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Author Topic: new DVD "M-Disc" perfect for archive material  (Read 11025 times)
nudone
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« on: July 19, 2012, 04:53:28 AM »

An article over on the PC Pro website: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/bl...e-dvd-that-lasts-forever/



Quote
The M-Disc shares the same size, shape and 4.7GB capacity of a DVD, and indeed can be read by any standard DVD drive, yet Millenniata says this special disc “cannot be overwritten, erased, or corrupted by natural processes”. As the website says, it’s “the first ever permanent file backup disc that lasts forever”.

Read more: M-Disc: the DVD that “lasts forever” | PC Pro blog http://www.pcpro.co.uk/bl...ts-forever/#ixzz213pNy8M0
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 05:51:43 AM »

WOW~! Nice find!

I really only burn for backups, and I always worry about degradation as it has happened to me far too many times. It's a pisser when you pick up a disk after so long, only to find that you can't read it.
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tomos
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 06:01:45 AM »

Important to note that you have to buy a special DVD burner "the MWriter" - which doesnt seem to be easily available.

Quote
The Millenniata discs, while readable in normal DVD drives, are not writable in a
standard drive due to the proprietary firmware required to write to the Millennial disc. As
a result, there is only one drive that can be used to burn Millenniata media, the MWriter.

/from the PDF test results PDF Link.
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Tom
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 07:06:43 AM »

Good point, tomos.

Personally, I'm waiting for another year or two. In the article they mention they are working on a blu-ray disc, and even a dual layer blu-ray disc, which they hope to be available within the next year (or two). They are so sure of this they aren't bothering with a dual layer DVD disc version.

So, hopefully, you'll be able to have 50 gig (blu-ray) discs in the not too distant future. At which point I'm sure the hardware will be more available and the disc quite common (especially as they are expecting other manufacturers to come onboard).
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Renegade
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 07:22:08 AM »

Looks like you can get an M-Disc burner for $80 or so.

https://www.google.com/se...&biw=1920&bih=870

Not too bad. Disks are around $4 each for 5, then $2.90 each for 25. Really, if you care in the least about your data, the small premium is worth it.
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 07:42:35 AM »

Quote
The M-Disc shares the same size, shape and 4.7GB capacity of a DVD, and indeed can be read by any standard DVD drive, yet Millenniata says this special disc “cannot be overwritten, erased, or corrupted by natural processes”.

For that, you need kids. As the first comment says:

Quote
All very well and good but I get the impression they can still be surface damaged with scratches etc or shattered like normal DVDs if not handled correctly, so they are still not child or clumsy adult proof. So please can you try this with your labs sample and report back

Still, it is definite progress which is good to see.
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 08:25:08 AM »

I have stopped using CDs and DVDs years ago - I have no DVD burner in my current computer. The cost per GB is equal for a big HDD and DVDs. HDD it is definitely faster (especially when you include the time needed to find the damn DVD), occupies a much smaller space (1 3.5" HDD vs 600 DVD - that's a full bookcase) and is easily rewritable. I see no future for these fragile "discs" no matter how long are they supposed to last. The technology is dead.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:57:25 PM by vlastimil; Reason: grammar » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 08:26:12 AM »

It sounds like a neat idea, but I've read a few reviews that reported difficulty with successfully ending up with usable burned M-Discs.

Below is one of the reviews I came across:

  http://www.amazon.com/M-DISC-DVD-Cake-Box-Pack/product-reviews/B005Y4NKE0/

I think there was one other, but I'm not turning it up at the moment.

I'd be happy if this technology managed to work reliably, develops a larger capacity per media, and sticks around -- but I'm not too hopeful of affordable reliable off-line storage though (difficulty imagining enough consumer demand with recent developments in the areas of tablets and network-based storage)...

