David Papp Blog

Growing Bits, Bytes, and Backups

Here is a picture of a hard disk drive from 1956. It had a whopping 5 MB (MegaBytes) of storage.

1956 Hard Drive

In September 1956, IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive. It weighed over a ton. By way of comparison, I use 16 GB (GigaBytes) memory sticks. i.e. 16 thousand megabytes. That is over 6,000 times more storage which fits in my pocket and costs around $50.

It is estimated that 4 exabytes (4.0 x 10^19) of unique information will be generated this year. All this data… What would happen if you lost all of your emails? Your contacts? Your documents? The scary thing is most people store valuable data in a single location on a single medium. And when (not if) disaster strikes, they have no backup. Storage devices fail, it happens.. even CD recordables. People accidentally delete & overwrite files. Files corrupt. Viruses infect. It depends on where you store them, how old they are, how often they are used, and general mechanical or electrical failure. We advise all our clients to have multiple backups. Ensure at least one or two of them are automated. Ensure at least one is offsite. And test them!

Services such as Mozy.com and iDrive.com offer free personal backups up to 2 GB in storage. That is plenty for critical documents, contacts, calendars, etc. There are other solutions for much larger amounts of data. It is worth your while to have someone assess your data storage and backup requirements along with providing suggestions and/or implementation.

How valuable is your data?

6 thoughts on “Growing Bits, Bytes, and Backups”

  1. Ha-ha. A hard disk drive from 1956. I didn’t even know that those existed back then. It’s enormous, isn’t it? It weighed a ton. Amazing. I’ll have to check out mozy for the personal data backup options. Thank you for the advice once again.

  2. We gotta say thank God for the development of technology because many people would not be able to deal with that hard disk lol. Cloud storage is now the way to go however is your information always secure? I would not store just any information on cloud storage like business ideas and unique and private information because I don’t know if it is accessible by the developers or owners of the cloud storage.

    • Some cloud storage services do offer extra protection but since it’s in the cloud, there’s also dangers from 3rd parties if their security isn’t good enough. That said, it would be better to pick cloud storage that works well with business accounts if that’s what you’re going to use it for.

  3. It’s pretty amazing to think about how far technology has come. It’s easy to forget that computers used to take up entire rooms. Now you can get 100 gigs of storage online for less than ten dollars a month. I wonder what the storage solutions will be even ten years from now.

    • For storage solutions 10 years from now, I think that we might edge towards organic data storage. It may not be the most reliable because of decomposition, but because you can store about 30 MB of info in one cell, that replicated to the size of what some of our SSDs are today, we could have TBs of info within something that’s about as thin as a piece of paper. Also, decomposition is a good thing in my opinion, because saving the environment and cutting down on e-waste is a pretty good result of having organic storage.

  4. 1956 is so long ago. It’s so remarkable how we’ve got from that point to where we are today thanks to some truly brilliant minds. I mean imagine that. A hard disk drive from back then weighing that heavy compared to ones today that are compact and hold far more storage. Today we have drives that can sure hold abundant information which means we should also do what we can to preserve and protect our own.

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