Feeds

What ever happened to storing pics with electron cannons?

Blue Blue's digital photo beam

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

This Old Box Features make the system. After all, what good is a gaming rig without superfluous neon-blue lights, an iMac without the almost-matronly lack of sharp edges, or a Verizon phone not forged by the souls of the damned upon an altar of bones?1

This old box logo

This simple and self-evident truth carries over to storage systems as well. Normally, storage is a bit of bore to yours truly - yet this column can't help but make an exception to the terrific IBM 1360 Photo-Digital Storage System for two simple reasons: 1) It has an electron cannon; and importantly 2) Sorry, stepped away for a cup of coffee. Does the system still have an electron cannon? Yes? Fantastic.

The bulky IBM 1360 includes this dangerous-sounding device for a good reason. Built in 1967, it was the first system designed from scratch to store over 1 trillion bits (~116GB). Ponder that 116GB is an OK chunk of storage even today. Then puzzle how IBM engineers built it back in the '60s. Answer: Electron cannon, silly. (highlight to reveal spoiler).

There may actually be damned souls involved here too...

Unlike storage systems of its time (and really, any since) the 1360 stored data inside cabinets stuffed with drawers of photographic film imprinted with binary data rather than the usual methods of magnetic drums, platters, or tape. The system even contained its own internal "film processing laboratory," which developed the film automatically. The film and drawers were moved about my means of pneumatic tubes and a robotic arm. Obviously, this was a very complex rig - but it worked. Of the handful of commercial systems built, three were still being used into the late 1970s.

Back 1960-way, the US Atomic Energy Commission was shopping around for a system that could store an enormous amount of data for their newfangled nuclear blast simulations. The Cold War was in high gear, and America wanted to see what devastation it could wreak in fun new ways with unprecedented accuracy.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Electron cannon!

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.