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Author Topic: Next step for archive storage  (Read 24763 times)
nemophoto
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« on: January 27, 2008, 01:57:39 PM »
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Years ago, I use to be able to store entire shoots (I often shoot week long catalogs, as well as advertising and editorial) on a few CD's. When those started to grow to eight or ten disks, I started using DVD's. Then, I migrated to DVD+R DL disks. Now that I own both verisons of the Mark III, I'm averaging 20GB/day in just RAW files. (I just returned from a shoot with 97GB to archive off a pocket drive.)

Has anyone explored the 25GB Blu-ray disks and drives? Are they worth it, or should I give in and buy more external hard drives? (I already have three that I use regularly for images I consider "active".) I thought of editing each of my shots down to 20-30 images to save space, but that's almost as time consuming as backing up the images. My thoughts are that the Blu-ray disks physically take up less space than yet another hard drive (as well as yet another power adapter on a hard drive, though it would only be connected while backing up). At the end of a year, that's a lot of hard drives sitting on the shelf.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Nemo
« Last Edit: January 27, 2008, 01:58:43 PM by nemophoto » Logged

Chris_Brown
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 02:20:09 PM »
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Have you considered a tape drive with backup software?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 07:55:57 PM »
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My thoughts are that the Blu-ray disks physically take up less space than yet another hard drive

Nope. By the time you put them in protective cases, even the slim ones, 10-20 Blu-Ray discs are going to take up more space than an 3.5-inch hard drive. A lot more.
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Farkled
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2008, 02:59:27 AM »
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I'm not going to trust any optical medium for more than a year and mostly not at all.  Same goes for tape.  If that solves your problem, then go for it.  Don't forget the verify process after a write to either tape or optical.
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2008, 06:00:13 AM »
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My thoughts are that the Blu-ray disks physically take up less space than yet another hard drive (as well as yet another power adapter on a hard drive, though it would only be connected while backing up). At the end of a year, that's a lot of hard drives sitting on the shelf.
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Nemo,
It's amazing how competitive these different methods of storage can be. I think Johnathan is right that the weight and bulk of current one-sided recordable Blu-ray discs is going to be greater than using the latest WD Passport pocket drives, but perhaps by not as much as he thinks.

I don't think it's necessary to put either DVD or Blu-ray blanks in individual plastic cases. I use 24 disc wallets with plastic sleeves. The wallets cost about $2, made in China, and when full of discs you have something about the weight and bulk of a novel made from quality paper.

My WD pocket hard drive holds 200GB, weighs little more than 100gms and measures about 5"x3"x1/2". It's a little beauty in piano black finish. It cost me less than $1 per GB. I see that Western Digital now have a 320GB model, similar size and weight, that costs around 80 cents per GB.

I believe TDK are selling one-sided Blu-ray blanks for about $20. 24 of them will give you about 600GB of storage and weigh as much as 4 of these pocket hard drives with about the same bulk. Two of these 320GB pocket drives will give you about the same storage as 24 Blu-ray discs, and oddly enough will cost about the same price, ie. $20x24=$480 for Blu-ray, and 600x80 cents=$480.

Net result; same price but double the bulk and weight for the Blu-ray discs.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2008, 08:58:50 AM »
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It's amazing how competitive these different methods of storage can be. I think Johnathan is right that the weight and bulk of current one-sided recordable Blu-ray discs is going to be greater than using the latest WD Passport pocket drives, but perhaps by not as much as he thinks.

Not when you consider that 3.5" drives are now available in 500GB and 1TB capacities. 40 discs, even if not in any sleeve or case or wallet, are going to take up far more space than a 3.5" drive, even in a bulky ruggedized enclosure.

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My WD pocket hard drive holds 200GB, weighs little more than 100gms and measures about 5"x3"x1/2". It's a little beauty in piano black finish. It cost me less than $1 per GB. I see that Western Digital now have a 320GB model, similar size and weight, that costs around 80 cents per GB.

I believe TDK are selling one-sided Blu-ray blanks for about $20. 24 of them will give you about 600GB of storage and weigh as much as 4 of these pocket hard drives with about the same bulk. Two of these 320GB pocket drives will give you about the same storage as 24 Blu-ray discs, and oddly enough will cost about the same price, ie. $20x24=$480 for Blu-ray, and 600x80 cents=$480.

