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News   News : CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup needs?
   posted by _Steve_ on 2-Sep-2003 10:23:51 (3212 reads)
Keeping data CDs in the dark for two years isn't a good idea. According to the Dutch magazine PC Active some CD-Rs degrade in months, even at room temperature without sunlight.

PC Active tested data disks from 30 manufacturers that were recorded 20 months ago. Several data CDs developed serious errors, or became virtually unreadable.

A graphic shows what can happen when CD-Rs are left too long in the drawer. The colours of the CD-R on the right indicate the severity of the errors; white specifies that the disk can be read well, red that it can't be read.

Some manufacturers claim that their CDs are good for at least 10 years, if you keep them out of the sunlight. Some even say that their CDs will last up to a century; but the Dutch test seems to suggest that CD-R is the wrong medium to store photos, music or data files for posterity. It makes you wonder how the various DVD disk formats stack up.

PC Active believes that different dye systems used for CD-R disks are the root of the evil. Some dyes are more stable than others. The most stable dyes are used primarily in premium brands. A combination of heat and light and marginal drives also contributes to the deterioration. Higher recording speeds are not the issue.

PC Active tested 30 brands, some of them sold exclusively through a Dutch chemist chain. Unfortunately, the article seems to focus on white label CD-Rs, and doesn't mention any premium brands that performed well.

TheRegister
    

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Anonymous 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 10:43:09
# ]



The level of error correction CD-R's have make them a bad choice for backing up anything important. Why? Because its possible to produce a very bad copy thats riddled with errors that will seem to read correctly; that is until the disc starts to degrade over time (or use) and the error correction is no longer strong enough to make a difference..

Tape media however has a shelf life of 30 years or so in some cases and doesn't really degrade unless it's used excessively.. and with Seagate 20 gig capable drives coming in at just over 160 quid OEM its not as expensive anymore.

I wouldn't trust harddrives with important data either going by the truely awful quality of drives these days.

 
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DaveyD 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 11:56:15
#2 ]
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Joined: 5-Jun-2002
Posts: 2737
From: Belfast, N.Ireland

Quote:
...20 gig capable drives coming in at just over 160 quid


Hmmm you can get 120Gig for under 100


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trgse 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 13:27:02
#3 ]
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Joined: 11-Mar-2003
Posts: 315
From: tellus

bull... show me anyone selling a 120 Gig Tape Drive for under 100 and I will show you

1) a liar
2) a person fencing stolen property


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_Steve_ 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 13:33:57
#4 ]
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Joined: 18-Oct-2002
Posts: 6782
From: UK

Quote:
Poster: DaveyD Date: 2-Sep-2003 11:56:15
Quote:

...20 gig capable drives coming in at just over 160 quid

Hmmm you can get 120Gig for under 100


He was of course referring to a 20GB tape drive DD

However, when I looked into Tape Drives as a backup medium, I found them to be very expensive, moreso than purchasing several HDs to store data on, especially given that to back up 200GB of data to tape would be far more costly than to get several HDs of any size.


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Nybbler 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 13:58:26
#5 ]
Member
Joined: 11-Mar-2003
Posts: 21
From: Hampshire, UK, but my heart's in Kernow

@_Steve_

Quote:
However, when I looked into Tape Drives as a backup medium, I found them to be very expensive, moreso than purchasing several HDs to store data on, especially given that to back up 200GB of data to tape would be far more costly than to get several HDs of any size.


I guess it depends on your needs. If you're looking at having multiple backups to provide some sort of history that you can search through (for that important file you went and deleted six months ago...) then I guess the tapes are better.

We buy those 20/40GB DDS-4 tapes in at about 5 each, so we could backup a 100GB drive for no more than 25 (excluding the price of the drive of course )

@corpse
I'm assuming it was the DDS-4 DAT type tape drives that you can get for about 160?

Rob


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Anonymous 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 14:51:35
# ]



Quote:
moreso than purchasing several HDs to store data on


Shame that the current generation of hard drives are that poorly produced that they're life span ranges from weeks to 6 months.

I'm currently trying to get Quantum to give me a replacement for a drive that just died a month out of warranty (Warranty means very little as consumer rights doesn't specify any sort of life span other than what is generally thought of as acceptable, 12 months is not) and maybe pick up the bill for recovering data from it. Hopefully the "I'm not taking any sh*t" tactic will pay off, this is the second Quantum drive to go within 12 months :(.

