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FORUMS General Gear Talk Data Storage, Memory Cards & Backup 
Thread started 13 May 2018 (Sunday) 08:05
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Archival Media

Senior Member
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Joined Nov 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
May 13, 2018 08:05 |  #1

I'm curious what folks use for their archival backup media. I have a fairly redundant system at the moment, but am planning on opening a safety deposit box (not just for photos but might as well put photos in there too).

Currently, I have a HDD array with parity, which has saved me a couple times already from hard drive failure. That's where I store the bulk of my collection. Every so often, I copy the entire thing onto another hard drive which gets stored in a drawer, and I keep at least 2 backup hard drives like that. I used to also keep optical backups on DVD, but doing so now would be far too time consuming due to the size of my library. So I am looking into BluRay discs right now, to calculate just how many I would have to burn in order to create a backup of my library; and also to learn what BluRay media is of a high enough quality to be considered archival or near so. I like the idea of storing my data on different types of media, magnetic and optical, and in several locations.

I also plan on creating MD5 checksums for all my files as well. That way if one backup gets corrupted, I will know and be able to restore from a different backup instead.

So what media do people use for archiving their libraries? If anyone is using BluRay discs, do you have a brand/model/technology that you recommend or understand to be of the best quality for this purpose?


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They have pills for that now you know.
54,015 posts
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Joined Aug 2006
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas
May 13, 2018 08:33 |  #2

I use to use Taiyo Yuden archival media but I have given up on media all together and just stick to hard drives (several of them). I have old drives but about once a year I'll pick up a new one and clone the drive placing the old one in as the archive drive. I must have 6 of them now the oldest from somewhere around 2000 and still the old IDE interface to one I updated a few months ago. I still use an external for my nightly backups through.

Not sure why, but call me JJ.
I used to hate math but then I realised decimals have a point.
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Light Bringer
50,918 posts
Likes: 330
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
May 13, 2018 16:43 |  #3

I don't believe in archival media. I believe in multiple copies in multiple locations, all on hard drive, all using incremental backups. I also keep a plain copy / mirror on the same disks in case something goes wrong with the incremental backup system.

I keep medium resolution copies of all photos and videos (720p), and copies of all documents, in AWS Glacier, which costs me something like $1 per month even though I have a lot of wedding photos, family photos, and family videos. Glacier is made for long term storage, does regular integrity checks, and given it keeps data in at least three places if one copy corrupts it can restore automatically. It's probably a tape library, but it's not really our problem how it's implemented.

Instead of MD5 which is an old algorithm or SHA1 you could use PAR2/PArchive (external link), which both detects and can often restore files. It's like partity, but better, I set the redundancy at around 5% for things I upload to Glacier. I think I use Multipar software.

Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
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Archival Media
FORUMS General Gear Talk Data Storage, Memory Cards & Backup 
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