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New disc keeps your lolcats collection safe for a millennia

One of the things that most people don’t consider when they are pouring all of their digital photos and video onto a CD or DVD to save for the future is that optical media has a finite lifespan. In as little as three to five years all those photos safely tucked away on a DVD may be unreadable.

For those needing an optical media to store data or photos for archival purposes that will last much (much, much) longer than the lifespan of conventional DVDs and CDs a new startup company called Cranberry LLC has a new DVD that promises to be usable for 1,000 years called DiamonDisc. The disc uses standard DVD format, which means any old DVD player can read the data on the disc.

The DiamonDisc stores the standard 4.7GB of data that a single layer DVD can store. What allows the new disc media to last so long is that the discs don't use dyes, adhesive layers, or reflective materials that can deteriorate over time. The discs can also stand up to temperatures as high as 176 degrees.

Cranberry gets its claims of 1,000 years of viability from lab tests using the ECMA-379 temperature and humidity testing standards. Whereas the standard DVD has a silver or gold reflective surface, the DiamonDisc is transparent with no reflective layer.

The real catch with these discs is that you need a special DVD burner to be able to author them. The DVD burner needed for writing the special DVDs sells for $4,995 and includes 150 DiamonDiscs. The burner connects to any computer via a USB port. The company will also burn the discs for you for $34.95 for a single disc, $29.95 for two or more, or $149.75 for five discs.

With that price, the DiamonDiscs aren’t going to be that appealing to consumers. However, enterprise and government users may be intrigued in the medium for archival purposes. Cranberry reports that it is in talks with the U.S. Government to use the format for archival purposes.

Joe Beaulaurier, Cranberry's chief marketing officer said, "For the military, there's no heat, light, magnetic waves, or environmental abuse that will have an impact on these discs."

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penny stock
By tastyratz on 11/13/2009 11:16:51 AM , Rating: 5
worthless company.
Optical storage media is an economical alternative to other solutions. Archival storage of more than a current generation can be had for infinitely less with just a simple thumb drive - and it will be around as long as a simple usb port is.... which will certainly outlive dvd media.

outlandish claims like 1000 years just net you press coverage for investors, because they certainly wont be around long enough to even see their media outlive generic dvd-r's.

Anyone who buys into this technology is a fool, I cant think of a single worthwhile application at those costs.

RE: penny stock
By Boze on 11/13/2009 11:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. There's nothing here that can't be replicated by a high-capacity USB flash memory drive. Aren't there already 128 GB thumb drives available for around $395? Right now I have a cheap Cruzer II 4GB in my pocket that I paid $8 for at Wal-Mart. Its durable, its reliable, and every computer made in the past decade or so has a USB port. Optical storage is only good for archival purposes, and even then, large magnetic disks are quickly catching up. A formatted 1 terabyte hard disk holds 931 gigabytes of data. It takes 198 DVD-Rs to store as much data. A 200 DVD spindle runs around $70 or so. You can pick up a 1 TB drive from Newegg for $65 or so.

Now let's talk about data transfer rates. Even the fastest DVD won't approach the speeds of that hard disk. I'm using 4 of those terabyte hard disks I mentioned (Hitachi brand) in a home server. Moving files to and from the server to my desktop machine, I hit speeds of around 88 megabytes a second. That's a far cry from any DVD drive I've ever heard of.

Optical had its chance, but its time to let it die out like the dinosaur.

RE: penny stock
By geddarkstorm on 11/13/2009 11:42:36 AM , Rating: 5
Err, but NAND flash has a physical life span limit of around 10 years or so, before the bit cells lose their charge. That is hardly useful for archiving purposes.

RE: penny stock
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 10:58:57 AM , Rating: 3
Not an issue, it has always been the case that you read and error check your archive and put it onto a newer media even if the same type/tech media. NAND flash has the least potential to shelf rot from defect over that 10 years compared to most contemporary media, so regardless of it's finite steep drop-off in longevity it is potentially more secure during that period which is what it's all about, a reliable means to hold the data for the period recognized.

With conventional optical discs that is not so true, not only when we were led to believe 50 year lifespans but when we saw bad batches deteriorate in less than 2 years.

Never underestimate the effect of penny-pinching on what could have been or used to be a reliable media. I suppose that's true with flash based devices as well, you really have to take anything on a case by case, product by product basis.

Main problem with using flash is still the capacity:price ratio, since you can make so so many redundant copies on alternate media for the same total cost if the data exceeds a few gigabytes.

