Data Center Tech Blog

We've come a long way since Oberlin Smith. Here are four reasons to be thankful for technology during this holiday season. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Editorial Team

Western Digital Data Center Tech Blog

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to gather with close friends and family and show gratitude for the all things we have. It’s a holiday that makes us pause for a moment and be thankful for many of the things we too often take for granted.

For us on the data center end of things, technology advancements are a way of life. More bytes, faster networks, growing capacities, higher densities and more efficient architectures have driven our industry forward for decades. But in the spirit of the holiday, let’s take a moment to appreciate not only how far we’ve come, but also how data storage has affected our lives and all that it enables.

How Far Have We Come?

How far have we come? It was 1888 when Oberlin Smith laid the foundations for magnetic storage. It took another half century to introduce the Selectron Tube, a tube capable to store as much digital information as 4096 bits, and another ten years for IBM to release the world’s first computer hard disk drive, RAMAC, in 1956. It was bigger than a refrigerator, and it weighed more than a ton, but it could hold 5 MB of data. Even more importantly, RAMAC couldn’t just store data, it could also retrieve it.

In the past 60 years our lives have come to evolve around data. Today, we generate 2.5 Quintillion (2,5   00,000,000,000,000,000) bytes of data every day. And it’s doubling every two years. Sure, some of the data is dark data, or cold data that will likely never be retrieved, but data is the fuel behind every element of our modern lives, and our ability to store it and access is what is drives our progress.

Our Life Made Easier

When was the last time you dialed a phone number from the top of your head? How about remembered an address of your favorite restaurant? Or even developed film? Our daily life has been made easier through our ability to store and access data, everywhere, all the time. We share music, movies, photos and communicate with our loved ones across continents in ways that would have been unthinkable even just a decade ago.

Our Lives Made Safer

Transportation has seen an incredible revolution through data storage. It’s made it faster, more accessible and safer than ever before. Did you know that an average twin-engine aircraft with a 12-hour flight time can generate up to 844TB of data? The storing and processing of this data helps ensure timely upkeep of aircrafts, the ability to foresee and flag anomalies, and predict the demands of the engine in order to adjust thrust levels and reduce fuel consumption.

But storage is part of every step of our commute these days, whether it’s electronic tickets for our public transport commute, to rerouting of traffic routes, or Google’s traffic data helping us reach our Thanksgiving dinner faster. We haven’t even mentioned the autonomous car revolution! Up ahead is the potential for even safer driving and a complete rethinking of traffic flows through autonomous intersection management.

Our Lives Will Be Better

On a global scale, any area of science wouldn’t be able to make progress the way it does without the storage of data for analysis. Cancer research is leaping forward in large steps thanks to the rise of data mining, while lifesaving donor kidney exchanges are becoming more efficient and secure via the cloud. Weather forecasts and storm warnings can be far more precise now, accessing billions of data points, and we understand global warming better so we can fight it more efficiently and ensure our children will grow in a better world.

The list is endless. Anything and everything relies on data that needs to be stored and accessed. Data is helping us make decisions, breakthrough discoveries and deeper connections with one another. Data makes possible and data storage enables those possibilities.

So take this moment to put your device down, feel assured that all your data is safely stored and will be available for access later. Enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and have a happy Thanksgiving!

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