What I've come to suspect is that depending on where you live in the world, the reliability of certain technologies seems to vary a fair bit.  I used to have no problems with HDDs at all, but some time in the last decade I moved to another country...in the new environment, I've had 4-5 failures of HDDs, so at least here, I don't trust HDDs with my data at all.  (I thought quality had just gone down overall, but from talking to some other folks, I hear they still seem to have few problems.)  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to leave much that's relatively simple to work with -- multiple copies on optical media is what I've come to depend on, but that technology seems to be dying in many areas of the world...I wouldn't be too surprised if in the not-too-distant future, it won't be affordable to have significant quantities of offline data.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 08:33:05 AM by ewemoa » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 08:42:58 AM »

nice find.
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tomos
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 08:56:20 AM »

Below is one of the reviews I came across:

  http://www.amazon.com/M-DISC-DVD-Cake-Box-Pack/product-reviews/B005Y4NKE0/
in fairness,
that sounds like it could well be a problem with the burner he's using, rather than the discs.


Looks like you can get an M-Disc burner for $80 or so.

Not too bad. Disks are around $4 each for 5, then $2.90 each for 25.
-
all seem to be at least double the price in europe (I cant even find a simple DVD burner from the company itself, so it's hard to compare properly). Makes it less attractive at the moment anyway.

Have to wonder too if disc technology will die out completely as vlastimil says.
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Tom
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 09:12:04 AM »

I wonder if the data backed-up onto M-Discs would survive uncorrupted after an EMP (Electomagnetic Pulse) from a nuclear bomb?
In the event of WW3, the paranoid archivist would presumably hope that all his backup data was intact.    tongue
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 09:58:02 AM »

Have to wonder too if disc technology will die out completely as vlastimil says.

vlastimil has a very good point, but I think that's just one perspective, i.e. storage for personal use.

Like, who here wants to go out and buy an HDD so that you can put data on it and hand it to someone to keep?

Optical storage, or "mini-storage" (be it Flash/NAND/whatever), will always have a place because you can buy physically separated storage. While the total storage cost may be the same as for an HDD (or SSD or NAND), you have discrete pieces that you can hand out to people. e.g. Burn 20 discs then go to a meeting and hand them out to people, or whatever. The point being that you can distribute the physical media to different people.

So, again, it all boils down to what you want to do and what your specific needs are. Need a decent amount of storage like 2 TB? Get an external HDD. Need more? Get a NAS. Need to distribute 500 MB to 50 people? Get optical discs.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 11:24:59 AM »

I believe services like gmail/dropbox/rapidshare trumph CDs/DVDs for distribution purposes. If I distribute a piece of paper with a link or a QR code, people will be able to access it from their PC, phone or tablet without needing a DVD reader. 500MB is piece of cake these days.

What I would love to see is something like a data crystal from Star Trek. Something that is functional, you can carry it in your pocket AND is beautiful or stylish. Burned DVDs don't even work as presents, because they look cheap (compare them to a classic vinyl LPs!).
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 12:47:12 PM »

I'm with vlastimil, this is like planning for the future of a dead horse.


But I do have to wonder, what is the shelf-life expectancy (for cloudless offline storage) of the data on various other types of media?
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2012, 12:59:19 PM »

But I do have to wonder, what is the shelf-life expectancy (for cloudless offline storage) of the data on various other types of media?

I was wondering myself about SD cards - if they're rarely used, would they be suitable for archiving. The format looks like it's going to be there for the foreseeable future.
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2012, 01:14:29 PM »

Coincidentally, this topic was covered in local news today. From what I remember:
flash-based devices: 3-4 years
burned CD/DVD: 2-10 years
HDD: 10-30 years

These are times the data remains there if it is not touched. (It does not mean that a flash disk stops working after 3 years.)

The range is particularly wide for CDs/DVDs. How long the data remains stable on a DVD depends on the quality of the DVD and also on the way it is stored - leaving it on sunlight or in a hot place or reading it too many times reduces the lifespan.
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 01:34:45 PM »

flash-based devices: 3-4 years
burned CD/DVD: 2-10 years
HDD: 10-30 years

Hm... So maybe it is not such a bad idea after all. I knew the flash drives had fairly short life spans ... But hadn't realized the HDDs don't store that well either.
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 01:59:26 PM »

I believe services like gmail/dropbox/rapidshare trumph CDs/DVDs for distribution purposes. If I distribute a piece of paper with a link or a QR code, people will be able to access it from their PC, phone or tablet without needing a DVD reader. 500MB is piece of cake these days.