RE: penny stock
By William Gaatjes on 11/15/2009 3:50:53 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed. But fortunately there is a positive scenario.
Although most flash media have a data retention on average of 10 years, it does not mean that flash or eeprom can hold data longer... It depends on the process used and the materials. For all those SSD drives and usb flashsticks , flash writes need to be fast. The issue is, you want to write fast and be more prone to errors or you want to your data to be save and have low write speeds. Reading data to has it's influence but less then high write speeds.
I myself do not bet on using flash media as a backup device. I have tried it as a test next to a common HDD. And the flash device failed. And it is not the only time i have seen this. Many people will come with calculations of possible failure. But i have reality on my side. Low density flash is almost indestructible , high density flash memory is certainly not.

There is an endurance failure and a data retention failure.
The gate oxide wears out when used. The gate oxide of the floating gate accumulates electrons during every write /erase action. After a while a 1 or 0 written will still give the same result back. And the insulator is not a perfect insulator, leaking electrons over time. This means that the charge on a function floating gate is leaking away. This all get's much worse when the process get's smaller. When a microcontroller with 256 kB of flash memory can retain it's data for 25 years i believe it can. But a high density flash memory of a few Gigabyte build on a modern process ? No, not unless you are willing to pay for physical reliability. With wear leveling algorithms and error detection/correction algorithms you can do only so much. Until all programs and windows itself can be modified to write only to specified mass storage as of my choosing, i do not need an SSD. For every temp file written there must be an option to where that file will be written.

RE: penny stock
By Alexstarfire on 11/13/2009 6:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
You can get 200 DVDs for under $40. Not sure where you get this $70 from.

RE: penny stock
By drycrust on 11/14/2009 2:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree as well. If one considers what electrical technology we use today that is unchanged with that used 100 years ago, about the only thing is the incandescent light bulb. In addition, when we consider what doesn't need any maintenance, about the only thing so far to have reliably lasted 100 years is the wiring.
If we ask what has lasted reliably unmaintained over 1000 years and that the average Joe can understand without the need to learn olde languages, about the only thing is visual stuff like sketches, paintings and mosaics.
So what technology do we have now that needs no maintenance, doesn't require special languages to learn, and we can reasonably expect to exist in 1000 years time? CDs/DVDs, flash drives, hard drives, cassette tapes, and VHS, will have disappeared creating another "Dark Ages" simply because even if the items do last, they need machines made of highly complex parts to extract the information upon them. Only photographs (if the paper lasts), sketches, paintings, ... and mosaics will be easily understood.

RE: penny stock
By Drag0nFire on 11/13/2009 11:59:07 AM , Rating: 2
Worthless company, but I'm now thinking of re-evaluating my archival strategies. 3-5 years with current DVDs isn't much. I keep a second backup of critical data (family photos, documents) on DVD. Maybe I need to re-burn the DVDs every few years...

RE: penny stock
By Dorkyman on 11/13/2009 12:21:10 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree with the 5-year lifetime claim. I personally have burned thousands of CD and DVD-R blanks, with many burned CDs now over ten years old. With all those disks I have had a few failures:

--many of the "GQ" CD disks burned over a decade ago failed within 6 months, with the surface aluminum flaking off in large chunks. No other CD vendor has demonstrated a similar defect. Moral: buy cheap junk, get poor results.

--Some of my DVD-R documentary videos burned onto Ritek media have shown a tendency to increase their read-error rate over the span of a few years when run with a test routine such as Nero's CD-DVD Speed utility. I have NOT seen a similar degradation when using premium disks such as Taiyo Yuden DVD-R blanks, available in quantity for about $.30 each. Moral: buy cheap junk, get poor results.

Ultimately I believe my disks will become unreadable over time simply because reading mechanisms will become extinct. Suppose you have a treasure trove of 8" floppies. How are you going to read them today?

RE: penny stock
By Mitch101 on 11/13/2009 12:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
I agree there what good is saving $3.00 on a 100 pack if you cant live without the data. I also avoid Ritek like the plague that stuff is severely over rated. Verbatims for me. The CD's I have from ages ago (verbatim mainly) that weren't carried around with me everywhere I go and stuck in every 10th pc still seem to work when I try them.

I'm all hard drives now. Recycling older ones like floppies/tape backups.

Pictures copied on my MC are cloned to my Wife's PC.
I sync pictures on my pc with my Zune.
My wifes pc syncs pictures with her iPod.
I have a 2x120 gig hard drives that I mount every now and then which have ghost images of both PC's and copies all our important cant live without files and pictures to them.

