Apr 29, 2016

Data is an important piece of information; it is a collection of years of research work, thus it is important to maintain its record for reference and analysis in the future. Be it engineering, medical, science, agriculture or anything else, data is relevant for each and every field. Just imagine if we sum up all the data of previous years, the magnitude of that would be incredible.

However, as the quantity of data has increased, the capacity of data storage devices has also increased simultaneously. Result of years of evolution of storage devices has now reached such a point that today we have the most advanced data storage solutions of all time.

Recently, the researchers at Southampton University in UK have developed a technique of storing data digitally in 5 dimensions on a tiny silicon glass disk using a laser light.

It is a breakthrough invention in the world of storage devices, but it is also worth mentioning that every previous innovation plays a major role for the next. So, let’s just take a small visit to the history of storage devices and recall those days of floppy disks and CDs.

Brief History of Data Storage Solution

Magnetic Tapes

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Though it is not the oldest form of data storage device, it’s an appropriate place to start the journey. First used by IBM in 1950, one roll of magnetic tape was able to store 10000 punch cards, and the usage remained strong through the mid-1980s.

Hard Drives

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Hard Drives came into existence in the year 1956 and were first introduced by IBM. It was not less than a revolution in the world of storage devices – the first hard drive was able to store 4.4MB of data. Then, slowly the capacity of hard drives increased and reached up to 500GB with Hitachi Deskstar 7K500.

Floppy Disks

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The first floppy disk was introduced in the year 1969. It was an 8-inch read-only disk with capacity of 80KB. The capacity of this 8-inch disk has jumped to 256KB within four years. Gradually, the size of disks started decreasing and capacity started increasing with 250MB of data on 3-inch disk in 1990s.


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CDs and DVDs initiated the next generation of storage devices. CDs reached the market in the year 1982. A CD at that time was able to store 700MB of data, whereas a DVD was a more efficient form that could store more data on same amount of space. A dual layer DVD can store 8.5GB of data.

Flash Drives

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Portable USB flash drives were invented in the year 1998 as a new way of keeping data backup and became extremely popular right after their introduction in the market. Their small size and capacity of storing large amounts of data made them a favorite of most of the users.

Blu-ray disks and HD-DVD

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Blu-ray disks were another milestone in storage devices that are able to store data between 23GB and 54GB.

Online back-up solution and cloud storage
As the name clearly indicates, online back-up solution and cloud storage are closely related to internet technologies. Networks enable use of remote computers for critical data backups. Many people prefer to use cloud storage from security point of view.
These are the latest devices of storage solutions, and their capabilities are increasing with each passing day. We are moving toward bigger units of storage from KBs to MBs to GBs and now TBs. But, as we have discussed earlier, a breakthrough invention has taken place in the storage devices in form of a small glass disc that is able to store a record amount of data i.e. up to 360TB in 5 dimensions. How much is 360TB – it  has the ability to store the whole human history on one devise.

5D Silicon Glass Data Storage Device

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Here are some points to know more about this little wonder of storage devices.
1. A special kind of writing (i.e. femtosecond laser writing) is used to store the digital data in 5-dimensional form.
2. Nanostructure of the glass chip is altered by extremely intense pulses of light creating small dots that can store data. These dots align over each other, making three layers one over the.
3. These three layers of nanostructured dots are placed just microns above each other.
4. This 5D storage device uses three dimensions of air and two additional dimensions using the polarity and intensity of the beam.
5. This tiny disk comes with thermal capacity of 1000 degrees Celsius. This fact makes it suitable for the toughest conditions.
6. This device is predicted to save data to up to billions of years.
7. This device is like a boon for government organizations, libraries, and museums etc., through which they will be able to store data on a highly stable platform. 
Researchers believe it to be a great innovation for future generations in which the whole history, innovations and achievements of mankind can be stored on a single device. Storage devices have now become a necessity; they help in maintaining data on personal as well as data on a professional level. Some other advantages of storage devices are listed here, please take a look:
Advantages of Using Data Storage Devices
Data storage devices are developed with an idea of easily managing and storing data, thus it comes with a lot of advantages and some of them are given below, take a look:
1. Data storage devices are highly stable, they can store data for longer durations and information is easily transferrable.
2. Different types of storage devices are available making it easy for the user to make a wise choice.
3. Small storage devices are highly durable and consume very little power.
4. Storage devices are reasonably priced and affordable.
5. Some storage devices are reusable, so they can be used repeatedly by removing and replacing previous data.
6. Storage devices are highly portable.

Future of Storage Devices
The future of storage devices is pretty exciting. There is an exponential amount of data produced by people that need storage. In the future, researchers will surely find the solution of saving a hundred or perhaps a thousand times more data on devices. An innovation generally paves the way to another upcoming bigger one – similarly this innovation will also lead to something bigger by increasing the capability of storage devices in Petabyte (equals 1 million Gigabyte), Zettabyte (equals 1 million Petabyte) or Domegemegrottebyte (equals 1 thousand Zettabytes).

Here are some types of a few predicted future storage drives:
Helium Drives
We may likely to see increased usage of helium drives in the future. They are air-filled storage devices with higher storage capacity. They are light weight and run cool. So it makes sense that Helium drives are going to be an important part of the future hard drives.

Shingled Magnetic Recording
Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) allows more data to be stored on the same amount of space by using a track “squeezing” technique. Squeezing data allows overlapping, increasing the capacity to store more.

And that is not all. There are plenty of other technologies that are desperate to be part of mainstream technology while researches keep moving forward, and only a very few of such technologies generally able to make it to reside amongst the most desirable ones.

It is a well-known saying that requirement is the mother of invention – and that same quote applies here. The increasing requirement of having more space for saving an exponential amount of data is giving birth to such innovative storage devices that may look smaller in size, but come with an amazing capacity of storing data. This latest invention of a silicon glass has totally reversed the process with lesser amount of data and more storage space.


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