RAID and the collapse of IBM's mainframe storage business.

What were the technical and non-technical aspects of the collapse in IBM's DASD (mainframe disk) business from 1990 to 1995, from ~$9B and 80% market share to $1.5B and 35%?


RAID: Timeline of IBM Disk Storage

A highly selective history of Disk Storage referenced later, focussing on IBM's contributions with some of their competition mentioned. This provides context for previous articles, on Lessons from RAID and RAID++. A good general reference is the Computer History Museum. Minicomputers and the laster Super-minicomputers aren't dealt with, although they created the conditions for the collapse of IBM's mainframe business.

Gordon Bell, while at DEC in 1972, posited "Computer Classes" [PDF, Paper on Bells Law] and how exponential technology growth affects products, markets and eventually companies. Market Disruption from "lower" classes of computers is a feature of computing history. A recent powerpoint by him on the topic.

In the 1970's, IBM dominated the computer (mainframe) industry generating more revenue that all its competitors combined. They were named "The BUNCH": Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell.

In the 1960's it was "IBM and the Seven Dwarfs", until RCA and General Electric sold to Sperry and Honeywell respectively.

Some items are included on Software Engineering, an on-going challenge in the Industry.


RAID++: Lessons from the 1990's market collapse for Large Expensive Disk Drives

Following a previous post, this is an examination of the causes of the collapse in IBM's Mainframe DASD (Direct Access Storage Device) business, from an 80% share of an $11.B market in 1990, to ~25% a decade later. (Source PDF). Notably, IBM's DASD business wasn't the only line to suddenly collapse: the Mainframe business as a whole collapsed, creating a loss across the whole business, the first since 1914.


RAID++: What invention or change is needed now to take us the next 25 years?

For an industry, digital data storage, that's seen disruptions every 25 years, we're either overdue for one or The Next Revolution has arrived, but nobody's noticed.

What will the Next Big Thing in Storage look like? What, if anything, will succeed RAID, if it hasn't already? Are their lessons we can learn by examining the last big disruption circa 1990 in Storage: RAID arrays?

The one certain lesson from 1955 and 1990 is that nobody can guess, not even remotely, what Data Storage will look like in 25 years time. Any prediction of the 2040 market will be wildly inaccurate, but we can talk about current market forces and technologies and where the trends point for the next 5 and 10 years.