This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

How Far We’ve Come

4.0M DigitalCAM

September 4, 1956: First Commercial Hard Drive

The IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit Model 1 was announced, which was the first commercial storage unit to use magnetic disk storage, the technology behind hard disk drives. About the size of two refrigerators and weighing in at one ton, the 350 could store about 4 – 5 megabytes, depending on how it was calculated (pictured above, Bill Worthington former IBM engineer with RAMAC platter).

IBM_350

The 350 would be an integral part of the IBM RAMAC 305 computer, which would be introduced 9 days later on September 13th. The RAMAC 305 and 350 Disk Storage Unit were designed to replace the punch card “tub file” system that was the primary means of storing repeatedly accessed data.

A IBM 359 being unloaded

A IBM 359 being unloaded

300px-BRL61-IBM_305_RAMAC

Shown here is a close-up of dual access arms used to record data on or read data from the IBM 350 disk memory unit in an IBM 305 RAMAC. The second access arm, available as an additional feature, made it possible for one access unit to be in a position for reading or writing while the other arm moved to the next storage record. As both arms could be in motion simultaneously, RAMAC processing time was substantially reduced. The disk unit for 305 systems could be obtained with storage capacities of five million digits and 10 million digits, and could be installed either singly or in pairs.

Shown here is a close-up of dual access arms used to record data on or read data from the IBM 350 disk memory unit in an IBM 305 RAMAC. The second access arm, available as an additional feature, made it possible for one access unit to be in a position for reading or writing while the other arm moved to the next storage record. As both arms could be in motion simultaneously, RAMAC processing time was substantially reduced. The disk unit for 305 systems could be obtained with storage capacities of five million digits and 10 million digits, and could be installed either singly or in pairs.

How far we’ve come:

Now-a-days 1 gigabyte is small for a flash drive with the smaller ones coming in at 4 GB.

Kingston-4GB

If 5 MB = 1 ton . . . 4 GB would weigh in at 4096 tons in 1956.

Continuing with this line, if 5 MB was the size of 2 refrigerators

You would need 8,192 refrigerators for 4 GB of storage.

2560 GB Kingston DataTraveler

256 GB Kingston DataTraveler

DataTraveler HyperX Predator

1 TB DataTraveler HyperX Predator

Continuing with this line . . .

If 1 terabyte = 1048576 MB

1 TB in 1956 would weigh in at a whopping 209715 tons.

That would be 41,943 refrigerators!!!

Patchell_HowBigBusinessCan_0

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