This is topic Best digital storage medium in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.


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Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 30, 2018, 04:33 PM:
 
I am gradually getting all my old 8mm home movies transferred to computer files. Most of them are 8mm film, but I also have been digitizing many VHS and digital 8mm tapes. One thing I have found out is that the VHS tapes and the Digital 8 tapes still show no degradation even after 20 to 30 years! That certainly cannot be said of my DVD's, many of which are now unplayable after 10 to 15 years. Which raises the question as to which is the best archival digital storage medium, DVD's, solid state thumb drives, or whatever?
 
Posted by Ben Zotto (Member # 6619) on October 30, 2018, 04:58 PM:
 
There's a clear inversion where older formats tend to be more durable both from a physical standpoint (does the medium itself degrade) and a semantic standpoint (can I still usefully interpret the stored data using readily-available tools?). The former afflicts all mediums over time in various ways to varying degrees, and the latter is more poignant in the digital era because unreadable data doesn't just mean a staticky movie; it's unplayable. I assume your DVDs are suffering physical damage that's rendering them unreadable. Huge bummer.

If you could get your films copied onto stone tablets, you'd be in the best possible shape, but barring that: solid state disks (and and even magnetic disks well kept) are likely to be less vulnerable to the kinds of breakdowns that (particularly home-recorded) DVD/CD are. Periodic access of the disks is recommended to validate and refresh the bits. Redundancy is of course also helpful: perhaps a disk but a set of DVDs, and/or cloud storage, as backup. (The very serious data people still swear by data on tape as long term cold storage medium, and I suppose you could go that route but I'm not sure it's super practical for personal use.)
 
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 30, 2018, 05:04 PM:
 
Where can I get my films transferred to stone tablets? [Big Grin]

quote:
Periodic access of the disks is recommended to validate and refresh the bits.
Are you saying that periodic playing of a DVD will actually 'refresh" and repair the disc data?
 
Posted by Ben Zotto (Member # 6619) on October 30, 2018, 05:27 PM:
 
quote:
Are you saying that periodic playing of a DVD will actually 'refresh" and repair the disc data?

Oh, sorry, not the DVDs. I meant any magnetic disks, and possibly the solid state ones too but I'm not expert enough to say for sure.
 
Posted by Claus Harding (Member # 702) on October 30, 2018, 06:00 PM:
 
Solid-state drives, SSDs, at least eliminate the platters and other moving parts, and they are very fast when it comes to access times of the data. I have three of them in my PC, Samsung EVO series, and they have been great so far.
The jury may still be out as to how long they can last, but they are a good step forward compared to physical drives.
Claus.
 
Posted by David Michael Leugers (Member # 166) on October 30, 2018, 07:06 PM:
 
My SSD in my laptop died and upon doing some research, I found that they last on average not much longer than the standard hard drives. One expert claims that the only archival digital storage is via "M" dvd's. I don't know anything about it, nor have I seen any to my knowledge. I've seen lots of VHS tapes not last much more than 10 years. I've also seen lots of home movies last over 80 years and still going...
 
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 30, 2018, 07:18 PM:
 
Verbatim makes 'M' Discs which are claimed to last at least 100 years. They cost about $5.00 each.

https://www.verbatim.com/subcat/optical-media/m-disc/
 
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on October 30, 2018, 08:11 PM:
 
I’ve been transferring many of my personal films and digital stuff to the new M (millennium) discs. Time will only tell if it’s worth it...
 
Posted by Nantawat Kittiwarakul (Member # 6050) on October 30, 2018, 08:24 PM:
 
Flash memory seems to be the most practical long-term storage,at least for today's technology. No moving parts to wear out/get stuck hence no need to periodically access it. The limited read/write cycle should be not much of concern if it spends most of its time on the shelf. [Wink]

Next alternative is still conventional magnetic HDD,as long as you use it from time to time. My external hdd still goes strong after 4-5 years of use,since I keep accessing it at least once a month (to make sure that everything is still alright).

Forget DVD/BD - especially the writable ones,they'll most likely to go bye-bye within 4-5 years regardless of storage condition. [Frown]
The pressed-disc is another story,they might last only 5 years,they might last forever. Some early audio CDs bought since early 80's are still playing perfectly fine. Some DVDs bought less than 10 years ago already went to heaven. Go figure...

