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The 305 RAMAC, the first Hard drive

Captain DaFt (755254) writes | more than 6 years ago

Data Storage 1

Captain DaFt writes " has an article that gives an interesting look back at the first commercial hard drive, the IBM 350. Twice as big as a refrigerator and weighing in at a ton, it packed a whopping 4.4MB! Compare that to the 1-4GB sticks that most of us have on our keychains today.

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My First Computer Install --- 1958 A 305 RAMAC (1)

JustPutt2 (916062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21652337)

I had just graduated from Marshall College in June 1957, and I was hired as a new Technical Representative in Huntington WV, by IBM in the summer of 1957. I along with about 25 others went away to their Basic Training School for over 6 months,,,, were taught all about their punched card accounting machines and at the very end of the school we were taught basic SOAP programming for the 650 Computer and finally programming and wiring for the IBM 305 RAMAC,, a brand new system.... with a disk drive.... As incredible as it seems today, there was NO Computer Science, Systems Engineering, Systems Analyst, Programmer, Data Base Admin,,,, back then. After several months of working with the IBM punched card installations,, I was introduced to the only computer installation at Ashland Oil Co.,,, they had a Card only 650 Computer,,, no tapes, no disk,,, just 80 column cards in and out.... The most complex computer application that was the lease oil payments to the various owners. In the early spring of 1958 I was assigned to the Browning Manufacturing Co. in Maysville Ky. About 120 miles from Huntington, to start working with them to figure out how to do all of there Inventory Control, Billing, Accounts Receiveable, and Bill of Materials,,,,,,, on this HUGE DISK DRIVE,,, The Data Processing Manager and I started out on the job FEARLESSLY,,,, we did not know any better,,, we invented random address schemes for the disk, and backup processes for power outtages, and a hundred and one little tricks to save memory or disk space,,, ALL resources were critical. We worked all year long and in late November we had our first trial and then our second and finally in late December we had it put together and running,,,, by this time the every manager and executive in the company was intimately involved,,,,,,, and cheering us on. We went live in January 1959,,, and 2 weeks later had a real crisis,,,, we had put TWO window Air Conditioners in the Computer room to keep it cool,, and in January,,, the temperature outside had dropped to close to Zero and the punched cards coming into the computer room,,, were just curling up, going into such an arid environment... and could not be read by the computer,,, All of a sudden we created "Installation Engineering,,,requirement. Over the years I have been responsible for many computer installations,,, but none was as exciting and as groundbreaking as that 1958 305 RAMAC,,, installation,,, doing all of the things it was advertised to do.... We had pushed that system to the utmost,,,, but it did it.....
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