0861 IRON MTN (0861 476 668)

Hard Drive Data Storage Technology

The History of Data Storage Technology – Part 3

Data Storage Technology (1956)


The hard disk drive or ‘hard drive’ has been around a long time. First introduced commercially by IBM in 1956, the hard drive is still the standard means of computer data storage today.

Hard drive data storage technology utilises one or more rotating disks, also called platters, which have a magnetic coating. The data is read and written, using magnetic heads on an actuator arm. The random-access nature of hard drives allows data to be read and written in any order.

While today the 3.5-inch desktop hard drive and 2.5-inch laptop hard drive are easily recognised, you no-doubt would not recognise the original IBM hard drive. The 1956, 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) was roughly the size of two refrigerators and had a capacity of 3.75 MB.

The success of hard drives is due to a number of factors, which include:

  • Capacity has increased from 3.75 MB (megabytes) to over 4 TB (terabytes)
  • Size has decreased from refrigerator size to smaller than a VHS cassette tape
  • Weight is down from over 900 kg to less than 50 grams
  • Speed has increased from 100 milliseconds to less than 10 milliseconds

Among all these factors, the one with the greatest improvement is price. The astronomical, even by today’s standards, price tag of R 157 500* per MB has decreased to around than R 0.001 per MB. In other words, a 1 TB hard drive in the early days would have cost R 16.5 trillion compared to R 1200 today.


Hard drive data storage and Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain, the largest privately owned Records and Information Management in South Africa, ensures the safety of your hard drives with state of the art facilities and a team of data storage experts. For more information on hard drive storage, contact us today.


View the Timeline



* Currency exchange rates vary. Rates given were for information and comparative purposes only.

Image Credit: “BRL61-IBM 305 RAMAC” by User RTC on en.wikipedia – Photo by U. S. Army Red River Arsenal. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BRL61-IBM_305_RAMAC.jpeg#/media/File:BRL61-IBM_305_RAMAC.jpeg




Get Iron Mountain SA News & Blog Notifications

Document Imaging & Scanning from Iron Mountain South Africa

We keep your data private and share your data only with third parties that make this service possible. Read our Privacy Policy.