Zip Disk topped out at 750 MB by the end of its life (Wired, 2008). My personal experience with this kind of storage was that a friend used to work for a photography company which used to edit photos and create artwork. The disks were a good fit to store high resolution images with 300dpi.

  • Floppy disks: The floppy diskette was created in 1967 by IBM and was much cheaper than hard drivers, which were expensive at the time. Floppy disks were for many years the only way to install computer software, because this was the common type of removable media at that time. This type of storage used to support 1.44MB on its later versions ( ). My personal experience with floppy disks was I used to store many school homework, used to transfer software and games when I was a childhood.

Personally, I believe both of the technologies presented above became obsolete, because of the introduction in computing of more powerful storages like CDROM, Pen-drives and more recently the availability of high speed internet access and the spread of the cloud data storage online.

TODAY (Technology Trend #1)

One of the most notable technologies nowadays in storage is Flash Memory. When you store data in your smartphone, digital camera or GPS you are using this technology. Solid-state drives (SSD) using flash memory are replacing hard drives in netbooks and PCs and even some server installations, needing no batteries or other power to retain data, flash is convenient and relatively foolproof (ComputerWorld, 2014). Technically speaking, Flash Memory is a specific type of EEPROM (an acronym to Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-only Memory), which is programmed and erased in large blocks.

I personally use SSD storage on my computer, which I feel my OS running fast and not noisy, as it was when I used to use HDD storage with Personal Computers. I personally believe the HDD technology will continue to be commercialized in the next years especially because of the price, nevertheless as the SSD technology become cheaper it can overtake the HDD technology in terms of popularity.

THE TREND (Technology Trend #2)

Trends and predictions from 26 forward-looking articles on enterprise storage published around the turn of 2014/2015” (ZDNet, 20015):

Figure 1 Technology trends in Enterprise Storagetrendsdata


I conclude this article with my personal insight on computer storage. We should consider cloud computing as the key technology to support storage. Today, I store my pictures on Flickr, Google Photos, Instagram and Facebook. This is a revolutionary way, and I think this will become even more common the way people start to sync all their devices using centralized servers. Technologically speaking, the way the SSD drives become more cheaper, I believe this a very reliable and fast way to store information in the enterprise space to support the cloud availability of data.


PcMagazine. 2014. Definition of: non-volatile memory. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 July 14].

Wired. 2008. 5 Obsolete Storage Formats. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

ZDNet. 2014. Storage in 2014: An overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

TechTarget. 2007. Zip drive definition. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

Computerhope. 2015. What is a Floppy disk?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

ComputerWorld. 2014. Flash memory. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

ZDnet. 2015. Enterprise storage: Trends and predictions. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 December 15].

Published by Ademir Constantino

Software Engineer