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Thread: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

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    Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Okay, I've had it with juggling "cheap" external hard drives, and after having one go down on me, a second with fan malfunction right out of the box, and so on and so on, I'm going to make the plunge for a hard drive array.

    I have the option of installing a blu-ray reader/writer in one of the bays (I'll probably go for a Raid 1 and a JBOD in the other 3). Seems like a good option for archiving, though the initial cost is high and the Delkin 200 year discs are running around $25 each. But I like the idea of burning and then sticking away in a fire proof chest.

    So any thoughts on this medium? Will it be around 100 years from now let alone 10? Anyone else using this or considering?

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    My only thought on it a few months back when I considered it was that BluRay was still more expensive per Gig than conventional hard drives by a factor of 2 to 3 times.

    As for longevity, I suspect anything we are using today will be readable in 10 or 20 years, though may require some kind of port replicator. Certainly with hard drives there will be some form of simple adaptive technology around to read IDE and SATA quite a while --- at least long enough you'll have time to convert it over to whatever the newest thing is.

    And of course when that day comes, whatever storage solution you are then converting will be worthless. Which brings me back to why I generally opt for the most-efficient--least-expensive means available now... And right now, that is hard drives.

    And that hard drive cases and hard drives themselves fail means some sort of redundancy is paramount, and depending on the total amount of data you need to maintain, it is likely a RAID 1 or RAID 5 solution should be part of that strategy. (At least philosophically speaking, I submit that any storage media backed up to any other storage media is still a "RAID 1" solution.)

    Which brings me to why I chose the DROBO unit, a device that does automatic/intelligent RAID 1 and/or 5 as needed. See the DROBO thread for full details...

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    What's the price progression on BD drives and media?

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    BD-RW drives are dropping fast as the ability to crank out blue laser diodes is becoming more efficient. The industry was sort of "holding its breath" waiting for the BD/HD-DVD jihad to resolve itself (which has happened). Whereas BD-R drives that used to cost well over $700 USD a year ago can be had for as little as $242 USD (according to pricewatch.com). BD-R media hasn't lowered so dramatically yet, with a low of $7.99/25GB disc (write once) and RW media in the $34.99 range (more for dual layer - 50 GB). This will be coming down too.
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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    My first post here. But computer technology is my business.

    I had been thinking for a long time that BluRay would be the next storage option. But in reality it is not. The media is expensive and the drives are slow writing to the potential size of the drives would be very long.

    You would be much better off buying hard drives, multiple hard drives or DROBO etc. they are so cheap now. A 500GB 2.5" in an enclosure is less than $300, a bare 1 Terrabyte drive is less than $200.

    Back up often, have an offsite backup, have at least 3 copies of everything for the ultimate safety. Migrate data every 2-4 years too.

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    I just completed transferring 1.6 Terabytes of additional data to my Drobo 4 TB USB-2 unit, which leaves me a little over 2 TB of storage left. This Drobo has swallowed 7 different Hard Drives worth of data ... HDs which I then put up on a shelf as back-up.

    I am now ordering a second FW800 Drobo with 4 TB more storage. I will use it to transfer something like 1000 CDs and DVDs.

    Drobos are slow transferring data from other storage devices which I could care less about since I just set it to transfer overnight and go to bed ... or let it do its thing in the background while doing other work.

    Retrieving data is plenty fast. And transfering data from the computer desktop seems just as fast as any other HD.

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Well my theory is there will always be hard drives and 10 years from now i can still get my data. CD, DVD and Blue ray. Just like 8 track , cassettes and such may not be around in 10 years. Hard drives will or at least access to our drives will. My mode is load them up and than store the drive for backup and use later on when needed. 1TB drive is 160 bucks or less. I have 6 drives in my MacPro, yes I cheated but i can pull one out in 10 seconds and replace with a new one. And just file the old one. I do make DVD's for clients and make a extra final copy for me but that is it.
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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    I am in the HD camp also. I started burning DVDs, mainly for offsite storage, but the sheer volume of them is a pain. That, and though the physical disk may last 200-300 years (like we will ever be able to test THAT claim), the actual media layer is prone to deterioration. BluRay is not the same, but nobody has done any believable longevity studies on it yet. And, as Guy mentions, the devices to read these will be more of a problem over time. HDs, on the other hand, are the cheapest per GB right now, way faster than any burning and reading, can be plugged in or unplugged to lots of devices, and will be a whole lot easier to keep the rolling update or migration to a new type of storage over time.

    Just have several copies of things, store one set off-site, and keep the rest accessible for use as needed. The DROBO units look interesting, and I may consider them. Right now, I run a couple of RAID 5 boxes for short-term and working stuff, and have lots of FW800 boxes for back-up, plus bare drives for archiving. The storage problem is not going to lessen with time, so best to just make it the most accessible for the long haul, and HDs seem to be the ticket for that. Nothing is going to last forever, and drives will fail, but HDs do provided the easiest and cheapest way to get at or store things, plus they are way faster than any other media except flash.

