Phil McKinney from Forbes.com has touched on a topic that we are, needless to say, very passionate about, data storage. His article covers the major concerns with just how fragile CDs, DVDs, hard drives and other optical storage devices are. Not fragile in the sense that they easily break if you drop them or data is ruined if you scratch your discs, but the catastrophic degradation these discs suffer from simply being stored. Whether its in your office on the shelf, at home in a file cabinet or stacked in cases on your desk, these current optical devices are breaking down from heat, humidity and even light.
Month: March 2011
There are many terms that have overlapping meanings when discussing storing digital information. Terms like digital archiving, digital preservation, data preservation, and deep archiving are similar in that they area all dealing with the storage of digital information. In general, they are similar, but different markets interpret them differently. However, what is clear is that there is a big distinction between the terms “backup” and “archiving”. Backup and archiving are distinct, but they are not at odds with one another. Simply put, backup is a data recovery solution that deals with an entire data set were archiving deals with a subset of data that will be accessed at sometime in the future.
Traditional information sources such as books, photos and sculptures can easily survive for years, decades or even centuries but digital items are fragile and require special care to keep them usable. Rapid technological changes also affect digital preservation. As new technologies appear, older ones become obsolete, making it difficult to access older content.
This is the title of a BBC news article by David Reid, a reporter for BBC Click. This article discusses the difficulty of storing digital information on optical media such as CDs and DVDs. Where other recordable media wear out due to use, optical media fails randomly without this issue of physical damage, since nothing but a laser “touches” the disc. He also reviews what would need to happen in order to keep your data “alive” by rotating your media every few years. The feasibility of this is questions.
The U.S. Department of Defense Naval Air Warfare Weapon’s Division facility at China Lake, California is interested in digitizing, permanently storing, and providing access to irreplaceable information. The goal is to make content easily accessible to researchers and permanently archive the information without the need to store it in environmentally controlled conditions. Millenniata’s technology was of great interest because of the use of non-reactive data layers and backward compatibility to provide a stable, accessible, permanent storage solution.
The reported tests were run to ensure that the media would hold-up under the harshest environments over long periods of time. NAWCWD tested five different brands of archival-quality, dye-based recordable DVD discs and the Millenniata™ discs.