I long ago concluded that storage is the most difficult problem in information technology because entropy is always working to destroy our data. But then I came across this from a speech given by British mathematician, computer theorist and pioneer and Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing.
You’ve heard of the Turing Machine and the Turing test for artificial intelligence? Same guy.
It’s from a speech he gave in 1947 to the London Mathematical Society, when he was working on the design of the British ACE computer:
In my opinion this problem of making a large memory available at reasonably short notice is much more important than that of doing operations such as multiplication at high speed. Speed is necessary if the is to work fast enough for the machine to be commercially valuable, but a large storage capacity is necessary if it is to be capable of anything more than rather trivial operations. The storage capacity is therefore the more fundamental requirement.
The StorageMojo take
Yes, storage is vital and it is hard.
Everyone who’s working in the trenches to make better storage, or working to keep those pesky bits in their proper place, should take a moment to reflect on the importance of what we do. No digital storage, no digital civilization.
Courteous comments welcome, of course. I’m a big fan of the Turing Archive.