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Old 01-31-2008, 08:43 PM   #5
GrassValley_BH
Demystifier/Analogizer
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Posts: 5,785
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As the accessibility of storage has skyrocketed in recent years, the subject of backup has become a real issue.
  • REV PRO, based on laptop drive technology, is an excellent means of archival.
    + Drop-able. Head mechanism is contained within drive unit, not cartridge, so the cartridge can survive shock and rough handling.
    + 30-year shelf life.
    + Easy-to-store form-factor (it's flat and almost square)
    - Cost per-gigabyte is high compared to hard drives.
  • Optical media such as Blu-ray
    + Extremely small form-factor (discs)
    + Drop-able (unless it cracks/scratches)
    - Slow to write
    - Actual shelf life of optical media is questionable due to degradation from light exposure and oxidation due to improper sealing
    - General recommendation is to re-record optical media every 10 years or less *
  • Magneto-optical media
    + Relatively small form-factor (think CD in caddy)
    + Drop-able (unless it cracks/scratches)
    - Questionable shelf life and availability
    - Really slow to write
  • Tape (data backup - DLT, etc)
    + Very cheap cost per-gigabyte
    + Stores well
    - Can break
    - Sequential access
  • Tape (digital video - miniDV, HDV, DVCAM, etc)
    + Very cheap
    + Slow to transfer (real-time)
    - Can only store video, not project data, other files, etc.
  • Solid-state (Flash-memory)
    + Long shelf life
    - High cost per-gigabyte
    - Small size makes it difficult to manage (at least until we start seeing flash drives the size of hard disks)
  • Laptop hard drives (2.5-inch)
    + More tolerant to shock and temperature compared to desktop drives
    - Still will not survive dropping
    - Price per-gigabyte not as good
    - Difficult to store properly
  • Desktop hard drives (3.5-inch)
    + Very low cost per-gigabyte
    - Shelf life is low, drives not designed to be left unpowered for extended periods - mechanical parts will freeze up
    - Requires extreme care to avoid head crash or worse due to shock
    - Extremely difficult to store properly
* I can personally attest to the degradation of optical media. I have both recorded and unrecorded CD-Rs that sat in an unused room, in a cabinet (so not exposed to light), and the reflective layer had oxidized (turns black then disappears leaving "holes" where you can look through the disc). This was in sealed boxes after only 8 or 9 years. Granted, the room wasn't thermal/humidity controlled, but still.

So what does that bring us to? Not much, unfortunately, short of a NAS or fileserver (live storage), or using Google's datacenter. :)
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