Now more than ever, storing data is a huge deal. It hasn’t been for very long, of course. It’s only ever been since the late seventies and early eighties that large companies have really needed to store mass amounts of data. The history of how they did this is very interesting as well. The types of information they stored, the types of data racks they used, the entire story is fascinating when told from several different angles. Today we use a variety of different ways to store data, both digitally and physically. Most companies have a plethora of different options, from hot aisle containment to cold aisle containment and a wide variety of server racks, controlled containment rooms and other advanced methods. But this wasn’t always how it was. What follows is a short look at where computer containment started and where it’s been in the last couple decades.
- The sixties and the start
The digital age is commonly thought to have started in the mid nineties but this is far from the actual case. We didn’t get such advanced options as digital streaming, hot aisle containment and terabyte storage overnight. The true digital age began far back in the mid fifties when the military began to run a series of experiments on localized processing machines. Actually, for even more specific accuracy, the race to create these machines began with a couple prominent inventors way back in the second world war. After the war ended, the race continued with all of these scientists working, mostly with the military, to invent smarter and smarter processing machines that could handle an increasingly large number of tasks. During these very early stages, the machines weren’t what we think of today. Our computers today are everywhere, from our laps and pockets to embedded in the most functional parts of the international space station. Back then and in those days, computers were far from portable. They were, in all honesty, the furthest thing from portable. Most computers took up an an entire room, consisting mainly of several large ports and connected wires that the scientists actually had to navigate through to perform maintenance. Despite their size, they had far less processing power than even simple cell phones and flip phones have today. The computers that took humans to the moon had less processor power than a tablet does today. How’s that for progress?
The rise of common computers
For the next two to two and a half decades, computers didn’t change much. They stayed huge, unwieldy and generally restricted for military and research use. But then, during the early eighties, something happen. Advances in containment and processing technology, not yet our advanced hot aisle containment, streaming but closer, brought the computer into a moderate to large scale use in businesses. Suddenly financial and business transactions were able to be performed a lot faster than they had been before. This was the early digital revolution, one that was partially hidden from the public eye. But for many office and business workers of the decade, it was a a rapid change they had to get used to. This progressed into the mid and late eighties when these computers slowly began to creep into homes as well. Video game consoles were popular as well which were basically modified computers anyway. But the true digital home revolution was just getting underway.
Into the future
Of course, the rest is history, isn’t it? Home computers really took off in the mid nineties and the internet soon followed though it had actually been a military network for much longer. The first military network that became the internet started in the early eighties and was later changed for public consumption. Nowadays, the world essentially runs on the internet. Ironically enough, all of the world’s data passes through huge, hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment servers in large underground chambers not dissimilar to the chambers where computers were first built. And now, the future is wide open. Here’s to thinking about the next five decades of computer and digital development and all of the unimaginable things they might possibly bring us.