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inadaizz

Long term archiving storage solution unpowered.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Suggestions for long term storage of mass amounts of pictures and video archives? Reading most of the threads it appears to be buy a cost effective $/gb hdd but I wondered does it make a difference considering it will be stored in an unpowered environment? Like chilling in a box for long periods of time almost forgotten? 

Thanks

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Just buy cheap external hdds.

Try WD purples, thats what they are designed for


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HDDs are fine unpowered.


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Always try to make sure you have more than 1 medium.  Also, I'd power up the drive every once in a while, used HDDs have been known to have issues when being left untouched for several years (motors locked up, heads stuck, that kind of stuff).

 

Either way, with the amount of time you'll be leaving it in storage, flash is not an option.  So no USB sticks or SSDs.

You can get HDDs, go for cloud storage at a reliable provider (Pretty sure Google or Dropbox aren't going anywhere anytime soon), or burn it on M-disc Blu-rays (those are made specifically for long-term storage and should be good for 1000 years)

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15 minutes ago, inadaizz said:

Suggestions for long term storage of mass amounts of pictures and video archives? Reading most of the threads it appears to be buy a cost effective $/gb hdd but I wondered does it make a difference considering it will be stored in an unpowered environment? Like chilling in a box for long periods of time almost forgotten? 

Thanks

Just burn the files to blu ray discs most likely


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Tape is the most reliable long term storage solution but, altjhough the tapes aren't all that expensive, the equipment required is very expensive.

 

HDDs are the most practical long term storage solution right now. However, even they should be powered up every once in a while (say, yearly) to excercise them and to make sure they still work. It's also wise to keep multiple copies of the data in multiple locations. Also, they should be monitored to make sure they do not become obsolete (although that shouldn't happen for years from now).

 

With the exception of archival grade discs, optical discs (CD, DVD, BD) are not a good option. Archival grade optical discs are an option but can get expensive in a hurry. One also has to maintain the proper drives to read them.


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As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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Cloud storage is relentless and files must be secure for a decade in the hands of Google (for google drive users). However, I bet HDDs are the best option to go with and especially WD (they're manufactured for such purposes). Try WD red for extensive use or cheaper WD purple if you have a lower preference. They're designed for storing media files at its peak size. Hence, considerably speedy. Go through various WD model's comparison before you make a choice. There are three variants to choose from and entirely depends on your budget and preference. The Wd purple starts at around $55 or so..

 

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I have HDD's that haven't been read from in a decade, files on them were just fine and drives worked. Archival quality optical media would be the ideal choice because you can't accidentally delete/format them and the file system they're written onto on the optical disc should be long term supported as well, no 'oops that's FAT16/EXT2 I can't read that anymore'. Also optical discs can be destroyed more thoroughly an easily than a HDD should you need a 'secure delete'.

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Amazon Glacier would be a solution... they use tapes to store your data after some period of time. If enough time passes and you need your data, you put a request and they bring up the tapes and transfer the contents back and make the content available for you to download.

It does cost some money, like a few cents per GB per month or whatever... it can be costly.

 

If you decide to go with tapes at home, you'd need temperature and humidity controlled room for your tapes and store the tapes properly. Once every few months, it would be a good idea to FLIP each tape... it helps.

 

Mechanical drives would work and can be left disconnected, unpowered... but with these it would be a good idea to plug them in at least every few months and run a full surface scan (or just simulate a copy of all contents of drive to another drive)... hopefully that catches some weaker magnetic area and maybe refreshes it.

Also drives are more sensitive when turning on and off, when they heat up inside and the platters expand slightly (getting to average operating temperature), you're just better off running mechanical drives 24/7 and storing data you care on multiple drives - if one fails you restore from other drives and always have the data on at least 2 drives. 

Drives can and WILL eventually fail... and according to various studies... chances of failure increase by a significant amount after around 5-6 years of 24/7 operation, so consider replacing the drives every 4 years or so as a cost of backup... and always have spares available.

 

SSDs should not be left unpowered. In theory, they lose the data in around 2-3 years if they're stored at high temperatures like 50-60c ambient. At 20-30c in theory they should retain data for a decade or so, maybe more. But still, I wouldn't use SSDs (or anything less than MLC) for backups.

 

Don't trust optical media.

 

Archival grade media may last 10-20 years , it may not... will you sue the manufacturer if your disc fails 20 years later when they don't even produce DVDs or CDs anymore and your data can't be recovered?

What if the optical drive you use fails somehow and spins the disc at 20k rpm and blows it up.. what if you accidentally drop the disc and it scratches... nah, too much unreliability.

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