The Evolution of Data Backup Devices


Since paper was invented, doing backups became a lot easier. In order to make a backup of information, someone had to copy the entire book and wrote word by word. That was how things went for hundreds of years until the invention of electricity and computer began to change the way how people backup data in a whole new way.

Punch Cards

The first computer backups were made of paper or people used to call it as punch cards and paper tape. Punch cards are so symbolic and have been used for over than 200 years in various fields of expertise. It was very slow, had low capacity, and required a lot of devices, efforts, and time for processing. Then, the punch card as the primary medium was replaced by better backup device called magnetic tape. One roll of magnetic tape could store as much data as 10.000 punch cards. It achieved instant success and became the next popular way of storing of computer data.

Floppy Disk

Introduced in the late ‘60s, the floppy disk entered the public marketplace. Through the years, these storage devices evolved from massive 8-inch disks, eventually into their final state at 3.5 inches. Floppy disks were considered as revolutionary media for transporting data from one computer to another. They could not store as much data as hard disks, but, being much cheaper and more flexible, they became very widespread and began to be widely used for backup purposes among home users and small companies.


Even though floppy disk had been so popular, they had low capacity. This problem was solved with the introduction of the next generation in storage media called CD-Recordable (CD-R) and CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) drives in. In the early 1990’s, CD-R were not commonly used for backups, because of high costs. Few years later, when CD-ROM drive became a usual device for practically every computer and prices for compact disks tangibly fell, backup on CD became very popular and practically pushed away the floppy disk.

Flash Drives (FD)

Next generation of backup device called portable USB storage flash drives, invented in 1998. The smallest capacity of these drives, could store several times more data than a traditional floppy disk, and the larger ones can store as much data as a CD-ROM or even more. Considering its size and cost-effectiveness, no wonder that they are becoming a powerful choice in the data backup market. Today, these small drives are used for small events, but they are not the most secure way of handling data, especially sensitive data, and many organizations have a “No Flash Drives” policy.


While FD are great for small to medium-sized files, they still have limitations. Blu-ray disks entered and use organic dyes can hold up to 54GB of data, and are relatively cheap. They appeared on the market in 2006 and are already considered as the next promising devices for data backup after FD.

Network and Online Backup Solutions

If your physical backup got damaged or lost, you would have no way of recovering it. Nowadays, the development of backup is already connected to the evolution of network and Internet technologies. To get protected against a disaster or other site-specific problem, many people prefer to send backup files to an off-site vault. By keeping backups online, or now we know it as cloud, you can access them from any computer by simply logging into your account. As simple as that. The IT teams at the cloud are able to manage a data center for thousands of businesses and people at once, which brings the cost down for everyone.

Technology has been taking a huge part of making people’s job a lot easier, including backup data. If we compare the way people used to backup their data by writing word by word and took days or even months to finish it. Now, backup could be done by only clicking the button in your computer and only took seconds. So, buckle up! As your trusted IT solution partner, CTI Group will help you find the latest way to backup your data based on your business’s need.

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