The odds of 6 copies going bad next to impossible. I should move one of the drives to my wifes parents house in case of fire. My wife also uploads pictures to Walgreens I think The need to burn to DVD is literally not necessary.

RE: penny stock
By Oregonian2 on 11/15/2009 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Taiyo Yuden DVD-R

I second the recommendation for those. They're also liked heavily among the folk on video production software yahoo groups I belong to (for burning customer DVDs reliably).

I use those, and burn them using a very slow mode on my burner for data as well as the few videos I've produced.

RE: penny stock
By donjuancarlos on 11/13/2009 2:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
No sir! When one speaks of long term storage, they are talkin about 100+ years. Long-term archiving is a huge deal, and there are many companies/organizations who will be looking into this highly accessible form of long term storage. Think of genealogical societies and libraries that store scans of mountains of books and periodicals. Many are still using microfilm or microfiche, because there has been no long term digital storage to date.

RE: penny stock
By Steve1981 on 11/13/2009 2:33:26 PM , Rating: 3
When one speaks of long term storage, they are talkin about 100+ years...there has been no long term digital storage to date

I'd argue that trying to develop "long term digital storage" misses the whole point of going digital in the first place: the media will inevitably come and go as technology progresses, but the data will persist because you can easily transfer from one medium to another.

RE: penny stock
By tastyratz on 11/13/2009 2:45:31 PM , Rating: 3
like previously mentioned, it would be like archival 8" floppies. who cares if the media lasts 1000 years when you couldn't aquire a drive to read it or a machine to interface with the drive 15 years later.

USB revisions are usually predicated around backwards compatibility. A usb interfacing medium would result in long term viability (you can actually read it years later)
also digital copies can be passed along to newer mediums across the years with 0 degradation. Try saying film can do that. flash drives have life cycles measured in decades of repeated writes. The only benefit to film is you would be able to just leave it alone versus any interaction.

RE: penny stock
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 11:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between "couldn't acquire" and "not for sale at every Walmart".

You can find 5.25" floppy drives, they just aren't at every PC store nor are they $10 like their successors are/where.

There is another option, plan for hardware survival. Don't use things like lubricants that degrade too substantially within 100 years, and pack away this hardware in temperature/sunlight controlled air-tight packaging. It's not all that far fetched, I relubed a 5.25" floppy drive with synthetic grease and oil and packed it away in a ziplock bag, inside a cardboard box.

It's not that I try to maintain data on 5.25" floppies anymore, but every now and then you come upon someone who needs to access one or see what's on a mystery disc before throwing it out. There's still the issue of mainboard support though, but given enough money to throw at the problem you can hire an engineer to build you something in the future.

RE: penny stock
By Googer on 11/16/2009 12:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
Um, flash storage has an average rated shelf life of 10 years of sitting on a shelf unpowered. In some cases under a controlled environment data stored on them can last 20 years or so but that's said to be the exception rather than a norm.

By Spivonious on 11/13/2009 11:08:11 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know anyone who backs up their data to optical media. With magnetic storage so cheap these days, most people will just purchase an external hard drive and use that.

In a couple of years we'll all be storing data in the "cloud" anyway.

RE: Eh?
By nvalhalla on 11/13/2009 11:18:45 AM , Rating: 1
Then you don't know anyone in the IT industry. Tape is ok, but it deteriorates and is a pain to work with. I would love one of these for at least a quarterly full backup.

RE: Eh?
By Yawgm0th on 11/13/2009 11:42:52 AM , Rating: 3
I would love one of these for at least a quarterly full backup.
The cost per GiB of these discs is $34.19. I work for an organization with relatively small IT needs, and doing a full quarterly backup using this media would cost us between $10,000 and $15,000 yearly. A larger organization with, say, five TiBs of data to backup would need multiple burners (never mind that there needs to be an automated version for it to be useful for backup and archival purposes) and the media cost would be $700,200/year doing quarterly backups. The media cost for Google at 850TiB would be $11.9m/year doing quarterly backups.

No, I don't see it as a viable archival solution unless the data must last a very long time and there is not very much of it. There are applications, yes, but the vast majority of IT departments would be wasteful to utilize a product like this.

RE: Eh?
By Spivonious on 11/13/2009 1:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Every IT department I know of and have worked for uses tape. When the tape deteriorates, you buy new tape.

