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USB Flash Drive Data Storage Technology

The History of Data Storage Technology – Part 7

Data Storage Technology (1999)


The Flash Drive is one of the most common data storage technologies used today, thanks to its convenience, ease of use and wide range of capacity options.

USB Flash Drive data storage technology started out in 1999 with a Patent controversy between a number of companies. By 2000, the first commercial versions came out. Trek Technology with its ‘ThumbDrive’ and IBM with its ‘DiskOnKey’, which had a whopping 8MB of storage space.

Flash Drives utilise flash memory coupled with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. While the earliest versions had very little storage capacity by today’s standards, they have improved steadily over the years and not only are they more affordable than ever but they come with capacities up to 1TB. In fact, this volume of data storage space is double the size of many a hard drive doing duty in modern laptop and desktop computers.

USB Flash Drives offers great durability due to the lack of moving parts, and depending on the drive, can last many years with write/erase cycles going up to 100 000 cycles. Other benefits of these drives include:

  • Small & lightweight
  • Not damaged by magnetic interference
  • Cannot be scratched like laser discs (CD, DVD, Blu-ray)
  • Faster data transfer rates than laser discs
  • Can be read by many systems (Game consoles, DVD players, car sound systems, etc.)
  • Compact design makes them highly portable.

Used by many people for both personal and business related data storage, backups, and file transfers, the USB Flash Drive has become one of the most popular data storage technologies in use today.

For all their benefits and increasing storage capacities, Flash Drives are still not an ideal solution for large-scale data storage. Hard Drive and Magnetic tape storage technologies, such as those employed by Iron Mountain, are able to store far more information and at a much lower cost. To find out more about our records and information management solutions contact Iron Mountain today.


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Image Credit: “USB flash drive”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USB_flash_drive.JPG#/media/File:USB_flash_drive.JPG


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