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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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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.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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