The Evolution of External Storage
Most people have used external storage, whether they realize it or not. External storage doesn’t have to come in the form of a heavy, clunky external drive that lives next to your desktop computer. It can come in all shapes and sizes from the floppy discs of the 90’s to thumb drives that are kept on keychains. Here’s a look back at the evolution of external storage.
The First External Storage
The first external hard drive was invented by Reynold B. Johnson, an IBM engineer. It was called the IBM 350 Disk File and was an external hard drive that supported the IBM 305 RAMAC computer system. Introduced in 1956, the IBM 350 Disk File was massive and had to be stored in air-controlled rooms.
In the early 1970s, the IBM 3340 featured removable data modules that could store up to 70 MB of data. More widely known as a Winchester, the IBM 3340 were popular across America, as it was easy to add data modules to increase storage as needed.
Apple first introduced the personal computer in the 1980s, with Microsoft releasing their own model soon after. In 1983, Apple released their ProFile external hard drive that could be plugged into the back of an Apple computer for extra storage. This idea did not take off, though, as internal hard drives were being made with increasing storage capabilities. Users would simply replace their current hard drives with ones that had more space when necessary.
If you were a child of the 90s, you probably remember putting school projects on floppy discs. They were slim, lightweight, and portable. They couldn’t hold large amounts of data, but they were perfect for schools and transporting or storing small amounts of data. By the late 90s, it became possible to write data onto compact discs. In September of 1999, though, IBM introduced a cable-free USB Flash Drive, also known as a thumb drive, which became an easy and portable way to store external data.
2000s – Today
External hard drives are much smaller now. They come in all sizes for a variety of data needs. Plus, they are affordable and transportable. It’s easy to plug them in via USB port, move data onto them, and take it with you. Gone are the days of sharing CDs or Floppy Discs with data written onto them. Flash drives are still used for smaller projects and data (although you can find drives that have much larger storage capabilities), but personal external hard drives are pretty ubiquitous in the digital age.