Today in 1956, IBM announced the 305 RAMAC (Random Access Memory Accounting), the first disk storage product. It came with fifty 24-inch disks for a total capacity of 5 megabytes, weighed 1 ton, and could be leased for $3,200 per month ($25,785 in today’s dollars). Today you can buy from Seagate a 3 terabyte 3.5-inch disk drive, the size and weight of a small book, for $250.
The 305 RAMAC created an industry that is expected to ship, according to iSupply, 674.6 million disk drives in 2010, for total revenues of $27.7 billion. And it created other new industries as well, as Seagate’s Mark Kryder reminded us in 2006: “Instead of Silicon Valley, they should call it Ferrous Oxide Valley. It wasn’t the microprocessor that enabled the personal video recorder, it was storage. It’s enabling new industries.”