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Old 01-10-2006   #1
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Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

John Blau, IDG News Service
Tue Jan 10, 8:00 AM ET



Opinions vary on how to preserve data on digital storage media, such as optical CDs and DVDs. Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, has his own view: If you want to avoid having to burn new CDs every few years, use magnetic tapes to store all your pictures, videos and songs for a lifetime.

"Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD," Gerecke says. "There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more."


The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly used for burning, such as CD-R and CD-RW, have a recording surface consisting of a layer of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The degradation process can result in the data "shifting" on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the laser beam.


"Many of the cheap burnable CDs available at discount stores have a life span of around two years," Gerecke says. "Some of the better-quality discs offer a longer life span, of a maximum of five years."


Distinguishing high-quality burnable CDs from low-quality discs is difficult, he says, because few vendors use life span as a selling point.

Similar Limitations

Hard-drive disks also have their limitations, according to Gerecke. The problem with hard drives, he says, is not so much the disk itself as it is the disk bearing, which has a positioning function similar to a ball bearing. "If the hard drive uses an inexpensive disk bearing, that bearing will wear out faster than a more expensive one," he says. His recommendation: a hard-drive disk with 7200 revolutions per minute.


To overcome the preservation limitations of burnable CDs, Gerecke suggests using magnetic tapes, which, he claims, can have a life span of 30 years to 100 years, depending on their quality. "Even if magnetic tapes are also subject to degradation, they're still the superior storage media," he says.


But he's quick to point out that no storage medium lasts forever and, consequently, consumers and business alike need to have a migration plan to new storage technologies.


"Companies, in particular, need to be constantly looking at new storage technologies and have an archiving strategy that allows them to automatically migrate to new technologies," he says. "Otherwise, they're going to wind up in a dead-end. And for those sitting on terabytes of crucial data, that could be a colossal problem."

**I have about 100 burned CDs which are starting to act funny in my player...DAMN**
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Old 01-10-2006   #2
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

lovely
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Old 01-10-2006   #3
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

you fuckin bastards ! i got a alot of burned music cds too

you know what i like to do for my pics and arts ?
keep em on some removeable flash drives 1gig sticks go far
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Old 01-10-2006   #4
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Good idea blood red. I guess I'll have to invest in something similar. What hardware do you recommend?
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Old 01-10-2006   #5
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

I want to scream "noooooooooooo", but I'll refrain.

So what are magnetic tapes?

I've loaded alot of my cd's onto my itunes, but there are still alot of my cd's that are older then 2 years.
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Old 01-10-2006   #6
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Quote:
Originally Said by ablethevoice
Good idea blood red. I guess I'll have to invest in something similar. What hardware do you recommend?
well you could go dual purpous, say if you have a digital camera that uses removeable memory, you can get something of that kind

i like this one tho (good & multi-function)
im sure you could find it ONLINE for a hell of a alot cheaper....

other kinds can hold alot more data, but i have acouple of those and it works just fine.
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Old 01-10-2006   #7
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Three words.

300GB External HD.
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Old 01-10-2006   #8
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

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Originally Said by Blood Red
you fuckin bastards ! i got a alot of burned music cds too

you know what i like to do for my pics and arts ?
keep em on some removeable flash drives 1gig sticks go far
thats a good idea in theory. but keep in mind that if the tiny battery that keeps the memory chip inside charged goes dead, you loose all of the data on said disk, so its not a great idea for long term storage, short term is fine because your usb port charges the battery. as for demento's idea, i agree, but im saving up for a 5 Tb storage drive.

also: demento could you explain to me how to pronounce 300GB as one word?
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Old 01-10-2006   #9
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Quote:
Originally Said by Demento
Three words.

300GB External HD.
what? are you retarded? do you really wanna be carryoing that around with you?


lets think "small" here for a sec....
memory stick = carry it around in your wallet
external hd = carry it around in your backpack

do you see a differance here?
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Old 01-12-2006   #10
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

why do you need to carry it around? sure, you can have one of those usb flash drives for transporting pictures and such between computers, but you really don't need one for listening to music.. what we were talking about is portable, listenable music. Obviously, the solution to portable music is mp3 players. the only problem is for people who burn other data onto their own cds.

Question: does this only affect CD-Rs and CD-RWs? Or does the same problem plague video game cds, and music cds bought from the music store?
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Old 01-12-2006   #11
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

I'm more concerned with long-term archiving of data. Whether it's music, pictures or a backup of my critical PC data, I hate the thought of a CD only lasting a few years. Guess the best thing to do would be to invest in an outboard hard drive module and transfer anything I want to it and store that in my safe. Portability of data isn't as important to me as PERMANANCE is.
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Old 01-14-2006   #12
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Quote:
Originally Said by Blood Red
what? are you retarded? do you really wanna be carryoing that around with you?


lets think "small" here for a sec....
memory stick = carry it around in your wallet
external hd = carry it around in your backpack

do you see a differance here?
Unless you want to carry around 100+ CDs.... its also faster to transfer data from a firewire/usb ExtHD then mutiple CD's. Faster transfer rate, and no limit to the size of an individual file.
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Old 01-16-2006   #13
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

But hard discs arent really much good for longterm archive, they die randomly, usually after being transported, or after a few years the magnetic coating on the platters unpeels causing the drive to die a death.
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Old 01-16-2006   #14
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

Yeah, dg there's that, as well as the issue addressed in the article I posted to start this thread: the bearings and/or motor fails. There was a medium discussed in tech papers years ago which I havn't seen very much- the "magnetic bubble" memory. I don't even recall if this was supposed to be better than RAM, or standard magnetic storage, but whatever the case I think the brains in the computer labs had better come up with a true long-term data storage solution...and do it fast.
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Old 01-16-2006   #15
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Re: Data Storage Medium Lifespan

I dont really see it as something to get stressed about really, as more modern storage mediums become avalible you naturally move the stuff you care about onto it for ease of use and quick access. For example:

in 1990 I kept my games on my computers 20mb hdd, backed up on 5.25" fdd's.
in 1994 I got a newer computer with 3.5" fdd drive, so moved everything onto those.
in 1997 i got another new computer with a zip drive, so used that as backup, then cdroms as backups a year or two later when i got a cd-rw. around this time i got into mp3s and made about 30cdroms full of mp3 albums, when i got a dvd-rw 4 years ago i put everything onto DVDs as it was easer having 6dvds rather than 30cds.

Im sure that whenever the next format comes out everything I care about will migrate slowly onto those, what I find more of a problem is when I have an unexpected hdd failure (like when i came back from uni last summer) and I havnet backed stuff up for a while, loosing music or films is annoying, but loosing 2 years worth of photos from uni is irreplaceable.
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