Memory of the Month: Racks of records

By on March 25, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

TapeLibraryEach month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.

This mid-1970s photo shows how GEICO stored policy records and other company information as it moved into the computer age. These IBM 3420 tape drives held about 120 megabytes of data. But converting from paper files to this type of data storage was a lengthy process; when I started at GEICO in 1984, we still had large areas of the headquarters building devoted to racks of policy papers in folders, in addition to racks of these storage tapes.

And it would be many years after that before these types of tapes went completely out of use – in 2004, to be exact. We still use tape storage, but our preferred tape these days is the 3592 JA, each one of which holds 1.5 terabytes of data. It would take 12,500 of the 3420 tapes seen here to store as much information as one of the 3592s! We still need shelf space for the 3592 tapes, but a whole lot less of it than we used to need.

Here’s another way to look at how far we’ve come: When I showed this photo to my pal Bob, who has worked in IT here for many moons, he said, “My cell phone has more storage than one of these magnetic data storage tapes.”

Data storage is just one example of the amazing technological progress we’ve seen over the last 40 years. Come to think of it, cell phones are another. Can you think of others? Share them in the comments.

4 responses to “Memory of the Month: Racks of records

  1. Dave says:

    Will someone please hurry up and invent the internet!

  2. Steve says:

    “99 IBM tape drives on the wall, 99 IBM tape drives; you take one down and pass it around, 98 IBM tape drives on the wall . . . .”

  3. Kyle says:

    Now where did that little green lizard run off to? He’s got to be in here somewhere.

  4. frank little says:

    Would like a e – mail for policy ending with 4488 10/23/12-04/23/13 thanks