Optical discs for data archiving

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sanferno
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Optical discs for data archiving

Post by sanferno » 2016 Nov 12, 17:50

I've been reading many things in the internet during the last month about optical discs for data archiving in the long term. Can someone tell us their experiences? CD, DVD or Blu-Ray are the options, apart from capacity, I'm focusing on durability and reliability.

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nikos
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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by nikos » 2016 Nov 13, 08:56

I have a friend who makes millions from CD data recovery so there must be a problem for the long term :)
I personally use USB hard discs for backup, plenty of them, scattered here and there

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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by Kilmatead » 2016 Nov 13, 16:17

Optical "reliability and durability" are covered in pretty decent detail here... really depends on whether you're planning to live for another 5 years or another 100 years - and whether or not you have air-conditioning. Especially where labelling is concerned. :wink:

From personal experience, I can only say that I've "retired" plenty of optical drives in my time, but very few discs - excepting the usual "the dog ate my homework" excuse. On the consumer-side, it's quite amusing just how fast the physical medium (from a drive-perspective) has fallen out of favour - while devices are very inexpensive, I wouldn't expect them to be readily available (from your local Mom-&-Pop pc-hardware shop) for too many more years, though they'll always be produced on the enterprise-level - at least in our miserable lifetime.

There's interesting reading where the JEDEC standard for down-powered SSD's is concerned (just for fun) - though the medium is still too new for any truly practical empirical evidence to be considered. :shrug:

That being said, the Egyptians had the only proven long-term data-storage medium figured out millennia ago... set yourself up with a wee chisel, a few slabs of decent granodiorite, and Bob's your uncle. As usual, the old ways are always the best ways. Always.

sanferno
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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by sanferno » 2016 Nov 14, 14:18

More than a decade ago I used for that archiving CDs til 2005, then DVDs up to 2010. The problem started when I realized some of them where having usage wearing. Without taking much time to think deeply about it, I thought that they were no reliable and changed to hard drives. Since then, I've been using external HDDs for backing-up and archiving my data and they have work quite good up to this moment.

But since in May 2015 I had an issue with ransomware (which ended well due to my backups), the HDD method lead me to think that this problem could have also affected my archived copies. So it would be nice to use some other media as a third option, in wich case read-only would be interesting.

Optical discs came again into my mind. I think they could do the job, ever since my old discs are readable after 15 years in the older cases. Though I took good care of the discs in my first "optical era", now I realize I could have done it better. Also better optical drives could have better chances of read those "used oldies".

So now, after reading this article (specially references 31 and 32, this one refering to a French Goverment report), I think is time to adopt blu-ray for archival purposes. (fingers crossed)

K, thank you for the reference to that wiki! :wink:
Last edited by sanferno on 2016 Nov 14, 16:24, edited 2 times in total.

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nikos
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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by nikos » 2016 Nov 14, 16:22

how did you get the ransomware, email attachment or some rotten website?

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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by sanferno » 2016 Nov 14, 16:42

Didn't knew exactly what was the cause, but if I would have to bet on something, that would be rotten website. I removed the threat with Windows Defender but I had to get rid of all affected files.

That thing is never funny, but I was just some days after defending my PhD. If it would had affected my the final document, I would have cutted my veins. Thankfully I use to do my backup homeworks weekly and the infection only damaged a portion of a partition used for dealing with temporary files and other garbage.

I'm not trying to convince anybody to use optical but IMHO, though automatic backup is useful with HDDs or the cloud, it could end in a total disaster if you backup "ransomized files". Optical media give a more secure perspective, at least from this point of view. :wink:

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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by Kilmatead » 2016 Nov 14, 19:19

sanferno wrote:I think is time to adopt blu-ray for archival purposes.
Blu-ray is fine if you really require storing 50GB per disc (as opposed to 5GB for a DVD)... BD R/W drives are around 3 times as expensive as normal DVD R/W drives (€20 vs €60). Still cheap, no matter which you use; I've still got a 10-year old internal SATA Blu-Ray drive that works fine, so the mechanics seem fairly reliable (and they've come down in price significantly - 10 years ago that drive cost a heck of a lot more than €60! :wink:).

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Re: Optical discs for data archiving

Post by sanferno » 2016 Nov 14, 21:38

Yes, maybe that phrase of mine was a bit impetuose, but regular Blu-Rays are made of inorganic material which, theoretically, should be more stable than the organic compounds used on CDs and DVDs.

We all can agree that 50GB is a lot of data but, with the pictures and videos taken by nowadays cameras, that can be filled in less than five years, and for sure in much less if you are a professional. It all depends on the average size of the data we are dealing with, for instance my last 15 years of work reach almost 300GB... with uncountable hours of work. On the other hand and during the same period of time, my family pictures and videos collection is arround 575GB... and it takes less than a sec to take a glimpse.

So, what do I want to say with all this? Well, first I think that Blu-Ray seems to offer more stability, which sounds great from an archival point of view. And second, capacity, 50GB per disc allows me to place in one disc the equivalent to 10 DVDs... that takes 10 times less space in my shelves. It's true that you can lose more info in one time if the disc becomes a coaster, but at the same time you could have a second copy of "the master" and you would only need two centimeters in your shelves for two jewel cases.

I tend to think, as a customer, that all goods are expensive. We all want to pay less and get the most, but 3,5€ for a Blu-Ray is affordable. I'm not a rich guy, Geography and being in Spain doesn't allow you to make big money, but memories and the efford dedicated to work is more valuable.

And now I realize that I end the post the same way I have started it, talking about the way I write, because that last paragraph sounded also a bit emotional :P

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