RE: Eh?
By Spuke on 11/13/2009 3:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Every IT department I know of and have worked for uses tape. When the tape deteriorates, you buy new tape.
The problem is that the tape deteriorates with your data on it. And tape is typically only good for around 3 writes and must be kept in a controlled environment in order for the data to be reliable. Most medium to large IT departments use hard disk backups nowadays. They're not that much money and are scalable. A hard drive dies, you just shove in a new one, your drive gets rebuilt and no data is lost. Also, you can restore and backup in realtime. Something you really can't so with tape.

RE: Eh?
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 11:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
Careful using that word "most", because it isn't necessarily true. A backup needs to be kept offline, in a modular media type format not something where you plug connectors in.

You're talking about a better strategy for continual uptime on a server rather than it's backup.

Also, things can go awry with arrays, for many reasons including hardware failure before or during a rebuild, power surge, user error. It's suitable as one copy of the data but not all redundant copies.

RE: Eh?
By Mitch101 on 11/13/2009 12:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm with you. Current DVD media is dead unless its critical data but then a USB drive does nicely.

$90.00 for a 1.5 TB Drive
1.5TB = 350 DVD's if you can get the full 4.3gig on a disc
100 packs of DVD's at lets say $16.00 per 100 = $56.00

Ok Great its $34.00 cheaper to burn DVD's.

What went into backing that up.
DVD Prep 2 mins.
DVD Burn 4 mins.
Mounting, labeling, the disc and ejecting etc 1 min.
All best scenario type sitations and no bad burns.

7 Minutes per burn x 350 discs = 2450 minutes to backup 1.5 TB or 40.83 hours. Lots of manual labor to do this. Also there is the headache of trying to find the disc with what your looking for among the many when you need it when all is said and done.

Buying a second 1.5tb drive and doing a clone though software. 1 Step and done overnight. Can be rewritten many times over.

I'm with Spivonious that burning DVD's unless its just critical info is dead.

RE: Eh?
By Alexstarfire on 11/13/2009 6:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
For archival purposes there probably isn't a whole lot of use for it. Meaning if you're only doing backups and restores from them and nothing else. DVDs/optical media will always have a place, even over USB drives. Cost is certainly a factor, but another factor is that you don't need ALL the information at once. Sure, you can hold about 330 DVDs, by my calculations anyway, of stuff, but what if you need a couple files off the drive and someone half way around the world needs some as well. Can't split a HDD in two. Also it depends on files types. I use DVDs back up all my videos and such. Means people can use them on any DVD player in the world and they can use only 1 DVD at a time if they want. Simply no options like that if you're all on an HDD.

RE: Eh?
By jonmcc33 on 11/13/2009 3:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I do. I burn 4.37GB MKV videos to DVD+R and 8GB MKV videos to DVD+R9. I use only Verbatim media as I have found that to be most reliable. Unfortunately I have several hundred DVDs from Sony that are sporadic with the data recovery. I don't want to reburn each one so I might just go to external hard drives. Even then there is risk of a drive failing and I don't want to lose 1TB worth of data at a time. So in the long run my plan will be a NAS with at least a RAID 5 array.

Magnetic tape storage is cheap but the drives cost an arm and a leg. An 800GB tape drive is $45 or so but the drives are in the $1800+ range.

By R6Raven on 11/13/2009 10:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
$5,000 for the burner! That's just a little obscene if you ask me. And although "there's no heat, light, magnetic waves, or environmental abuse that will have an impact on these discs," I have come across MANY people who have a unique talent for scratching CDs/DVDs beyond usability.

RE: Expensive!
By Denithor on 11/13/2009 11:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
If you consider that you get 150 discs with the burner it's not quite so bad.

150 x $30 (cost of each disc if they burn it for you) = $4500

So the burner itself "only" costs you $500 assuming you needed 150 discs burned anyway.

RE: Expensive!
By Mitch101 on 11/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Expensive!
By Steve1981 on 11/13/2009 12:57:25 PM , Rating: 5
Now all your stuff is on a disc you cant read.

Any DVD drive can read their media. You just need their drive to write to it.

RE: Expensive!
By Mitch101 on 11/13/2009 1:36:35 PM , Rating: 1
Ahh didnt catch that thanks. Also followed through the link this time to read the main article.

RE: Expensive!
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 11:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it is, but to some the data is worth so much more than that, it is a small % of operating budget.

Permanent Porn
By amanojaku on 11/13/2009 11:30:17 AM , Rating: 5
Our legacy to the Universe, long after were gone.

RE: Permanent Porn
By marvdmartian on 11/14/2009 9:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
Hopefully they won't burn regular movie dvd's on these disks. If they do, then the MPAA will have a law passed that says you can't legally inherit movies from someone when they die, unless you pay another licensing fee!

