File Cabinets, Floppy Disks, and the Evolution of Online Storage:An Overview of How Online Storage Makes Everything Quick and Easy

Browsing the web and its million file-sharing possibilities, or walking past shelves of compact memory-storing devices (the majority costing less than might be spent on a night out, and in some instances even on a single drink), it’s hard to believe that at one time information was confined to what could be recorded only on sheets of paper. And not only confined, but held stationary: both cumbersome to store and unfeasibly expensive to transport. Before floppy-disk, CD, and DVD technology became mainstream, the choices were extremely limited. All things considered, it’s incredible how far technology has progressed in the last twenty years. Indeed, what was once clumsy and impractical has now been re-born, familiar to the smallest of children in the most distant corners of our planet. What’s more, it is digital and therefore instantaneous: a room full of information sent from Mexico can be in France in the time it takes to press a single button.

The Beginning

The invention of the floppy-disk (or FDD: floppy-disk drive) broke new ground in more ways than one: firstly it enabled the user to store what was then considered to be a large amount of information on small, compact disks. Secondly, entire operating systems could be saved and transported with terrific ease. The Japanese inventor responsible, one Yoshiro Nakamatsu (a.k.a. Dr. NakaMats), certainly had the credentials to back such a revolutionary concept up. The man owns in excess of 3,000 patents on a wide variety of things which have become the main-stays of our technologically sound society, and services such as My Docs Online.

A Growing Demand

Although it was clear from the beginning that floppy-disks would eventually become out-dated, it would be some time before commercial viability and rapid technology could find a suitable compromise, making a more powerful (and thus economical) memory-storing device widely available to the masses. But, as the demands of businesses grew at a ferocious rate, floppy-disks’ temperamental nature and persistent vulnerability to the elements (not to mention loss of data when confronted with magnets) forced speedy progress: the result was, eventually, and after a number of false-starts, CD and DVD technology. But, while this awesome new technology offered yet even more impressive memory-storing capabilities, this also soon began to flounder. The explosion of the world-wide-web was beginning to prove itself all powerful in a way that even the best experts in the field had failed to predict, and this meant that something faster, less bulky, and more web-friendly was greatly needed. The new important questions were these: 1) how can we easily send and receive large amounts of data without imposing excessive costs and 2) and how can we go about storing large files without the burden of physically demanding storage such as CDs and DVDs?

The Burning Question

File-cabinets, the staple of every office, appear to be the precursor to the idea of online storage: what would eventually become the proven choice of storing and maintaining enormous amounts of data off-site, without the hassle of shelving and loss of space. File cabinets were, from the start, the heart and soul of the office, making the organization and access of files a simple and affordable affair. And it was this idea that prompted technology companies to sit up and take note, realizing that the key to storing and sending enormous amounts of data was to employ the speed and power of the internet to do an updated job. Sure enough this happened quickly. As basic as online storage was at its initial conception, the idea that a business could keep their entire database of information at a separate location (accessible by any staff member at any time) was a powerful and contagious one. In a very short period of time this infinitely advantageous and practical solution inevitably became the status-quo.

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