Computer data storage history

Updated: 11/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Computer hard drive history
Year Event
1890 Herman Hollerith developed a method for machines to record and store information onto punch cards to be used for the US census. He later formed the company we know as IBM today.
1946 Freddie Williams applied for a patent on his CRT (cathode ray tube) storage device in December. The device that later became known as the Williams tube is capable of storing between 512 and 1024 bits of data.
1956 The first hard drive was released by IBM on September 13, 1956. It is a non-removable device, having a 5 MB storage capacity and costing $50,000. The first use of the hard drive was in the IBM 305 RAMAC system.
1956 The first external hard drive, the IBM 350 Disk File, was released on September 13, 1956. Reynold B. Johnson, an engineer at IBM, came up with the concept.
1963 IBM developed the first removable hard drive, having a capacity of 2.6 MB.
1966 James Russell invented the concept of a CD (compact disc) in 1966. He was granted a patent for the CD in 1970.
1967 IBM began development of floppy disk technology in 1967 at their San Jose, California site.
1971 The first floppy disk device, the IBM 23FD, and first floppy disk were released by IBM in 1971. The floppy disk was 8 inches in diameter, had a storage capacity of 80 KB, and was read-only. The 23FD was a built-in component of the 2835 Storage Control Unit.
1972 Memorex released a floppy disk drive, called the Memorex 650, in 1972. The 650 floppy diskette stored 175 KB of data and was used by many devices.
1976 Shugart Associates released the first 5.25-inch floppy disk drive in 1976. The 5.25-inch single density floppy disk initially had a capacity of 90 KB. The double density floppy disk held an initial 113 KB. Disk capacity was later increased by other companies.
1976 Dataram Corporation released BULK CORE, the world's first SSD (solid-state drive) storage technology, for DEC and Data General computers.
1979 Monty Widenius, co-owner of a small company called TcX, created a reporting tool called Unireg, written in BASIC for a 4 MHz computer with 16 KB RAM. The tool was later ported to the C programming language for Unix, and developed to become the database software MySQL 1.0 in 1996. Today, the MySQL RDBMS powers approximately 50% of websites on the Internet.
1980 The first 1 GB (gigabyte) hard drive was developed by IBM, weighing 550 pounds and costing $40,000.
1981 Sony introduced their first 3.5-inch floppy disk drive in 1981. The 3.5-inch floppy disk had a formatted capacity of 161.2 KB. However, the MIC (Microfloppy Industry Committee) released a 3.5-inch media specification in 1982 that rendered Sony's 3.5-inch floppy disk and drive unusable.
1982 The first CD (compact disc) was developed by Philips and Sony on August 17, 1982.
1983 Rodime developed the first 3.5-inch hard drive with a capacity of 10 MB.
1983 The first single-sided 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, adhering to the MIC specifications, were released in 1983. Double-sided 3.5-inch floppy disk drives were released in 1984.
1988 The specifications for CD-R technology were published by Philips and Sony. The technology was originally named CD-WO (Write Once) or WORM.
1988 Digipro, a small PC vendor in Alabama, USA, revealed the first SSD prototype built using flash memory. It featured Intel's NOR flash memory technology that was released earlier the same year.
1990 The CD-R (recordable CD) technology with the ability to write data to a CD was available on the market starting in 1990. The first devices were nearly the size of a washing machine and cost around $35,000.
1991 SanDisk brought the first consumer SSD to market, featuring a capacity of 20 MB.
1994 The Zip drive was introduced by Iomega in 1994. The first zip disk has a capacity of 100 MB. Later zip disks have capacities of 250 MB and 750 MB.
1994 The CompactFlash flash memory card was first developed and released by SanDisk in 1994. The first CompactFlash cards have a storage capacity of 2 MB.
1995 The DVD was invented and developed by multiple companies in 1995. Companies involved in the DVD development include Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Philips, Pioneer, Sony, Time Warner, and Toshiba.
1996 Hewlett-Packard announced it would no longer be manufacturing hard drives, July 10, 1996.
1996 After 17 years of development, MySQL version 1.0 was released in October 1996. By 2019, it would grow to become the database software powering half of all websites on the Internet.
1997 Imation developed the SuperDisk drive and diskette, also called the LS-120. The first SuperDisk diskette had a capacity of 120 MB, with a later version having a capacity of 240 MB.
1997 The rewritable CD, or CD-RW, was introduced in 1997. It allows data to be written to a specific type of rewritable disc again and again.
1997 The DVD-R (recordable DVD) and DVD-RW (rewritable DVD) discs were developed by Pioneer in 1997.
1997 The DVD+R and DVD+RW disc format, a recordable DVD that utilized the "+" format, was created by the DVD+RW Alliance in 1997. The alliance includes Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sony, and Yamaha.
1997 The MMC (MultiMediaCard) was a flash-based memory card developed by SanDisk and Siemens in 1997.
1998 The Memory Stick was released by Sony in October 1998. The Sony Memory Stick is a memory card that can only be used with Sony devices.
1999 Amir Ban, Dov Moran, and Oron Ogdan at M-Systems, now SanDisk, developed the first USB flash drive, called a DiskOnKey, in April 1999. It had a storage of capacity of 8 MB and was sold to the public starting in 2000.
1999 Panasonic, SanDisk, and Toshiba developed the SD (Secure Digital) memory card format and introduced it to the public in August 1999.
2004 Google began development of Bigtable, a massively-scaling data storage system used internally for its critical applications.
2006 The Blu-ray disc format was developed by multiple companies and introduced to the public on January 4, 2006. Companies involved include Dell, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Sony, and TDK. The Blu-ray format was a competing high definition data technology to HD DVD. A Blu-ray disc can store 25 GB or 50 GB of data, depending on if it's a single-layer or dual-layer disc.
2006 Toshiba released the first HD DVD player on March 31, 2006. The HD DVD format was a competing high definition data technology to Blu-ray. An HD DVD can store 25 GB of data per layer. Blu-ray beat out HD DVD in the high definition disc technology war on February 19, 2008.
2006 Samsung released the first Blu-ray player in June 2006.
2006 The first Blu-ray rewritable drive available to the mass market was released by Sony, the BWU-100A. It retailed for $699 and was capable of writing data to single-layer and dual-layer Blu-ray discs.
2007 The first 1 TB (terabyte) hard drive, developed by Hitachi, was released in January 2007.
2007 MIT student Drew Houston, frustrated by forgetting his USB drive before getting on a train from Boston to New York, conceived of the Dropbox cloud data storage service. In June 2007, he founded Dropbox, Inc. Today, the Dropbox service has over 500 million users worldwide, and handles approximately 4,000 file edits every second.
2013 Kingston released the first 1 TB USB flash drive in January 2013.
2013 In July 2013, Samsung announced the XS1715 Enterprise, the first commercial NVMe (non-volatile memory express) data storage drive. It read data at 3 GB/s, six times faster than Samsung's previous Enterprise drives.
2015 In May 2015, Google released a public version of Bigtable as an optional component of GCP (Google Cloud Platform).
2015 In July 2015, Intel announced 3D XPoint, a multi-planar NVMe data storage technology. Its inaugural line of 3D XPoint memory products, released later the same year, was code-named Optane.

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