Organizations have always had to save and process different data for their operation. Data organization for its subsequent analysis has been one of the priorities for the organizations. Many years ago, computers were not available yet, the data was recorded on paper and stored in filing cabinets. Physical cabinets with drawers, which we consulted when we needed to recover any of these data.
This data organization forced us to have large spaces for storage and required a great effort of registration. It also had many other drawbacks. Always we wanted to access a piece of data, it spent considerable time locating it. Access was exclusive so that if someone was consulting any file of information, it was not available to anyone else. All this without mentioning the limited possibilities available for data processing.
The data digitization
Later, with the advent of digital electronics and computers, data began to be saved in digital format, which greatly facilitated the storage, distribution and retrieval of data. First in a digital file, then in a database and finally in several databases of different types. In recent years, the availability and capacities of data storage and processing have been significantly improved, giving rise to what has come to be called “Big Data”.
We will start our journey with the first digital techniques of data storage and processing, then we will delve into the different types of databases and their management, to finish presenting the Big Data environment. To walk this path, I will rely on a non-real example of a company to better show the evolution of the different data architectures that have adapted to the growing needs of data storage and management.
My example is a grocery store founded by Antonio, a businessman from Cadiz, in the middle of the last century. We will see the evolution of the company needs on data management, from its foundation to nowadays, converted into a prosperous supermarket with several stores throughout Spain.
Let’s say the store is called SuperGades. In his first years of life, Antonio handles very little data, only a notebook with data from his suppliers and another with sales data, all of course, on paper. Immediately, the data management needs for Antonio grow, he wants to include customer information, and he wants to be able to sort all the information and then be able to find it when he needs it. The use of a computer, the migration of data to a digital environment, begins to be considered. The first solution available to Antonio will be the use of sequential access digital files.
This post is part of the collection “Data Access and Storage Systems”. You can see the index of this collection here