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Thread: What is the best storage media?

  1. #1
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    Question What is the best storage media?

    Hello. I am assuming many of you guys keep backups of large amounts of data. What would you say is the best media to store data? Right now I have DVDs and an hard drive, neither of which I trust. DVDs have their problems and hard drives are known for failing at any moment. Is Blu-ray any good? It can store large amounts of data and apparently they cannot be scratched, which I doubt is true but anyway. Even if they are hardier than DVDs surely they can decompose like their lesser brethren right? You know, when oxygen enters the disc and rots the reflective material...

  2. #2

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    Best? Hollerith cards, stored properly. That's my opinion. I've given up on optical discs. Currently I'm using 8mm video tapes. I'm reusing tapes that were written twenty years ago which are not all readable anymore. So I expect I'll get less than 20 years, which is about what I got with optical disks. The best thing to do though is probably just to use hard disks or SD cards and make routine backups, relocating the backup drives away from the source data.

  3. #3
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    Depends. After you look at what you have and decide what you never really use, has no real long term meaning, or can be downloaded again as needed and get a total data size you can go from there. Long term I would avoid CDR/DVDR/BR disks since they are easy to scratch, crack, bitrot (unless you have some pretty good storage methods). Anything you pick will need to be moved to newer media every decade or so.
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    FWIW, I never had a problem storing CDs/DVDs while exercising a little care. I archived my disks in a cool, dry place with jackets on and never stack anything on them. Some I've had for over 30 years and they seem to be as good as the day I put them away. Bottom line is I'm okay with them.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  5. #5
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    Final word - magnetic media with redundancy. Optical backups are the devils playground. Buy a big hard drive, fill it up. Buy another one, dump the contents of the first drive onto it. Do it a third time if you're paranoid. Cheaper then optical backups, MUCH more reliable. And FAR less labor intensive, not to mention time consuming. Do rudimentary disk maintenance 3 - 4x a year, scan disk, etc. If one fails, repllace it. There is no other way, never mind better way. This is the final word. A bit of wisdom that dawned on me thanks to Lutiana.

    I had read many years ago that magnetic storage was more reliable then optical. I chose to believe otherwise. I have grave regrets. I took every one of my CDs and DVDs, dumped their contents onto a big hard drive, and I ain't looking back. I tossed the carcasses into the trash.
    Last edited by 2icebitn; December 2nd, 2018 at 06:25 PM.

  6. #6

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    I'm a big fan of tape, and not too long ago tape was reasonable for doing backups. (I had Travan 4 at home.) It had a great shelf life and had reasonable capacity, but now with hard drives being so big that is not as true.

    Lately I've been using external hard drives. Hard drives also have a reasonably long shelf life; if you run them once in a while they will do scans in the background to find and rewrite weak sectors. To protect myself against OS or other corruption I use MD5SUM or use Zip files. Those are more for detecting errors; neither can correct errors. But that is what the other copy is for.

    Whatever you choose, plan on having at least two copies of it. I have two copies of everything I care about, and an off-site copy. And also plan on migrating to another set of devices after a few years. As good as hard drives are, they are mechanical and will eventually fail. Recopying (and verifying the data) periodically is kind of required.

    FLASH based devices are interesting because they have no moving parts, but FLASH bit rots ... if you leave a thumb drive sitting for too long it will lose bits. Plug them in once in a while and test them, at least to force the bits to be refreshed.

  7. #7

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    Granite. Though ten out of ten medieval monks recommend sheepskin.
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    Clay tablets have over 4000 years of proven reliability. Why not make the walls of your library into your library?

    Hard drives upgraded every few years seems the only reasonably affordable method for storing large amounts.

  9. #9
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    1/2" open-reel tape has shown to be good for at least 50 years, but the problem is having the equipment to read it--and the knowledge of how to interpret the data. 50 years ago, ASCII was not common, but for use by teletype. Same for punched cards.

    If you value it, regenerate it every 10 years or so. Shouldn't be a big problem--storage capacity of devices keeps increasing.

  10. #10
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    I use Generation 3 LTO tapes for maintaining backups. Each tape holds 400gb and we are now at a point where the tapes are cheap and the SCSI, FC and SAS versions of the drives are now under $100.
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