Sunday, March 5, 2017

The process of minituarization and the evolution of storage devices (II)

In the last article, we talked about the process of miniaturization . In addition, we also analyze the first two links of our evolution of storage devices , punch cards and magnetic tapes. The first part I leave you then if you click here .

Advancing storage devices (continued)

The diskettes

We are already entering the known territory, although the younger people may not hear it. Its operation was very similar to that of a magnetic tape , but although the reels of magnetic tape were heavy and occupied much, they had a very small size . Its main difference is that here the band is circular and does not coil, in addition to the higher density of the information.
The diskettes were marketed in two different sizes. First came the 5.25 "floppy disks , which were born with the purpose of creating a portable storage device . And what was his capacity? As low as 1.2 MB .
Later an improved version of the same ones was released. These were smaller and sturdier. These 3.5 "  floppy disks could store up to 1.44 MB .
Then several companies presented their own improved diskettes . Some of them could reach the capacity of 240 MB, but did not get to popularize enough.

Magnetic disks

These are the hard disks that today we consider traditional. They are called HDD , by the acronym "Hard Disk Drive".
Its operation is similar to that of the magnetic tapes, but instead of a plastic band, here we are before a hard disk that rotates at high speeds. Like magnetic tapes, their existence was key.
And what capacity does a magnetic hard drive have? In its origin , the amount of data that could be stored one of these hard disks was of the order of megabytes . Today , it is in the order of terabytes . Thus, the biggest hard disk that can be found today in stores is 6 TB. Only LTO magnetic tapes are at the same capacity level.
Hard drive: HDD

Optical discs

The next of the storage devices we will talk about will be the optical disks. These discs instead of using a magnetic field to read and write the data, the light of a laser is used Hence its name.
The first optical discs to be marketed on a large scale were CDs in the 1990s. These had the storage capacity of 700 MB.
But optical discs are not just CDs . They are also the DVD and all its variants. Like the Bluray that are currently the most popular means to market movies and video games, and can store from 25 to 100 GB.
DVD and Bluray (physical format)

Flash Memory

The pendrive , cards SD , mobile memory, solid state hard drive ( SSD ), and are based on flash memory.
These devices, unlike all of the above, is 100% electronic . Its operation is similar to that of the EEPROM, but with certain improvements. These are based on transistors to store the information, although the way of using them is very varied.
Its shape is very varied, and can be found in many formats. In addition, this type of memory is quite durable. Its capacity varies from megabytes to gigabytes. The maximum capacity usually found is 256 GB, but there are already USB pen and 1TB SD cards.
Hard drive flash: SSD

Special mentions for ...

These are the most popular storage devices, but not the only ones. We will now review the popular storage media, albeit to a lesser extent:
  • Magneto-optical discs . These disks come in a fat floppy format, but their operation is not the same. We could say that these disks are a fusion between optical disks and magnetic disks . Why? Because for reading only optical technology is used, but for writing it uses magnetic technology aided by a laser that heats the disk. In this way, these disks are resistant to magnetic fields, a weakness of diskettes.
Magneto-optical disk.
  • Zip disks . These were an improved version of the diskettes . They had a capacity of between 100 and 750 MB, and were completely magnetic.
Zip disk
  • Storage in the cloud . Yes, I know, this is not a storage device. But I wanted to mention it because it is getting more and more important.
Cloud storage


As we can see, storage systems have advanced considerably over time. We've moved from devices with little more than 1 MB to devices with terabytes of information in less than half a century. An undoubtedly incredible breakthrough. What do you think?
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