Longevity of storage systems

  Muergo 12:29 03 May 2011

On another thread there was a discussion about which way to backup precious items such as photos etc.

An article published in "Science" assessed that Vinyl discs would last over 100yrs if kept reasonably, but pressed CDs last 35yrs, burnt CDs 10yrs, and most worrying, solid state memory also less than 10yrs whereas hard discs should last over 50yrs.

I was reminded of this by the recent recovery of the Air France Data boxes, the investigators said that the older "black box" based on tape has still been recovered and downloaded after over 3yrs whereas the latest solid state boxes were unreadable after 18months which is the case in the current investigation. In both cases there was sea water penetration into the boxes.

I am not suggesting that these extreme conditions apply to storage at home, but I am not using solid state memory for my photos, they are all on hard disk but then they said that the original film negatives or positives would last longer provided they had been processed properly especially last stage washing of residual chemicals over which I have no control apart from the ones I did myself.

So if you are transferring photos or music to digital storage, KEEP the originals, they may last longer.

  sunnystaines 13:21 03 May 2011

keep my photos on a partition on the primary hdd and a copy on another partition on a secondry hdd as well as a dvd. Safety in numbers they all cannot fail at same time.

  robin_x 13:40 03 May 2011

I just had a look at Science but could not find the article.

Do you have the edition number/date, title of article/paper or a link Muergo?

Sounds interesting.

I am registered but not a full subscriber.

  wee eddie 14:31 03 May 2011

Backing up to CD or DVD is pretty pointless, as a long-term solution, but is an acceptable way to post a copy of something, say an Album of photos at high resolution. On-line Back-up is really not suitable for large Files unless you have a really fast connection, by that I mean a connection that can upload at well over 1Mbps.

Memory Sticks are great for short Term Back-up of a limited amount of Data.

External Tape Drives are awfully slow but very reliable as they seem to have cracked the problem of Data Transfer between adjacent pieces of Tape,

External Hard Drives are probably the best available at the moment, but, you must have more than 1. 2 Drives seem to me to be sensible, with one kept in another Building.

  Woolwell 14:52 03 May 2011

I currently back up to more than one medium. My main back up is an external HDD (actually 2 - 1 has a daily back up and the other a weekly backup) and then I also burn to DVD's. I did find a couple of years ago, when I had only 1 external HDD, that some of the data on the drive had become corrupted. This was when I had to do a restore due a major failure on my main desktop. I was fortunate that I had a DVD of the majority of the photos. The missing ones I had original prints/slides and was able to scan in.

  Muergo 10:46 04 May 2011

Sorry robinofloxley, I get a headline list daily of subjects from Science Daily Technology and Science Daily Environmental and that amounts to nigh on a hundred a week of published papers so when I get a moment I'll try to track that particular one down, I have saved them all in a Windows Live folder so hope they won't get lost like others, but then I also have it on T'Bird but not sorted.

I'm getting fed up with the vagaries of Windows live Mail although I like the format so I'm looking to set up an entirely new e-mail address probably on a new ISP as well as I am also fed up with my 1.6Mb I get from TalkTalk, Virgin has just put optical in my road so thinking of changing, TT says optical is coming but I am getting too old to wait.

  wiz-king 13:28 04 May 2011

Should be fun when/if the file formats change and the hard disks and Cd's all become obsolete and we are all using some other form of storage.

  Terry Brown 13:43 04 May 2011

It is funny, when you think of it, that we call 'Long Term' 10 years, yet we have historical records going back Hundreds of years in the form of paper.

Do you remember a project from the BBC, I believe it was Blue Peter, where they buried time capsules for future generations, and one of the storage mediums was an 8" floppy disk (Best at the time)created using a BBC computer, now it would be unreadable, yet the Doomday book and Church/ Parish registries are still readable.



  interzone55 16:17 04 May 2011

Terry Brown

I think you're refering to a BBC Domesday Project that stored information on laser disc in the 80's.

The problem was that the images were stored on the discs as single frames of analogue video, because this was long before the development of JPEG and VGA video cards.

When the BBC tried to read the discs there was no available hardware that worked, but a company has now generated an emulator, so the discs have been read and converted to a format that can be read on a Windows PC - you can read more about it here and here

  Woolwell 18:49 04 May 2011

However there are many paper records that have been lost due to fire or water damage. You have to protect your back up data.

  robin_x 23:51 04 May 2011

Thanks Muergo. No probs I'll search those feeds.

Funnily enough I got an email from New Scientist which I thought might be the article. But it's a different discussion.

New Scientist Apr 23 digital legacy

Been rebuilding my PC all last night and today. Only just back online.

I am fed up with the vagaries of backups and recoveries that 'don't' and a hard drive that took 6 bloody hours to format.

Still all sorted thanks to the dictum of backups in several places. Data really doesn't exist unless in 3 places. I had a clean system image and recovery partition that both failed. DVDs worked. Data is safe elsewhere supposedly, but have to copy it all back and reinstall apps and make fresh backups.

Never mind 10 and 35 yrs, how about a few months? Rant over.

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