BTW some magnetic tape last much,much longer than I once expected. Some VHS recordings my father made since early-mid 80's are still very playable (a slight dropout here and there,but nothing major). That's well beyond manufacturer's warranty. [Cool]
 
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on October 30, 2018, 08:33 PM:
 
I’ve been transferring many of my personal films and digital stuff to the new M (millennium) discs. Time will only tell if it’s worth it...
 
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 30, 2018, 10:52 PM:
 
The big advantage of magnetic tape is that even if you get some drop out you can still play the contents of the tape, unlike the digital disc which can fail completely overnight and become totally unplayable. So from this point of view tape is superior.
 
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on October 31, 2018, 04:59 AM:
 
M discs sound really interesting, although you need an M disc burner as well.

I think the reality is that whatever digital storage we use, it would be sensible to make new digital copies every few years to ensure they survive.

Paul, your comments about unplayable commercial DVDs is interesting as I've never yet had a failed disc. Yes, standard writable discs have proved variable and not to be trusted for long periods, but not commercial DVDs (so far...fingers crossed...)

Perhaps climate makes a difference??
 
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on October 31, 2018, 09:58 AM:
 
Rob, it's quite possible that climate plays a role. Here in Florida we have had power failures for over a week during hurricanes, and the internal temperature of the house has been over 90 degrees with very high humidity. Not good for DVD's or film. Having said that, I have noticed that all my failed DVD's are from Warner Brothers collection editions, so quite possibly, or probably, the problem is really a quality control issue at the Mexico plant where these discs were manufactured.
Most DVD burners will also handle M discs with no problems.
 
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on October 31, 2018, 10:39 AM:
 
Paul, that does sound like an issue with specific discs from one source. Very poor. Have you contacted Warner Bros. about it? Might be worth a shot...

Sadly, my 8 year old PC with DVD burner won't handle M discs.
[Frown] So would mean a new burner for me.
 
Posted by Phil Murat (Member # 5148) on October 31, 2018, 11:08 AM:
 
Hi Paul,

I suggest SSD "Hard File" :

A) Strong point

- Best Reliability

- Best Acces time

- Faster writing

- Impact resistant

B) Weak points :

-Writing cycles limited (Not reading !!)
-Price
 
Posted by Ricky Daniels (Member # 95) on November 01, 2018, 06:00 AM:
 
M-Disc if you want your media to last, all other commercially available meathods have far shorter shelf lives! SSDs and HDDs will fail eventually... HDD (mechanical) and SSDs (have limited rewrite, overtime).

Rob, an M-Disc burner costs around £30.

Best,
Rick
 
Posted by Bill Brandenstein (Member # 892) on November 02, 2018, 03:12 PM:
 
Archival gold discs have been around in the CD and DVD medium for decades. The dye layer is supposedly ultra-stable, and the reflective layer can't oxidize since it's gold. I've never had one fail. Even some "standard" discs have lasted decades for me now. If "M" discs are a proprietary technology and can't be read on standard drives, you do NOT want that if you want your data future-proofed.

My advice is something like your financial advisor would say: diversify. So do optical discs, flash drives, and at least a copy or two on standard portable drives. Migrate and refresh every several years. Keep the source transfers as well as output files!
 
Posted by Ricky Daniels (Member # 95) on November 04, 2018, 06:16 AM:
 
Bill FYI,
M-Discs can be read by standard DVD drives, they just cannot be burned (etched) by standard drives... although, of course, that’ll depend on the quality of the read drive!
Best,
Rick
 
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on November 04, 2018, 11:36 AM:
 
All of this reminds me of several years ago when we had a national census here in the UK.

I was filming a piece about it (ok, digitally capturing it) and was taken to the top secret location where all of the data is kept.

The guy in charge gave an elaborate explanation of the ways in which the data was digitally stored and backed up...then concluded with the fact that it was also photographed and kept on photo chemical micro film as a back up.

I still recall his slightly confused expression as I laughed out loud.
[Smile]
 


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