    LJ

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Yeah, I'm narrowing in on the Firmtek Seritek 5 bay drive array. Will probably do 3 bays as 1tb Raid 5 for working and two bays as smaller jbods for swapping out and archiving offsite. I'd prefer divvying it up over smaller drives vs putting it all on 1tb drives.

    Would love a new Mac Pro but just don't have the xtra bucks right now. I like the idea of swapping out drives internally.

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Charles,
    The only caveat with the internal hardware RAID is having compatible PCI cards that one could get the device to work on later model computers. I have a RAID 5 box now with an internal PCI card for my G5. It is blazingly fast and I love it. The problem is when I upgrade to a Mac Pro, I will have to get a new PCI card to fit that machine and then connect the box of drives to it, hoping that I do not have to reconfigure things and possibly wipe the drives. (My system is using a RocketRAID card, and fortunately, they have created a Mac Pro PCIx card to "replace" the PCIe card I now have in the G5. They also say that no drive reconfiguration is required, and that the new card will read the older drive unit as is. That is very important.) The DROBO is not nearly as fast as the hardware configured RAID arrays, but it has the beauty of being standalone to work on any computer, versus being hardwired through a dedicated card to a specific computer.

    LJ

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    LJ,

    If I could ask, what is it you are using now?

    The Drobo is an option I'm looking into also, though the speed thing is worrisome. I want to find one option and be done with it (for a while). Even if I do upgrade to a Mac Pro at some point if I have a good and fast enough external array then I won't even have to go internal.

    CP

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Okay the DROBO does look pretty cool. My concern is putting all my eggs in that one basket as the drives are not readable on their own.

    I think for archiving purposes including a one or two bay hot swappable drive along with the DROBO might be ideal. The DROBO as the main storage (both archive and working) and then transfer data files to the other JBOD and/or RAID 1 for offsite disk storage. Best of both worlds. Also that way the DROBO could be used for the most important files and those that you really never want to access again (but who knows?) can be put on the individual drive and stuck on a shelf for long term.

    How does that sound? Or am I missing something?

    Also, what do they mean by the ability to expand the DROBO? After 4TB where does one go? Will larger than 1TB be on the market anytime soon? Maybe a stupid question but have to ask.

    Thanks,

    CP

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Any good hard drive recommendations?

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Charles,
    Presently, I have 5 HDs crammed into my G5, a RocketRAID PCI card that feeds several single SATA drives (JBOD) plus a 4 drive external box configured as RAID 5. Additionally, I have a 4 drive ReadyNas RAID 5 unit that is connected to my gigabit network for access by any computer on my network. Beyond that, I have 5-6 FW800 dual drive units configured as single drives. These are for storage and archiving, with more planned. Beyond that, I have multiple FW800 portable drive units that I load with files/libraries as needed for use with a MacBook Pro in and out of studio.

    The drives in the various boxes are mostly Hitachi Deskstar drives of 500GB-TB. I also have several 750GB Western Digital HDs. The portable drives (2.5" notebook things in cases) are 160GB or 200GB Seagate and Hitachi, but I will be upgrading several of those to 320GB and 500GB 7200rpm drives shortly. All told that is a bunch of storage connected or easily connectable, mostly via FW800. I do not use USB2 connections, and have limited external SATA drives/connections.

    Not sure if that answers your questions or not. I am looking at the DROBO also, but not sure how I would use it yet. The hardware RAID 5 unit connected to my G5 is way fast at data transfer both ways, and that is my primary working unit. As projects get completed, they get offloaded to FW800 units for access or to bare drives for off-site archiving. The ReadyNAS RAID 5 unit holds a variety of projects and is used more as a storage device now, mainly for things that are not my main shooting stuff. It is still a bit of a hodge-podge of storage, but the majority of things are on drives that can be easily connected via FW800/400 to any computer I am using. The RAID 5 arrays are nice for on the fly somewhat redundant storage, but lack the connectivity ease (one hardwired to a specific computer, the other network connected with its own Linux OS, but not nearly as fast as the other or separate drives).

    LJ

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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    Oh, and one more thing.

    Any good hard drive recommendations?

    FWIW, we have a couple threads further down this section you might find interesting reads. One is a fairly large thread on the DROBO here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2560

    And here we talk about some performance tips and hard drives specifically: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2440

    Cheers,
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    Re: Blu-ray for archiving. What's the opinion?

    Thanks for the answers...and making my head spin!

    Wish I could just drop some bucks and have somebody set up a system for me! I think for now the DROBO seems like a good way to go. I've only been shooting digital for a couple of years now so not that overloaded yet, though I do have a lot of scans as well.

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