Net result; same price but double the bulk and weight for the Blu-ray discs.

And that's comparing to 2.5" drives which cost more per GB than 3.5" drives. With 3.5" drives, the cost advantage swings in favor of the hard drives as well as bulk. Toss in the uncertainty of the longevity of Blu-Ray writable discs vs hard drive, and IMO the choice is a no-brainer.
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2008, 10:25:47 AM »
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Not when you consider that 3.5" drives are now available in 500GB and 1TB capacities. 40 discs, even if not in any sleeve or case or wallet, are going to take up far more space than a 3.5" drive, even in a bulky ruggedized enclosure.
And that's comparing to 2.5" drives which cost more per GB than 3.5" drives. With 3.5" drives, the cost advantage swings in favor of the hard drives as well as bulk. Toss in the uncertainty of the longevity of Blu-Ray writable discs vs hard drive, and IMO the choice is a no-brainer.
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I believe the 3.5" external drives which normally include a separate AC/DC converter and power cord would be both heavier and bulkier than the equivalent Blu-ray storage, but no doubt cheaper. At least that's the situation with my external 500GB hard drives, a LaCie Big Disk and a WD. They are each about as bulky as a 96 disc wallet. 96x25=2.4TB, so you've basically got twice the bulk and weight at probably half the price.

My LaCie Big Disc is heavier than a 96 disc wallet but I think my WD 500GB drive is lighter. But 2 or 3 of them, which is what you'd need to equal 2.4TB would be heavier.

By far the lightest and most compact storage would be the WD Passport pocket drives. They just plug into the USB socket on the laptop. But you pay for the miniaturisation.

When double-sided recordable Blu-ray discs become available about June this year, each storing about 50GB, that 96 disc wallet with the bulk and weight of a Photoshop manual (perhaps not even as heavy) will store a staggering 4.8TB. That should be enough for the most prolific photographer   .
« Last Edit: January 29, 2008, 10:40:40 AM by Ray » Logged
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2008, 11:23:18 AM »
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I believe the 3.5" external drives which normally include a separate AC/DC converter and power cord would be both heavier and bulkier than the equivalent Blu-ray storage, but no doubt cheaper. At least that's the situation with my external 500GB hard drives, a LaCie Big Disk and a WD. They are each about as bulky as a 96 disc wallet. 96x25=2.4TB, so you've basically got twice the bulk and weight at probably half the price.

You must have some pretty wacky enclosures then. I have a Buffalo TeraServer NAS with 4 3.5" drives in it that is less bulky than a 96-disc CD case. with 1TB drives I can have 3TB of RAID5 storage with protection against drive failure. And you're still not addressing the long-term viability of writable BluRay discs, which is a questionable proposition at best.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2008, 11:23:57 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2008, 12:58:00 PM »
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You must have some pretty wacky enclosures then. I have a Buffalo TeraServer NAS with 4 3.5" drives in it that is less bulky than a 96-disc CD case. with 1TB drives I can have 3TB of RAID5 storage with protection against drive failure.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why would you think LaCie and Western Digital products are wacky? The drives came with their own enclosures which are about the same volume as one of my 96 disc wallets, maybe a bit slimmer. If what you've got is similar to the products on this link [a href=\"http://www.beachaudio.com/Buffalo-Technology/Hs-Dh1000gl-p-120504.html]http://www.beachaudio.com/Buffalo-Technolo...l-p-120504.html[/url]
then it weighs at least 1.5Kg without power adapters, and I believe those contain just one 3.5" drive. Put 4 in the case and you've definitely got something heavier than a cloth, zipped wallet containing 96 Blu-ray discs.

But as I said, it certainly looks like the cheaper alternative.

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And you're still not addressing the long-term viability of writable BluRay discs, which is a questionable proposition at best.

I've addressed this issue, with regard to CD and DVD longevity numerous times. I've never had any problems, except with some burners that very occasionally won't read data written on a different burner. Changing the burner or using another burner has fixed the problem.

