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Decade of Storage: From USB to Cloud Storage (infographic)

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To store a gigabyte’s worth of data just 20 years ago required a 500-pound machine the size of a refrigerator. Today, we carry gigabytes of data around in our pockets in our smart phones, mp3 players, and laptops.

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2000

  • Commercial production of the USB (Universal Serial Bus) flash drives capable of holding 8MB of memory – that’s 5x more than floppys at the time. Today you can get USB flash drives with up to 256GB (portable drive). The USB flash drive’s solid state design also one-upped floppys by eliminating the moving parts that made the floppys prone to damage.
  • The “I Love You” virus is unleashed. The virus eventually costs consumers over $10 billion, becoming the most expensive computer virus in history. The resulting data loss from the virus’ damage underscores the value of backing up data.
  • 2001

  • Apple’s iPodMP3 player with 5GB (about 1000 songs) hits the consumer market selling 125,000 units in less than two months. In 2003, Apple launches iTunes, an online digital music storage service. Today, an iPod Touch can store up to 64GB.
  • Bram Cohen authors the peer-to-peer (P2P) BitTorrent protocol and its first file sharing program, BitTorrent. The protocol is used to power many popular download sites, like Shareaza and LimeWire and continues to drive the need for more consumer-end storage capability.
  • 2002

  • Development begins on blu-ray disks after years of squabbling about patent ownership of the small blue diodes needed for production. Blu-rays replace DVD red laser technology with shorter wavelength blue rays capable of holding up to 25GB (single layer) & 50GB (dual layer).
  • The one billionth PC is sold. This milestone comes 27 years after the introduction of Sphere I, considered the world’s first PC, shipped with a mere 4KB of RAM.
  • 2003

  • The Internet turns 20. The adoption of TCP/IP protocol in 1983 offered greater access and laid the groundwork for expanding the Internet to the World Wide Web it is today.
  • The floppy disk drive becomes obsolete. Dell follows Apple by not including floppy drives in PCs in favor of CD-rewritable drives.
  • 2004

  • 300,000 US households own a network storage device. By 2010, the number jumps to 10 million.
  • MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr launch. These sites represented a new breed of social websites specializing in storing massive amounts of user data.
  • 2005

  • IBM introduces the Millipede chip able to hold one trillion bits of data per square inch. The chip stores data using thousands of levers about 10 micrometers wide instead of the traditional magnetic disks found in hard drives.
  • “Me at the Zoo” is the first video uploaded to You Tube. Holding about 45TB of data, You Tube stores over 14 billion videos with 34,560 hours of video uploaded daily.
  • 2006

  • Cloud computing introduces the idea of securely storing unlimited amounts of data without physical, onsite hardware.
  • Twitter launches with the first tweet: “Just setting up my Twttr” from co-founder of Twitter. Today, Twitter handles over 65 million tweets and about 800,000 search queries per day.
  • 2007

  • First 1TB hard drives ship. At the time, it was the largest capacity hard drive available.
  • The iPhone is introduced by Apple at Macworld. The iPhone is credited with popularizing the multi-touch screen phone, the first phone to come with its own operating system, and the only phone with access to the popular Apps Store. The first iPhone included 8GB of flash memory and the recently released iPhone 4 comes with as much as 32GB.
  • 2008

  • U.S. households consume about 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. That’s the equivalent of 100,500 words and 34GB gigabytes per person.
  • The battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray comes to an end. Toshiba announces it will no longer make HD-DVDs due to the crushing market popularity of Blu-ray technology.
  • 2009

  • Micro holographic storage material able to hold 500GB of data on a DVD-size disc is unveiled.
  • Sixty years ago, Konrad Zuse builds the first fully functioning electro-mechanical computer called the Z2.
  • 2010

  • The first 3TB external hard drive, the largest to date, reaches consumer markets. It has enough space to hold 120 high-definition movies.
  • Just 19 years after it revolutionized data storage, Sony stops making 3.5in floppy disk.
  • About the Author

    This is a post written and contributed by Ashleigh Davis.

    Ashleigh Davis joined Rackspace in 2011 as a Marketing Analyst for the Online Marketing team at Rackspace. She handles marketing automation strategies and nurture efforts, constantly pushing the envelope to test new methods of marketing and communication. Prior to joining Rackspace, Ashleigh had acquired more than seven years of successfully managing online marketing campaigns.

    Ashleigh has an MBA in Project Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin.


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