By Mohamed A. Salem, Mentor Graphics Corp. April 28, 2008 -- edadesignline.com
No question, storage devices and storage technologies have helped fuel our digital lifestyle. The amount of storable information and the requirement for fast, efficient, state-of-the-art storage technologies are the primary mechanisms that must continue to evolve if we are to meet the demands for all things digital.
One of the more promising storage technology solutions to develop is Serial ATA, or SATA. Before we can fully appreciate the benefits behind the SATA standard, it makes sense to look back on the history of data storage.
Fifty years of growth
The first data storage device was introduced in the 1950's by IBM. This rather rudimentary storage device consisted of magnetic tape. It was a huge hit since one of the primary methods for data storage at the time was the punch card. With one magnetic tape being able to replace thousands of punch cards, it was clear data storage would soon take off. While magnetic tape held its popularity until the early 1980's, there has been remarkable progress in hard disk drive (HDD) technology in the past two decades. In fact, HDD has provided fertile ground on which the entire industry of storage systems exists today.
In the past decade, the number of bits stored per unit of HDD media has doubled every year as shown in Figure 1. Looking at this time line numerous milestones stand out as new or improved technology applications were enabled by improvements in storage technology. For example, in 1996 digital storage became more cost-effective than paper due to its ability to store large amounts of data for less money and in less space.
It's safe to say that storage technology advancements have been driven by the evolution in data utilization and the extensive demand for storage solutions. Regardless of the application, data storage must be reliable, fast, and cost-effective " across a broad spectrum of market domains from specialized consumer use platforms to high-end enterprise applications.
1. The storage technology evolution: It's all about media density versus cost.
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