 
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Chris_Y 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 14:53:36
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Jun-2003
Posts: 3161
From: Beds, UK

Hmm, I have CDs written 3-5 years ago - Samsung, Boeder, BASF, Black Diamond - and not one of them refuses to be read. They have all been stored vertically at room temperature in CD jewel cases.

Chris


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reflect 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 14:56:03
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 359
From: Gothenburg, Sweden

Here you find a 120GB "IBM GXP 180" drive for less than 100 quid. The price is in Swedish Crowns (SEK) and amounts to 1165 SEK (~88 UKP) including a 25% VAT. *cough*.. take away the VAT and we have 932 SEK (~70 UKP).

Surely it is not more expensive in the UK?


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Anonymous 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 14:59:42
# ]



Quote:
Here you find a IBM drive for less than 100 quid. The price is in Swedish Crowns (SEK) and amounts to 1165 SEK (~88 UKP) including a 25% VAT. *cough*.. take away the VAT and we have 932 SEK (~70 UKP).


cheapest 40-130GB Tape drive is about 450 UKP .. thats an ATAPI drive by Sony sold as OEM.

 
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trgse 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 15:26:50
#10 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 11-Mar-2003
Posts: 315
From: tellus

that's a HARD DRIVE not a TAPE DRIVE there is a huge diffrence you know between... let me hear it from you now.... a .... ..... and a .... .....

so again... if you find a (edit:) 120 Gig TAPE DRIVE for under 100 you are dealing with stolen property...

again... a TAPE DRIVE is NOT a HARD DRIVE

1st diffrence: a TAPE DRIVE stores data on a TAPE
a HARD DRIVE stores data on a DISK

2nd diffrence: a TAPE DRIVE is (usually) not a Random Access Device a HARD DRIVE is

usually for there has been some (rather poor) atempts at Random Access Filesystems for Tape Drives.


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Brian 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 15:57:59
#11 ]
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Joined: 29-Apr-2003
Posts: 238
From: Sweden

I'm sure refelct missed the fact that you where talking about a tapedrive and I'm sure he knows the difference between Tape and HD. No need to act stupid.


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_Steve_ 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 16:08:47
#12 ]
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Joined: 18-Oct-2002
Posts: 6782
From: UK

Reflect was I believe replying to DaveyDs comment about 120GB for under 100, when in fact DD was referring to a HD, and the comment above was about Tape drives So you can all blame DD - it was his fault


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_Steve_ 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 16:12:51
#13 ]
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Joined: 18-Oct-2002
Posts: 6782
From: UK

Quote:
Poster: Chris_Y Date: 2-Sep-2003 14:53:36

Hmm, I have CDs written 3-5 years ago - Samsung, Boeder, BASF, Black Diamond - and not one of them refuses to be read. They have all been stored vertically at room temperature in CD jewel cases.

Chris


Likewise, but I believe you'll find the article tested unbranded types as opposed to named brands, which again only claim safe storage up to in some cases 10 years or so. Others claim 100 years, but whether that is true remains to be seen. Also, the dye used to colour the recordable side also seems to play a part in the lifespan of the media. However, at the end of the day, it would appear that it is still prudent to have your data/files backed up on more than one form of media as nothing is 100% reliable.


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Darrin 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 17:48:03
#14 ]
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Joined: 14-May-2003
Posts: 1941
From: Lake Charles, USA

I guess I should point out that a "true" backup method involves the "Grandfather, Father, Son" method of backing up which means that you keep THREE backups of your data overwite the oldest version each time you make a new backup. The result is that even if your latest backup fails then you still have the previous one before that to fall back on... and if that's buggered too then you have yet another one. Of course, if all 3 fail then you must be the unluckiest man in the world

Considering the cost of tapes drives and the amount of time they take to complete a backup, my preferred method would be a removable hard drive installed in a system as "d:" with 3 trays complete with suitably sized 3.5" drives.

Personally, I use my home network to copy my critical files between several PC's so I have identical copies of my data on several hard drives...

I also have not so fond memories of backing up my original Amiga hard drive once to over a hundred floppy disks.... arrrrgggghhhh!!!!!


