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Posted: 6/18/2009 8:40:22 AM EST
I really care more about compatibility and readability for the future than anything else. Anyone have a clue?
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 8:42:58 AM EST
I like ISO (mainly because I'm not that familiar with UDF)

Just make sure you make one disk with your ISO/UDF creating software on it - this way if you need to do a full recovery you can just install the software from disk and go to work (instead of looking for the software, your license keys, etc).
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 11:54:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/18/2009 11:56:19 AM EST by Floppy_833]
Originally Posted By No-Worries:
I really care more about compatibility and readability for the future than anything else. Anyone have a clue?

I tried using InCD for a while a few years back. After about a dozen additions/deletes, the disk allocation table would get corrupted, resulting in the loss of all the data on the disk. That could have been the disks themselves or that particular drive, but the same drive never had a problem making any ISO disks, even using the same CDs and DVDs. I stopped using UDF and never bothered with it again.

Also I would not use blu-ray yet.

My first choice would be an external hard drive that is completely disconnected (from PC and from its power) when not in use. The price-per-gig is around what you'd pay for any kind of good write-once optical disk, and a magnetic drive is a heck of a lot easier to do additions/edits to.

As to "how long it will last", hard drives can be assumed to hold data for at least ten years. I worked with some old business PC drives a few years back at a job I had. These were hard-drives that dated from the mid-late 1980's, they held 250-500-1000 megs, and yet ALL of them read and wrote 100% correct, as long as they hadn't already failed before being put into storage. I wouldn't be surprised if they still did even now (ten years later) but if you were given one you might have a problem finding a way to hook it up usefully to a current PC......

The thing about "media types" however is that they have come and gone themselves. 5.25 floppies lasted only about 15 years, 3.5 floppies and IDE hard drives both lasted about 20 years. So really, the most you should expect any consumer-level media type to be practical as an archival storage is perhaps ten years. After that much time has passed, there will be another newer media type that has far greater capacity and costs much less (relatively speaking). It hardly matters if a IDE magnetic hard-drive can hold its data for 30 years, because ten years from now, what would you have to hook it up to?

My second choice would be the MAM-A gold archive burn-once disks, but obviously these are not re-writable.
Also you would need to watch what is happening with CD drives; the first time you heard they were being phased out, you'd have to move quickly to a new media type. To a degree this is very-near happening already, as 1Gb flash drives can be found for $3-$5 in bulk, and jewel-case MAM-A CD-R disks cost $1.65 each for a 100-ct spindle pack.

(-Please note that I do not believe USB flash drives to be stable for long-term storage; they are only used here as an example of how media types get phased out of the marketplace-)
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 12:26:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/18/2009 12:30:22 PM EST by RR_Broccoli]
What is the data? How often is it written? What is the storage environment? What do you lose if you lose the data?

These are all important questions to have answers to before matching up a solution for your needs.

As a long-term IT guy, I'd say any optical media available today is a poor choice for archival or backup purposes. Unless you are just an old grandma putting quickbooks and photos of fluffy on it that is.

BY FAR the best bang for your buck you will get is a normal SATA drive (or a series of them) and a external top loading cradle. You can pop the drive in and out in seconds without shutting down the computer, the drives hold A LOT, and faster than anything else out there. Added bonus, you can make a hidden encrypted partition on the thing and not worry about losing it and getting your data jacked by some identity thief.

Cradle plus two 1 terabyte drives = $260 vs Blu Ray drive $180 + 2 terabytes of blu-ray disks ~$800.

AND you gotta mess around with a slow media type that needs babysitting.

The economics of backup with Blu-Ray are still very bad. If you absolutely insist on using optical, go with regular DVD. Blu-Ray is for people that want to make disks on their computers to play in players or mod their PlayStations (orget pirated games for same). It's not ready for backups yet.

IF you are worried about a regular drive getting knocked around, get a new SSD and external enclosure instead of using eSATA. (Though the price is not nearly as competitive yet.)

Don't mess around with optical for backups, one way or another it will fail you.
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