What I would love to see is something like a data crystal from Star Trek. Something that is functional, you can carry it in your pocket AND is beautiful or stylish. Burned DVDs don't even work as presents, because they look cheap (compare them to a classic vinyl LPs!).


This is probably one of those areas where we'll never agree. Wink

While I think that it is far better to distribute purely online with pieces of paper that have links (or whatever), they are not a substitute for giving someone data.

The fact is, the Internet sucks in a lot of places. I joke about the Internet here being the "Assie Shiternet" because I live in Australia, and the Internet is just total shit here (that may be an understatement tongue ). Well, bandwidth blows, that is. It's pathetic. You can go to a third world country and get better speeds. I am NOT exaggerating. At all. There's a thread here with speeds where I posted speed from here (Australia) in a major city and from Viet Nam in a city in the middle of nowhere. No comparison. In a country where a heck of a lot of people make under $400 a year... they have better bandwidth... Sucks to be on an island in the middle of nowhere. tongue

So distribution of data online is entirely at the mercy of bandwidth limitations. Not really much to debate there. Those are just facts.

When you have crap bandwidth, well, you have crap distribution, which makes physical media far superior in some cases. Not all, but some. If it's just a single web page, then it doesn't really matter too much. If it's a large amount of data... different story. And the limiting factor is still bandwidth.

But whether that's a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, NAND, isometricaltonic cubical crystal or whatever really doesn't matter. The point is that it's physical media that you can hand someone and that they can take it back home (or to the office) and use it with no reliance on bandwidth.

You also have the problem of reliability with online storage. You are at the mercy of your ISP, and then you are at the mercy of your service provider. I've been burned far too many times to underestimate the problems of networked data. Networked data is NOT reliable. A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. Wink tongue


As for beauty... Yeah... No argument there. You can "print" optical media to make them presentable though. But it's an extra step and a PITA.


I'm with vlastimil, this is like planning for the future of a dead horse.


But I do have to wonder, what is the shelf-life expectancy (for cloudless offline storage) of the data on various other types of media?


Dude... from you? Seriously? I didn't expect that from you as you know networks really damn well. Wink (Sorry -- had to razz you a bit there! tongue )

For SSDs, it's damn good. 1~2 million hours MTBF. I know that from doing work for Samsung Semiconductor. They put that in their docs for enterprises, so they have to deliver on it. (That is all publicly available.)

I forget the Samsung NAND stats. Probably similar.

However, consider the cost between NAND/SSD/HDD and optical storage... Again, you can't beat optical storage for price for distribution.

Imagine you're out on a street corner (or trade show, or wherever) trying to convince every passer-by that <insert something here />, and you pass out either:

1) A pamphlet and storage media for interested folks
2) A pamphlet and nothing for interested folks

Where do you think you'll get better results? Physical media of course.





Now... about QR codes... It's a completely silly concept (qualified below). There's no way that anyone is going to be running around town and see some QR code and think to themselves, "Hey! I need to go and find out what that bizarre looking squiggly square is, then look for software than can decrypt it for me so that I can try and find some web site..." JFC... That's total insanity. QR can only work if it is pre-installed on all (or most) devices. Nobody cares about funky squares. They're meaningless wastes of space for most people. That is... Until it reaches past critical penetration, which it is very far from right now. (Yeah... I tend to piss on stuff early... I know...) But we've already seen this fail several times before. The QR code thing is just the new kid on the block, and he'll get his black eyes as well before long. (Unless there is serious industry intervention.)

That is, adding in an additional layer before people can get to the data is simply too much to ask. (Yes - I know what I just said, and the implications, but the installable software question is an entirely different level of commitment on the part of the recipient.)



Now, as for what I think I'd use? Different question. I use HDD for storage. It's far superior for what I need right now. No question at all there. Optical storage isn't comparable for what *I* need. However, I just burned an audio CD today for someone else, and it was good that I had CDs laying around and had a burner for it. I'd hate to spend $100 on a drive just to burn a bit of data... So there are times when CDs (or DVDs or whatever) prove useful.

