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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
quote:
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
quote:
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
debatable.
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.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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