Archiving Projects-- TAPE vs. DVD

Michael Torrie torriem at
Fri Feb 10 10:16:36 MST 2006

Ryan Simpkins wrote:
> Sorry, but I couldn't find any articles on people using hard drives for
> long term data storage. Maybe someone can. My suggestion is to stay away
> from it as it is not (at this time) a technology really intended for this
> purpose.

I think hard disks are quite valid as backup and archival media so long 
as you replace the disks on a regular basis. For example, buy new 
archival disks every year or two whether the disks have failed or not. 
Transfer the data to the new drives and then use the old disks to 
upgrade that old experimental server in the corner or something.

I think it is important to remember that all forms of media should be 
reviewed and renewed on a periodic basis.  You shouldn't rely on a tape 
holding its data for 30 years, but rather verify the tape every year and 
every so many years transfer the data to a new tape (maybe even a new 
format).  In this way you should have indefinite data longevity. 
Additionally having redundant archival copies of your data is the only 
way to really be safe.

I still have the contents of the 110 MB hard drive (running MS-DOS) from 
   12 years ago.  It's been copied from disk to disk as I've upgraded 
and migrated from DOS to Windows to Linux.  Now I just boot up the image 
in Dosemu to relive the old days.  I also still have all the old 
programming code from my teenage years.  The floppy disks that once held 
these files are long since lost to bad sectors.  But the data remains 
and probably will for years yet.


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