Column store databases have several advantages over traditional databases - most notably compression and faster seek. Column store seem to be the new fad for databases in the past few years, with HANA as the most obvious example, but Microsoft and Oracle (and others) following suite.
However, the idea of column store databases are not new:
TAXIR was the first application of a column-oriented database storage system ... in 1969
Why has it taken until the last 8 years for column databases to take off? Surely compression in database was hugely useful in the 1970's when hard drive storage was not as dirt cheap as it is now (and faster seek never hurts). Is there another development in the last decade that enabled column store databases?