Cloud-Based Storage, Floppy Disk Drives, And Tape Drives
Cloud-based storage (remote storage that is accessed by the Internet) has become a popular alternative to flash-based or optical storage for data storage, exchange, and backup.
Although some earlier cloud-based storage services used proprietary interfaces, the trend is increasingly in the direction of making cloud-based storage, sync, or backup look and act like another drive folder.
Although cloud-based storage services mimic a local folder, they use powerful encryption technologies to protect data from unauthorized users. The performance of cloud-based storage depends primarily upon the speed of your Internet connection and the priority level of the service running on your computer. Typically, automatic cloud-based backup services run at a low priority to avoid slowing down users’ normal experience of using their devices. However, the trade-off is that restoration of lost data can take several days or longer.
Before choosing a cloud-based storage, sync, or backup service, look at capacity, prices, and performance. Typically, lower-cost or free services have limits on capacity and run more slowly than paid versions. If you are looking at cloud-based storage for a group of workers or family members, be sure to compare the costs and features of a shared plan over multiple individual plans.
Floppy Disk Drives
Alan Shugart is generally credited with inventing the floppy disk drive in 1967 while working for IBM. One of Shugart’s senior engineers, David Noble, actually proposed the flexible medium (then 8 inches in diameter) and the protective jacket with the fabric lining. Shugart left IBM in 1969, and in 1976 his company, Shugart Associates, introduced the minifloppy (5.25-inch) disk drive. It, of course, became the standard eventually used by personal computers, rapidly replacing the eight-inch drives. Shugart also helped create the Shugart Associates System Interface (SASI), which was later renamed small computer system interface (SCSI) when approved as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.
Sony introduced the first 3.5-inch microfloppy drives and disks in 1981. The first significant company to adopt the 3.5-inch floppy for general use was Hewlett-Packard in 1984 with its partially PC-compatible HP-150 system. The adoption of the 3.5-inch drive in the PC was solidified when IBM started using the drive in 1986 in some systems and finally switched its entire PC product line to 3.5-inch drives in 1987.
In 2002, many companies started selling systems without floppy drives. This started with laptop computers, where internal floppy drives were first eliminated and replaced with external (normally USB) drives. By 2003, virtually all systems sold, be it desktop or laptop, no longer included a floppy drive, although sometimes you can purchase an external USB model as an option. An optional USB floppy drive can be used as a bootable drive if the BIOS permits it, as is the case with most recent systems.
Tape drives and media were once a somewhat popular form of magnetic storage for backup use. Although the drives were expensive, the tape media was cheap, allowing multiple backup sets to be inexpensively created. As hard drive capacities increased, however, the capacity of tape media could not keep pace, and using multiple tapes to back up a single drive meant time-consuming and error-prone media swaps. The performance of tape drives also suffered in relation to hard disks, greatly increasing the time it took for a backup to complete. Hard drives also become much less expensive, such that it was cheaper and easier to simply purchase more hard drives for backups. Over time, all these factors have caused tape backup drives and media to no longer be suitable for standard desktop or laptop PC backups. Currently, tape drives and media are only used for high-end server backups.
The most common types of tape backups in use today include LTO Ultrium 5 (with a native/compressed capacity of 1.5/3.0 TB), LTO Ultrium 4 (800 GB/1.6 TB), LTO Ultrium 3 (400/800 GB), and SDLT (160/320 GB).