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COMMENT PRESERVING THE PAST IS A FORLORN TASK Larry Jordan This week I presented a webinar on how to protect your stuff using archiving. Why? Because hard disks are great for immediate storage, but inadequate for files that you want to keep for a long time. This week I presented a webinar on how to protect your stuff using archiving. Why? Because hard disks are great for immediate storage, but inadequate for files that you want to keep for a long time. One of the questions that came up during the session was “What about mDisc? Why not use them for archiving?” This is a great question that speaks to a much larger issue that I want to write about today. To help you understand my point of view, “backup” is something you do on a daily and/or weekly basis so you have fast access to current working files; backup files are generally left on-line. Archiving, on the other hand, is something you do at the end of a project to collect all related files and store them “off- line” for the long-term; archiving allows you to remove online files. What Is MDISC? MDisc replaces the traditional organic substrate in either a DVD or Blu-ray Disc with an inorganic substance. Because of this simple change, media stored on an mDisc, according to the mDisc website, can last up to 1,000 years. Even allowing for excessive marketing hype and discounting it by 75%, this means mDiscs will last hundreds of years. I’ve had the chance to talk with the mDisc folks on several occasions and think they have a great idea and are working hard to share it with the world. My problem with mDisc isn’t their technology, but the technology industry. Technology Acts Like The Past Doesn’t Exist Hard disks will reliably store data with the power off and stored on a shelf up to about five years. DVDs last about seven years. Flash drives last about eight years. (Source: mDisc). In other words, the tools we use to store media for immediate use are not the tools we want to use to store media for the long term. The purpose of my webinar was to show how to use LTO (Linear Tape – Open Technology) tape for long-term archiving. (And even with LTO, the phrase “long-term archiving,” is somewhat misleading, as you’ll read shortly.) 40 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 109 JANUARY 2016 Technology, as an industry, acts like the past doesn’t exist. As we have seen far too many times in the past, whenever a new idea can do a task better, even if it is incompatible with what has gone before, the new idea wins; even if it is as simple as changing connectors. My office is littered with the dead-ends of storage technology: • • • • • Floppy disks – in all manner of sizes SCSI hard drives SyQuest drives Jaz drives FireWire 400/800 drives Or, if you need something more dramatic, look at the industry bombshell that exploded four and a half years ago with the release of Final