Again, it's all about what you need and about how much you are prepared to pay. I'm not willing to pay $100 when I can pay less than $1.
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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2012, 04:14:20 PM »

If you're worried about archiving data for more than 20 years, I'd be as concerned about how available reader devices might be.  For example, even  if your old Iomega Zip disks still contain their data, it has probably already become a bit of a problem finding a working Zip drive. I wouldn't be surprised if it would be easier to find something to read an old 8 inch floppy.

Of course, DVD readers will probably be around for a much longer time than Zip drives, but it's still something to consider if you 're serious about long, long term archiving.
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2012, 04:29:51 PM »

If you're worried about archiving data for more than 20 years, I'd be as concerned about how available reader devices might be.  For example, even  if your old Iomega Zip disks still contain their data, it has probably already become a bit of a problem finding a working Zip drive. I wouldn't be surprised if it would be easier to find something to read an old 8 inch floppy.

Of course, DVD readers will probably be around for a much longer time than Zip drives, but it's still something to consider if you 're serious about long, long term archiving.


Yeah, this is what is going to end up pushing us all grudgingly to the cloud, I'm afraid.
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« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2012, 05:56:06 PM »

If you're worried about archiving data for more than 20 years, I'd be as concerned about how available reader devices might be.  For example, even  if your old Iomega Zip disks still contain their data, it has probably already become a bit of a problem finding a working Zip drive. I wouldn't be surprised if it would be easier to find something to read an old 8 inch floppy.

Of course, DVD readers will probably be around for a much longer time than Zip drives, but it's still something to consider if you 're serious about long, long term archiving.


Yeah, this is what is going to end up pushing us all grudgingly to the cloud, I'm afraid.

Good points.

What was storage in 1992? Geez... It's been a while... smiley
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2012, 03:30:07 AM »

I was wondering myself about SD cards - if they're rarely used, would they be suitable for archiving. The format looks like it's going to be there for the foreseeable future.

I considered using SD cards and tried for a while, but like HDDs I found that they could easily lead to complete sudden unrecoverability of data -- e.g.  via static electricity.  One zap and poof  thumb down

As I understand it, the situation with optical media is a bit different -- typically optical media don't suddenly die.  Unless shattered I suppose smiley
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2012, 03:47:17 AM »

Below is one of the reviews I came across:

  http://www.amazon.com/M-D...oduct-reviews/B005Y4NKE0/
in fairness,
that sounds like it could well be a problem with the burner he's using, rather than the discs.

As I understand it, the maker's of the M-Disc have some sort of agreement with LG for LG to produce drives that work with M-Discs.  It would be unfortunate if what was described in the review is common.

I managed to find the other problematic report:

  http://www.cdrlabs.com/Re...c-rewriter/All-Pages.html

Quote
Of course, the BP40NS20's biggest feature is its support for Millenniata's M-DISC technology. Offering greater longevity and durability than standard DVD's, the M-DISC's rock-like material provides up to 1000 years of permanent data storage. This really doesn't mean much, though, if the burn process fails or the discs are not completely readable as was the case with the BP40NS20. Hopefully this is an issue with our drive or something that can be fixed with a firmware update and not an indicator of what we can expect from LG's M-READY drives.

Having seen a couple such reports (I think they are for different drives made by the same manufacturer) I became less interested in testing M-Discs at the moment -- I happen to have purchased an LG burner that's supposed to burn M-Discs (without knowing about M-Discs), so I am pretty interested in things working out well.
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« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2012, 03:54:46 AM »

I'm not sure if tape technology is all that affordable, but FWIW, there appears to be consideration given to the idea of future compatibility.  For example, from a Wikipedia page for Linear Tape-Open:

Quote
An Ultrium drive reads data from a cartridge in its own generation and at least the two prior generations.
An Ultrium drive writes data to a cartridge in its own generation and to a cartridge from the immediate prior generation in the prior generation format.

I've not been a tape fan, but perhaps it's not likely that there will be other alternatives before long...
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2012, 06:13:31 AM »

I've always had good luck with LG drives.
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