RE: Permanent Porn
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 11:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
Unnecessary law, they already claim you can't burn the movies at all, whether the owner has a licensed original or not.

what kind of pricing is that...
By Gnarr on 11/13/2009 11:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
The company will also burn the discs for you for $34.95 for a single disc, $29.95 for two or more, or $149.75 for five discs.

So it is less expensive getting two disks burned, than it is to have one, and way more expensive having 5 disks burned at a time than it is to have 6 disks burned two at a time in three sessions? weird...

By namechamps on 11/13/2009 11:55:57 AM , Rating: 3

Single disc = $34.95
2-4 discs = $29.95 EACH

5 discs = $149.75 = $29.95 ea
Not sure why they have a 5 pack = exact same prices as 2-4 discs.

By diego10arg on 11/13/2009 12:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it should be 29.95 each.

Btw, what's the point on saying "$29.95 for two or more, or $149.75 for five discs ." (149.75/5 = 29.95)

I wonder how did they tested the 1k year lifetime...

Quite true, however....
By Shadowself on 11/13/2009 11:45:10 AM , Rating: 3
However, enterprise and government users may be intrigued in the medium for archival purposes. Cranberry reports that it is in talks with the U.S. Government to use the format for archival purposes.

Believe it or not, (look it up if you don't believe it) there is a U.S. Government regulation on the books that requires the satellite remote sensing industry to archive their data streams indefinitely (effectively forever) and the same organization requires their internal remote sensing data to have the same storage maintenance. At a current generation remote sensing satellite having a downlink of 800+ Mbps (yes, you read that right...800+ Mbps) an up to 14 minute pass, done up to 30times a day, this could amount to 2.5 TB each day per satellite. Even a slow day can have half this amount. Some of these commercial organizations have multiple satellites up. And as with everything else data collection rates are only increasing.

The U.S. Government has even more. Over the course of a year these organizations are not going to add a couple HDDs per day to keep up. They are going to store it in the longest duration media they can get their hands on. If this company can get their storage per disk up to the Blu-ray densities or greater (~ 50 GB or more per disk -- or even Blu-ray's theoretical peak of ~ 200 GB per disk) then these organizations will be really interested!

With that much data and a requirement for "forever" storage (I know, such a concept and legal requirement is stupid) this type of media makes sense. You don't want to be re-writing all that media every 3-5 years (even if you keep them in a very controlled environment). After 10 or 15 years you'd spend more money on maintaining the archive than on the data collection itself.

RE: Quite true, however....
By dagamer34 on 11/13/2009 11:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
That means in theory you have a lot of data, but it's almost impossible to search through it. Great.

RE: Quite true, however....
By pkoi on 11/15/2009 12:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
We search through it everyday with google earth, WorldWind, ect , ect

Not data transmissions satellite

read only
By coversyl on 11/13/2009 11:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
The big advantage an optical disk has for archive over (say) usb thumb drives is that it is read-only once burned, ie once you archive then that archive cannot be changed

RE: read only
By mindless1 on 11/14/2009 11:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
Is it a bit advantage? Given someone inept enough or willfully trying to delete/destroy/etc, they could do a myriad amount of things to an optical disk.

The key is always having redundant copies of the data, stored in a different place, different 'site, secured, etc.

dvd isnt so attractive right now..
By Silver2k7 on 11/15/2009 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
its an interesting tech.. but the media holds way too little space.. dvd-r are in the process of beeing phased out for blu-ray.

if they managed to get some discs that are good for 50 years, are alot cheaper and could store say 100GB-250GB then they would be on to something.

By FastEddieLB on 11/16/2009 10:02:27 PM , Rating: 2
Glad I'm not the only one to remember that bit about Blu-Ray.

This is NOT the solution!
By sarmour on 11/15/2009 3:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
If I was in the position of having to backup data for generations, I certainly wouldn't look at this solution! I'd back up to large HDD's that can be easily copied and duplicated at high data rates, and wait for a true, relatively permanent, high data rate, high capacity solution to show on the market.

This is certainly not it!

RE: This is NOT the solution!
By sarmour on 11/15/2009 3:54:01 PM , Rating: 2
And, just to clarify, we do HD productions and have many TB of data backed up for long term storage and reference...all on HDD's waiting for something truly better to come along.

By Sooticus on 11/16/2009 11:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
Every other storage media I can think of is vulnerable to EM radiation. With the exception of old punch cards and paper tape.

That means that the only major customer will be the paranoid and the military.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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