Data Migration Helps Technology Take Next Step in Computer Evolution

Technology has rev­o­lu­tionised so­ci­ety and it’s changed the way we live. As of 2012, the av­er­age Australian house­hold had 2.53 com­put­ers (not in­clud­ing other smart de­vices). For a de­vice that plays such a piv­otal role in our lives, the ma­jor­ity of com­puter own­ers don’t fully un­der­stand the his­tory of com­put­ing or how it evolved into what you’re look­ing at (apologies if you’re read­ing this on a smart phone). Once we un­der­stand the his­tory of com­put­ing, we can be­gin to chart the next step in the evo­lu­tion process. This step in­volves the buzz words of the last few years - cloud com­put­ing and data mi­gra­tion.

After the sec­ond World War, much of the tech­nol­ogy man­u­fac­tured for war­fare be­came re­dun­dant. However, some op­por­tunists recog­nised that there could be a com­mer­cial use for this tech­nol­ogy. One im­por­tant con­cept you should be aware of is that the computer age’ is re­ally just a se­ries of com­puter ages. Put sim­ply, the com­puter was­n’t just in­vented one day, there was a process of rein­ven­tion and re­de­f­i­n­i­tion which re­sulted in the mod­ern day com­puter. Various coun­tries were cre­at­ing tech­nol­ogy which would even­tu­ally be used as the ba­sis for the com­puter. However they were at dif­fer­ent stages, cre­at­ing the tech­nol­ogy for dif­fer­ent com­mer­cial pur­poses.

The Race Is On

In the United States, Eckert & Mauchly de­vel­oped the UNIVAC. This de­vice would sim­plify the punched card sys­tem, which was used pri­mar­ily as a way of pro­cess­ing and record­ing in­for­ma­tion (eg. sales records, equip­ment). The UNIVAC could au­to­mate this process, thereby sav­ing busi­nesses money on wages (it sort of evened out when you take into con­sid­er­a­tion the UNIVAC was a large ma­chine which was­n’t the cheap­est or eas­i­est de­vice to build at the time). In Britain, cater­ing firm J. Lyons & Company had in­stalled a com­mer­cial com­puter be­fore the UNIVAC served a com­mer­cial pur­pose in America. Japan was quite slow out of the blocks, fail­ing to pro­duce vac­uum tube com­put­ers. However by the 1980′s they were able to wres­tle a foothold in the mar­ket when they rev­o­lu­tionised in­te­grated cir­cuit pro­duc­tion.

IBM Dominates

Although there were a num­ber of com­pa­nies at­tempt­ing to har­ness and ex­plore this tech­nol­ogy, IBM is widely re­garded the leader of the pack. A huge de­vel­op­ment came in 1956 when IBM cre­ated the worlds first com­puter hard disk drive, the IBM 305 RAMAC. There was no way it could be mass pro­duced yet though, the 305 RAMAC was enor­mous. It was big­ger than a re­frig­er­a­tor and weighed more than me dur­ing my M&M ob­ses­sion’ stage. Although it was­n’t a house­hold item yet, IBM made and sold these com­put­ers to gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions. In 1981, IBM re­leased the IBM Personal Computer 5150. This was huge. Although com­put­ers weren’t pop­u­larised un­til the 1990′s, IBM was able to of­fer a house­hold com­puter de­vice.

The in­ven­tion of the com­puter was the cat­a­lyst for what many re­gard as the third in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion. This in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion was cen­tred around elec­tron­ics, IT and au­to­mated pro­duc­tion. It re-de­fined the way we work and live.

The Next Step - Data Migration

Fast for­ward 25 years and we have a de­vice that is in­cred­i­bly fast, light and ca­pa­ble of run­ning ad­vanced soft­ware. Responsible for the third in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, the com­puter has a role to play in the next in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion. Many tech ex­perts be­lieve we’re in the midst of a fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, one that’s cen­tred around cy­ber phys­i­cal sys­tems and ar­ti­fi­cially in­tel­li­gent de­vices. It’s ex­pected that the next in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion will in­cor­po­rate a wide ar­ray of de­vices, not just com­put­ers. However com­put­ers still have a role to play.

Currently, many com­pa­nies are still run­ning legacy sys­tems. This means that data is stored na­tively, i.e. sep­a­rately on each com­puter. This may in­clude data­base records, spread­sheets, text files, scanned im­ages or spe­cific pro­grams that must be in­stalled on a de­vice - think Microsoft Office CDs. Data mi­gra­tion is the process of im­port­ing legacy soft­ware/​data to a new sys­tem. Importantly, this process al­lows busi­nesses to mi­grate to the cloud. As we tran­si­tion into the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, it will be crit­i­cal for these smart de­vices to be able to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion hosted in cloud stor­age. As a re­sult if a busi­ness wants to utilise the tech­nol­ogy/​smart de­vices that will soon be­come avail­able to so­ci­ety it needs to mi­grate to the cloud. The way to do that whilst re­tain­ing all your cur­rent data? Data mi­gra­tion.


Eban Escott

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