Storage — Then and Now

(revised February 2018)
by Rich Pasco

In 1956, the IBM RAMAC system 350 Disk File stored about 5 megabytes and required a fork-lift to load onto an airplane (see left picture below). It's hard to estimate a cost, because IBM never sold the disk drive individually, only leased it as part of a full system, but a fair estimate might be $50,000.

In 2018, 62 years later, over fifty thousand times as much data can be stored on a device the size of your thumb which costs just $40 and can hang on your key ring.


ramac 1956 Sandisk Cruzer Glide 256 GB USB Flash Drive
1956 2018
IBM Sandisk
RAMAC 350 Cruzer Glide™ 3.0
5 MB 256 GB
$50,000 $40 at Costco
References: 1 | 2 | 3