1996
IBM sets a new world record in magnetic data storage density -- 5 billion bits of data per square inch, the equivalent of 312,500 double-spaced typewritten pages (a stack 104 feet high) in one square inch of disk surface.

IBM unveils in October the lightest 2.5-inch hard disk drive for mobile computers. (The world's first hard disk drive for computer storage was invented 40 years ago by IBM, and was the size of two refrigerators; this new drive is so small that two could be fitted into a shirt pocket.)

Among the other storage product announcements in 1996 are: two 2.5-inch disk drives, including the highest capacity low-profile drive available for notebook computers and the world's first disk drive products to exceed one billion bits of data in a square inch of disk space; new models of the RAMAC Array storage, including RAMAC 3, RAMAC Virtual Array Model 2, RAMAC Scalable Array and RAMAC Electronic Array; and the 3466 Network Storage Manager.

1997
Implementing IBM's patented giant magneto resistive (GMR) head technology, IBM scientists set a new world record in disk drive storage capacity by quadrupling the former level and thereby breaking the barrier of 10 billion bits of data (10 gigabits) per square inch of disk surface (the equivalent of 1,450 average-length novels).

IBM rolls out the RAMAC Virtual Array Storage 2 Turbo system, which delivers up to 100 percent faster performance than the original RAMAC Virtual Array introduced in 1996. The company announces the 8.1-gigabyte Travelstar 8GS, the first drive to exceed 3 billion bits per square inch on each of its disk platters, a world record. (Not much larger than a music cassette tape, it will hold enough information that when printed, would constitute a stack taller than the Empire State Building.)

IBM begins shipping four new server hard disk drives, including the 9.1-gigabyte Ultrastar 9ZX, with the fastest seek time (10,000 rpm) of any hard disk drive being shipped. The next month, IBM announces the world's highest capacity desktop OPC disk drive. The 16.8-gigabyte drive incorporates breakthrough technology called giant magnetoresistive (GMR) heads. No bigger than the head of a pin, the GMR head is the world's most sensitive sensor for reading and writing computer data on magnetic disks.

1998
IBM sets repeated records in hard disk drive storage densities, culminating with a world record drive for notebook computers - holding 14.1 gigabits per square inch, or a trail of paper more than 1,200 miles long. In addition, the Microdrive is introduced in September as the world's smallest and lightest hard disk drive. Weighing less than an AA battery, it can hold more than 200 times more data than a floppy disk.

In other storage systems developments, IBM announces Travelstar 6GT, the highest capacity 2.5-inch slimline hard disk drive for notebook computers, holding 6.4-gigabytes or about three times as much information as the average notebook hard drive; the world's smallest and lightest hard disk drive, with a disk platter the size of a large coin; the Travelstar 14GS notebook computer hard drive that can hold all of the double-spaced text of paper stacked 2,338 feet high; and Ultrastar 9LZX hard drive, ideal for use by video producers and movie editors.

To mark the 100th anniversary of magnetic recording in November, IBM announces the IBM Deskstar 25GP as the world's highest capacity hard drive for desktop PCs. (The first disk drive in 1956 had a capacity of 5 megabytes; the Deskstar 25GP has 5,000 times the capacity of that first drive.) IBM also marks the 10th anniversary of its storage management software architecture in August. The company reports that its OEM Magnetoresistive (MR) Head business has shipped more than 50 million MR heads and 2.5 million giant MR heads since the business began in late 1996.

1999
IBM launches the IBM Enterprise Storage Server - code-named "Shark" - a new generation of enterprise disk storage systems. Shark is the most scaleable storage system in the world (from 420GB to 11TB), and it provides the fastest throughput of any storage system in the world. Pitney Bowes Inc. becomes the first company to take delivery of a production level machine.

IBM ships 73 percent more terabytes of storage than in 1999, increasing shipped disk storage to more than 11,000 terabytes in 12 months. Combined, all IBM "Shark" enterprise storage servers worldwide hold more than seven petabytes of data, roughly equal to the printed text of 700 U.S. Libraries of Congress.

IBM researchers and engineers set a new world record in hard-disk storage density, writing and reading data bits so small that an unprecedented 35.3 billion of them would fit within a square inch. The new record density is a 75 percent increase over the 20-billion-bit milestone IBM achieved earlier in the year and is expected to lead to disk drives that could store three times more information than those then available.

IBM introduces two new high-performance hard drive models: the 36-gigabyte Ultrastar 36ZX - which can hold the equivalent of 1,188 feet of shelved books - and the Ultrastar 18LZK with the fastest seek time (4.9 msec) of any hard drive in the industry.

The company also launches a Deskstar 37GP as the world's highest capacity hard disk drive for desktop PCs. It can hold the equivalent text of seven full-length feature films.

IBM begins shipping the IBM 340 megabyte microdrive, the world's smallest hard disk drive. Designed for use in digital cameras and small PCs, the microdrive has a disk platter the size of a large coin and weighs less than a AA battery.

Later, the company announces the Travelstar 25GS, the world's highest capacity notebook PC hard drive, holding four times as much data as the average notebook hard drive. It also has the highest rpm of any notebook PC hard drive. Introduced at the same time is the Travelstar 12GN, the most rugged hard drive available anywhere.

The Ultrastar 72ZX is unveiled as the world's highest capacity server-class hard drive, holding the equivalent of a floor of books at the New York Public Library in a drive the size of a paperback novel.

2000
IBM is awarded the 2000 U.S. National Medal of Technology for the company's record innovation in storage technology. This marks the seventh time that IBM and its scientists have received the nation's highest award for technological innovation, more than any other company or organization.

The company launches a new technology initiative, code-named "Storage Tank," to deliver storage networking, i.e., a universal storage system capable of sharing data across any storage hardware, platform or operating system.

In March, IBM announces two products that set world records for data storage: the Deskstar 75GXP, holding 75 gigabytes (GB) of data, and the Deskstar 40GV, holding 40GB and setting a new density record of 14.3 billion bits per inch. The next month, IBM introduces the world's most versatile, highest capacity notebook computer hard disk drives and the first with built-in features designed to deliver smoother, more lifelike video images. The new offerings include the Travelstar 32GH, 30GT and 20GN.

IBM begins to market new disk storage systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The new offerings include Windows NT and UNIX storage server solutions and network attached storage (NAS) appliances. The new solutions incorporate industry-leading RAID controllers from Mylex Corporation, which was acquired by IBM in 1999 to strengthen IBM's NT and UNIX attached storage offerings, as well as its storage area network and NAS solutions portfolio. The first product to debut from the marketing initiative is the IBM ProFibre Storage Array, about the size of a briefcase and capable of storing the contents of a large academic research library.


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