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BrianHoskins 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 18:13:56
#15 ]
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Joined: 4-Jan-2003
Posts: 726
From: South Wales, UK

Quote:
Hmm, I have CDs written 3-5 years ago - Samsung, Boeder, BASF, Black Diamond - and not one of them refuses to be read. They have all been stored vertically at room temperature in CD jewel cases.


It's all about the quality of the discs really I think Chris. Back 3-4 years ago, a single CDR disc would have cost you a lot more than it does now. Prices have been forced down quite substantially, but consumers don't seem to realise or care that the nice cheap prices also mean cheap quality product. Consumers want it cheap cheap cheap, they don't care what quality workmanship goes into anything anymore. They think that because information has "gone digital" they're protected. No need to buy good quality storage medium anymore, "because it's DIGITAL".

In reality you still get what you pay for. If you buy the more expensive discs then they will serve you a lot better and will prove more compatable with a greater amount of CD readers, audio and computer. Buy the cheap stuff (I picked up 50CDRs for a tenner in Comet) then you can't really expect much performance from them.

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trgse 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 18:54:27
#16 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 11-Mar-2003
Posts: 315
From: tellus

actually no security concious company would use your suggested method for a couple of reasons
but the biggest is... never overwrite anything when it comes to backups, always use new media (and tape is the prefered option... much safer mechanically), everytime you overwrite a old backup you are increasing the chanches of the new backup being a dud... and then you might loose some very valuable data.


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Chris_Y 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 19:43:10
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Jun-2003
Posts: 3161
From: Beds, UK

Quote:
It's all about the quality of the discs really I think Chris. Back 3-4 years ago, a single CDR disc would have cost you a lot more than it does now.


Hmm, that's a good point, I think single discs were costing up to 5 when I first started out. These days I always buy CD-Rs that come with jewel cases, they are easier to store and protected. I prefer named-brand ones as well. My current batch of blanks are Imation, on a 3 for 2 offer at Morrisons.

But, yes, nothing is infallible, and as you say, just because it's "digital media" doesn't mean it's going to last (or that you'll still be able to get the data off or do anything with it in the future even if there is nothing wrong with the media itself)

Chris


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reflect 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 20:00:14
#18 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 359
From: Gothenburg, Sweden

@trgse:
Thanks for being so patronizing. I know full well what tapedrives and harddrives are, I've been handling backups that take care of ridiculous amounts of data, including replication between sites etc. I was replying to DaveyD's comment, btw, and it seems to have been a simple misunderstanding. No need to get all worked up. Shame that there are no way to see who you reply to, that I know of.


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Anonymous 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 21:35:46
# ]



Strange idea time.
Would it be possible to use minidiscs for storage?
Or am I just being a total loon who has no idea about tech type stuff?
Ie:, possibly they are not fast enough etc as I do not access to specs' etc.

 
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Opi-Poi 
Re: CD-R....Is it the best storage medium for your backup ne
Posted on 2-Sep-2003 22:43:44
#20 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Aug-2003
Posts: 28
From: Guernsey , Channel islands

@ DarrenS
Its not strange at all, in fact you could get mini-disc
data disks and internal units (from Sony).
But they never took off.Shame, I liked the idea of
them replacing the floppy disk.

However you can get MO (Magneto Optical) disks
and also DVD-Ram.They both offer the best reliabilty
security and portablity.

MO has been a proven technology since 1992 and is
used in such services as hospitals and banks
where data integrity is essential!

They offer 2.3GB - 128MB on a 3.5" diskette, which by
the way, the latter, (and up) are compatible with the
new drives.
Something Iomega has never managed.

They are still expensive, but they're reliable.
DVD-Ram is the nearest best thing, slightly cheaper
and more available.

CD-R's are ok for transitional storage, but not for long
achival type storage IMHO.

I work in a record, sorry, CD shop and know the perils of
that format.I did'nt help though when they advertised them
as indrustructable.A myth that customers still think is true!
By handling a disc you are exposing it to coruption (no, not
that kind!) but the containts of a diskette is kept away from grubby mitts.


Note:don't get confused between "MO disks" and
"MO storage automation" which are big server towers
and VVVVVVery expensive.


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