If you follow some basic principles of common sense, you should be all right. But of course there are no guarantees.

(1) Always verify the data after it's written.

(2) Store the discs in an environment free of strong chemical odours.

(3) Do not expose the discs to extremes of temperature and humidity and especially avoid leaving them out in the sun or baking in a car.

(4) Avoid using adhesive labels, unless you are very sure the chemicals in the adhesive will not react with the protective coating on the disc. I never use adhesive labels.

(5) Always use a soft tipped marker designed for writing on optical discs.

(6) If a disc fails that you know was recorded properly, do not fly into a fit of rage and assume that the disc is suffering from bit rot and that the manufacturer should be sued. Check to see if the disc reads okay in another drive or two.

I could add, always buy the most expensive and reliable media, but the fact is I haven't done that and I've still had no permanent loss of data, just occasional minor hiccups of drive incompatibility.

Personally, I think those WD Passport pocket drives are ideal for travelling light. I don't think you'll get 320GB in a smaller, lighter package. Just 100gms for 320GB of storage. Amazing!
« Last Edit: January 29, 2008, 01:06:57 PM by Ray » Logged
luong
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2008, 01:30:17 PM »
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Burning DVDs is a waste of time when the HDD are less than 20 cents per GB.
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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2008, 08:32:39 PM »
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Burning DVDs is a waste of time when the HDD are less than 20 cents per GB.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=170693\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You mean it's a waste of money. The cost of hard drive storage has nothing to do with the time it takes to burn a DVD. But actually, DVDs now cost less than 20 cents a GB.

However, the OP's question has been answered. Current one-sided Blu-ray discs do not physically take up less space than the most compact pocket hard drives, but the double sided ones would probably be lighter and more compact, but more expensive, than a desktop external 3.5" HD with power adaper.

Unless it's your policy always to have a back-up of RAW images on optical media, I think a couple of those 320GB pocket drives are ideal. When you get back to base, you can transfer the images to a more substantial RAID system, whatever.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2008, 08:24:56 AM »
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Why would you think LaCie and Western Digital products are wacky?

The 3.5" single-drive enclosures I'm familiar with are about the size of a 5.25" CD-ROM drive, plus the power brick. The unit I have is an older version of the Buffalo TeraStation, which is about the same height and width as a stack of 96 discs, but is deeper and of course rectangular, approximately double the volume, but has an internal power supply so no brick. It holds 4x3.5" drives and offers RAID5 drive failure protection and gigabit ethernet connectivity. Given the instant availability of the data (no digging through the discs to find the right one), the inordinate amount of time involved in burning, labeling, indexing, and filing the discs, they make little sense as a backup option.

Time is valuable, wasting time is no different than wasting money, especially in a business setting.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 08:25:21 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

luong
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2008, 12:09:42 PM »
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You mean it's a waste of money. The cost of hard drive storage has nothing to do with the time it takes to burn a DVD. But actually, DVDs now cost less than 20 cents a GB.
]

No, that's what I meant. HDDs are and has always been by far the most efficient storage technique, but when the price was so much higher than other media, one could hesitate to use them. Now that the price has fallen that low, no matter the price of other media, there is little reason not to use them if one values his time only a little bit. Time is money anyways :-)
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2008, 09:48:24 PM »
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Time is valuable, wasting time is no different than wasting money, especially in a business setting.
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No, that's what I meant. HDDs are and has always been by far the most efficient storage technique, but when the price was so much higher than other media, one could hesitate to use them. Now that the price has fallen that low, no matter the price of other media, there is little reason not to use them if one values his time only a little bit. Time is money anyways :-)

Well, of course. One can't argue with the fact that storage on a hard drive is more efficient. If lower cost was the only reason to burn to DVDs, then any current cost advantage of DVDs (Blu-rays have no cost advantage) does not warrant the extra stuffing around of organising folders into 4.2 GB packages and labelling discs.

A reason for archiving on optical media is to have a secondary back-up which one can store in a separate place away from one's studio, and more or less forget about it. A sort of insurance package in the event one's studio gets a direct lightning hit or burns down or gets burgled.

