Press Release

Computer History Museum Online Exhibit Presents A Timeline of Milestones in Storage Technology

Mountain View, California  |  April 07, 2016

The Computer History Museum (CHM) announced today the launch of a new online exhibit, “The Storage Engine: A Timeline of Milestones in Storage Technology.” The exhibit tells the stories of the key people, processes, products, and organizations that have contributed to advances in modern data storage in a chronological format, accessible from mobile and desktop devices.

”The Storage Engine” comprises 58 milestones that describe the ever-increasing capacity, performance, and utility of storage devices. Magnetic (disk and tape), physical (punched tape and cards), optical (CD, DVD, and holograms), and semiconductor (RAM and Flash) technologies are included as are examples of experimental approaches. View the online exhibit website.

Storage devices have evolved through a complex history of technological innovation and intense worldwide competition. Together with semiconductor chips and software, storage devices serve as one of the three fundamental drivers powering the digital revolution. Semiconductor integrated circuits include the processors that manipulate data in accordance with software instructions and information that resides in a variety of storage units.

”The history of storage in the age of electronic computing is as important to understand as Moore's Law is to raw speed,” said John Hollar, president and CEO of the Computer History Museum. “Big data, the cloud and the future of augmented intelligence are all heavily storage-dependent. I'm delighted with this project and its contribution to our understanding of computing overall.”

The Museum's Storage SIG (Special Interest Group), with support from CHM's curatorial, collections and IT staff, developed “The Storage Engine” over the past two years. Artifacts and documents from the Museum's Permanent Collection, as well as numerous industry and institutional resources, form the foundation of the exhibit's rich content. Additionally, more than 40 oral histories with storage industry pioneers from the Museum's oral history program were consulted.

”Expertly written by CHM curator David Laws, 'The Storage Engine' is a remarkable story of the technology that has enabled mankind to create, store, access, share and analyze a digital universe, expected to reach 44 Zettabytes by 2020,” said Tom Burniece, chairman of the Storage SIG. “That's as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe.”

”The Storage Engine” joins a growing number of online exhibits by CHM, including “The Silicon Engine” and “Timeline of Computer History.” Online exhibits allow the Museum to engage audiences around the world and present a wealth of content and rich media, including oral histories and historical footage, in an interactive format.

About the Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, and moving images.

The Museum brings computer history to life through large-scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent-led tours, and an award-winning education program. The Museum's signature exhibition is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” described by USA Today as “the Valley's answer to the Smithsonian.” Other current exhibits include the “IBM 1401 Demo Lab,” “PDP-1 Demo Lab,” and “Where To? A History of Autonomous Vehicles.”

For more information and updates, call (650) 810-1059, visit, check us out on Facebook, follow @computerhistory on Twitter, and read the Museum blog @chm.

Press Contacts

PR Team
(650) 810-1059


FacebookTwitterCopy Link