Do You Know Where & How Is Your Data Stored?

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” ~ T.S. Eliot

Everything in the world perishes once its sweet time ends. The machines or the data stored on your disks meet the same fate. Everything has a shelf life. Now, with advanced technology, it is said that your data stays with you forever. If you upload your files, it goes straight to the cloud of the company servers. Here, the only question arises, does the data stay only on the server, or do the companies keep them somewhere else? Has technology evolved so much that just a cloud server can handle your data well? Let’s know how and where data is stored during the time and what is its ultimate fate.

A Short History Of Media Storage
History of Media Storage

If you go primitive, data was stored on long parchments of papyrus sheets and vellum for centuries. Then punched cards perforated with data existed in the 1970s and 1980s. The magnetic tape came into being in 1950, an evolution in the digital storage world.

However, over the years, the magnetic tape’s size got smaller, and eventually, 4-inch data cartridges and plastic cassette tapes took the place of Magnetic tapes. Then came CDs and DVDs, which have now been replaced with online video and audio streaming services.

Magnetic Tapes: A Hero Behind The Shadows
Magnetic Tapes

As per data accumulated in 2011, we store 11% of the data on digital tape. It seems that all kinds of magnetic tapes will cease to exist, but you will be stupefied to know that it is otherwise. The technology that came into being decades ago still exists, and it would surprise you to know how much it is still being used.

Whether it’s financial institutions, hospitals, movie studios, or manufacturing companies, they still keep their records on magnetic tape storage.

Who The Hell Still Uses Tapes?

Most of us use Google to upload the data to the cloud so that we can access our data seamlessly. But have you ever thought about where your data goes or ends up? Does Google store all the data in the only cloud? Is the cloud the ultimate and the only destination? Well, the answer can appall you! One of the biggest myths about data storage is that all your data stored has been digitalized, and other methods of storing data have perished. Well, this is not even half true! One of the best biggest data storing companies, Google has physical data centers in 14 different countries, including Singapore, Chile, Finland, and more. Shocking, right?

Back in 2011, some Gmail users logged in and found that their data was missing due to some glitch, and thanks to the data centers, the data was successfully restored.

Rick West from Google says, “We may know less about the early 21st century than we do about the early 20th century. The early 20th century is still largely based on things like paper and film formats that are still accessible to a large extent, whereas much of what we’re doing now — the things we’re putting into the cloud, our digital content — is born digital. It’s not something that we translated from an analog container into a digital container. Still, it is born, and now increasingly dies, as digital content, without any analog counterpart.”

According to Mark Lantz, an advanced tape technologies manager at IBM’s research laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, “Most people don’t realize that the technology is still used. You don’t realize that it’s still extensively used in large data centers.”

Google: The Law Of One

Google: The Law Of One

Google seems to be behind all the stored data no matter which medium you choose. Whether you use Google cloud or any other cloud server to keep your data secure, the end string is mostly Google. Google is governing the data wherever you go. It has been a decade, and the tech giants and technologists have been seconding the thought, maybe preaching the choir to save your data only on the cloud to keep it safe and easily accessible. But, have you ever thought, do they believe in the same? Is your data stored on the only cloud? Keeping the data on the cloud seems to be the myth to give you a sense of security.

However, the reality is far from it; behind all the encouragement to use cloud and online backup services, there is a shaky foundation. Google itself doesn’t believe in keeping the data only on the cloud and instead stores the data on magnetic tapes at various data centers across the world.

So, this seems to be a web of lies and betrayal which lets us believe that our data is safe online and not accessible to anyone but only to the data services company and us. However, given the situation, the data stored in magnetic tapes at data centers also make our data accessible to one too many people.

Are We Facing An Impending Digital Dark Age?

So, here we are asking what the ultimate solution could be to save our data and keep privacy intact. Whether we start keeping our data to ourselves on external hard drives or SSDs, let’s face it, not all of us can afford it. The size of our data will only increase year after year. Therefore, maintaining it on our own is not practically possible. So, we are left with only two options: whether you store our data on cloud servers and be at the mercy of the cloud companies or don’t it at all.

We certainly understand that this news is more devastating than reassuring for users as it proves that their confidential information is stored physically in a location they cannot access.

So, Is Loss Of Data Inevitable?

Save the data or not; after all this, we have concluded that this is just the beginning. The dark age has begun wherein trusting the cloud companies for data security is just as dangerous as playing with fire. You never know when advertising companies could use your private and sensitive information.

If you still have a heart of steel, then you can go ahead and save your data on any of the cloud servers. The data would be ironically kept on physically accessible servers, and you would be deluding that the information is secure. God forbid, our stored data is also lost if the data server gets damaged. So, it doesn’t matter whether you save your data on a cloud server or don’t save it at all. Eventually, you will lose the data. But looking at where we’ve come after the historical ‘Dark Ages’ (5th-10th century AD), data has always been lost to time. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped or slowed our progress by any means.

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