Whether or not you think this is worthwhile will to some extent depend on your past experience. Since I have never had the experience of discovering that a 10 year old CD that once was readable is no longer readable, I feel more comfortable having all my RAW images on DVDs. I don't feel comfortable about leaving a hard drive on a shelf for 10 years and then expecting it to work flawlessly.

On this current trip, I'm burning my RAW files to DVD first then copying the data to to my 200GB pocket drive before deleting them from my lapatop. When I get back to base, I'll probably confirm the fact that those DVDs are readable by transferring the data from them to my main hard drive. I'll then put them in storage.
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2008, 07:32:35 AM »
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The main thing I think, is not so much volume, but rather backup safety. If I were going to go HD, I'd go for a digital storage solution ( possibly, an expansible HD rack, with as much data redundancy as possible, electrically shielded from damaging factors ), not just record into postable HDs and shove into an archive. If you want to register stuff and store into an archive type storage, as you did with negatives, I think it's still safer to go towards media that can last 50 years.

I say that, because right now, if I had photos in an old IDE Hard Disk from 1998, I guess I'd have many problems reading it... it could fail, being so long turned off, like old electronics, it can go in the first motion after so many years in storage...  not to mention interface issues...

Going BluRay should mean re-burning all old CDs and DVDs into BluRay for the sake of compatibility.

At least, that's what I think.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2008, 11:37:33 AM »
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Burning DVDs is a waste of time when the HDD are less than 20 cents per GB.
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Well said...

Not only that, the current price of single-sided Blue-Ray disks is MORE than that --- $68.95 for a 10-pack at my local retailer (250G total), or roughly 28 cents per Gig.  That same dealer is selling 500G SATA2 drives for $79, or roughly 16 cents a Gig...  

For me, it's a no-brainer to keep triple redundant copies of all my images, mirrored pairs of drives onsite and a duplicate of each drive offsite.   I bought a simple USB2/eSATA to SATA drive adapter ($25), and don't even need cases for the duped offsite drives...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 11:40:34 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2008, 12:01:35 PM »
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For those that advocate HDs. Bear in mind HDs fail and can corrupt data before you realise.
I've lost images in a set like in post above, mirrored disks corrupted the data and even though it was backed up onto other discs, the problem still remained as the corruption was also duplicated. So at least with Optical data, you have increased your safety set. Shame they are too small + slow to bother with at present. I'll invest in a BluRay drive soon and back up onto there as well.
I think you can also get corruption when repeatedly copying to bigger and bigger HDs when each 'enormous' disk fills up.
I 've had CDs fail and I only ever bought good brands and looked after them.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 12:03:30 PM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2008, 12:22:47 PM »
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I used to zip (or some other format) my images and create parity files.  This was kind of neat because you could sprinkle the parity files amongst DVDs so if you had a backup that took 10 DVDs you could lose up to like 3 dvds and still restore the backup.

The downside was that it took the Egyptians less time to erect the great pyramid of giza than it took me to make those 10 DVDs.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2008, 12:42:31 PM »
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jjj --- on the corruptions, you need to verify the integrity regularly of of any disks you intend to back-up, whether you are writing to a second HD or optical disk...

As re speed, I now back-up data at SATA2 speeds, which with my newest drives runs at over 100 MB/s SUSTAINED at the front end of the disk, dropping down to maybe 70 MB/s as I near the slow end of the drive. This translates to 500G of images transferring in about 2 hours...    Even FW800 with these new drives runs at around 50 MB/s sustained, or around 3 hours to transfer 500G of images...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 12:48:32 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

nemophoto
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2008, 12:59:16 PM »
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I use pcoket drives for temporaty individual shoot storage. However, when I finish working with those images, I usually archive off to DVD. After investigating prices, etc., I'll probably end up buying 500-750GB drives that I can use with my eSATA connector. I've gradually moved away from USB and Firewire to eSATA because of transfer/write/read speeds. (Even my most recent notebook, an Asus V1s, has a combo USB/eSATA port. It's been great.) I've been procrastinating so long on this, I have about then pocket drives with 80-120GB on each to archive. Too bad I can' use something like Archive Creator to create mini web page indexes to keep track.
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