back to article The gold standard in data storage?

A lot of things can happen in 200 years, but one thing data storage disc manufacturer Delkin Devices guarantees won’t occur is data loss. That’s because the firm’s launched a Blu-ray Disc reputedly capable of retaining content for two centuries. blu-ray-disc_delkin Delkin's Archival Gold BD-R: lasts for 200 years The …


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"The firm’s not giving much away about how it makes each 25GB disc so durable"

Let alone how it even knows...

Who will our descendants sue when it turns out to be the usual?

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What about the format or the availability of readers.

There are two potential snags with a two-century disc.

1. Readers for the disc may not be available in two hundred years, making them impossible to read (for a more recent example, try to read a 3.5" floppy disc in an age when floppy drives are few and far between).

2. The data contained within the discs may be of a format that eventually gets lost to time and will (when the need arises in the far future) look only like so much gobbledygook.


I think the point is more that...

The data layer and dye isn't going to break down after five years like has happened with so many + and – DVDR's that came onto the market when burnable DVD drives became more widespread.

Even reasonably good quality brand named disks have proved to be unstable and prone to data integrity and read problems as the dye in the data layer breaks down from UV exposure.

I've seen many departments with data backed up onto DVD four years ago come back to retrieve something for an obscure reason only to find the disk has degraded and packets of data lost forever.

Granted it probably is futile hinging the strap line around the 200 years but people are missing the real point. Which is "yes, you can use this to archive and the disk won't break down in the time span your data is still relevant". Which certainly AIN’T what has happened with DVD R’s in many, many cases.


So what's the guarantee worth

So exactly what is this guarantee? Come back any time in the next 200 years and if your media is unreadable, then we'll give you a new disk? Big deal. I don't for one moment imagine it includes anything that compensates for the loss of the contants. Or is "guarantee" just a bit of PR talk?

OK they may have some technology that that they've tested with advanced aging techniques that is projected to show that the media will still be readable in 200 years (stored under what conditions), but frankly any organisation that trusted valuable digital archive data for even a fraction of that time without a regular read/refresh write cycle would be collectively mad. That's quite apart from whether the data is still in some form that can is still meaningful and readable by software even 20 years into the future. Then is the manufacturer going to guarantee the availability of devices which can still read the media in 20 years, let alone 200. Indeed is the manufacturer still going to be around in 20 years time.

So if if your data is of value to you, then think about archival policies, don't put all your eggs in one basket, and don't just think you can write the data to a single piece of media and throw it in a cupboard and forget about it. Archival storage needs a proper policy.


Will they be around...

So in 199 years time, when you come to try and access it...

oh n0es, its b0rked. (ILF - International Language of the Future)

I wonder if this company will still be around in 200 years?

And what use is it, it loses all your data (only if you're stupid for putting it in one place but ignore that for now), and you get what, your money back?

I'm sure my data is worth more than that. Granted a company does this to show their confidence it won't happen, but they can just balance their confidence against how much it's worth, unless they think hundreds might die (if it was just the same as standard discs?), and then it harms their reputation...

Just an advertising gimmick.


Player availability & connectivity?

And what are you going to plug your indestructible disk into in 25 years time, never mind 200? Blu-ray will be long gone by then. Assuming I still have access to a player, what would I connect it up to. SCART will be long gone, and Video On Demand over direct fibre or some new super Wireless tech will have killed the portable media market stone dead. Either that or it'll be some new alien format. And what about connecting a Blu-ray player to computers of the future. Think they're going to have USB, Firewire or ExpressCard slots 25 years from now? Not a chance.

This is the issue I have with things like DRM on wedding DVDs. I have a wedding DVD and the guy who created it tried to lock it up with DRM and copyright notices so I'd have to buy more from him, etc. Now I can understand why he wants to do that. He's protecting his business model; but that kind of leaves me in a pickle 10-25 years from now when me and missis want to reminisce over our wedding day, and we can't even find something to plug a DVD into, or that understands the file format.

Locking up data in one place and using one format is data death. The only solution is to regularly copy it a technology advances, and if a data format looks like its going the way of the Dodo, then migrate it onto something more current while translators still exist.

Dead Vulture

regular cheap disks aren't that bad if stored with care.

I've got some cheapo disks from the early 90's that were just secondary backups, but as it just turned out, they were still readable just fine.

Mind you, its not really that hard to keep them away from UV exposure...

like, put them inside a case in a cupboard, don't leave them in the car or near a window. If your house gets really hot, store disks that are supposed to be backup in the cellar...

I wonder if anyone here knows if write once disks or rewritable disks tend to last longer?


Not just UV

First, and even second generation, DVDR's had such terrible dye stability. Once the disk had gone through the burn process the dye started to degrade very much regardless of additional UV exposure. That simply increased the breakdown rate.

CD's never suffered from the dye breakdown hence why stuff from 15 years ago still works,

I totally agree, reliance on a disk as your only data backup and archive is suicide. But hands up all those who work in an organisation who has used it as a cheap short cut to not having to fork out for proper migrating backup solutions......

I guess this disk is taking FULL advantage of that bad practice and exploiting it completely. Our IT department is the cheapest, bad practice snakes ever and I swear this disk has ALREADY registered on the radar!

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Conventional wisdom is that...

...write once disks last far longer than RW.

Also it depends on how often the disk is accessed - your burned music CD that goes through the car CD-player every morning will be lucky to last 2 years out, but the same disk stored properly and only accessed a few times to retrieve lost data could well last decades.


Sure we get lied to about everything by everyone.. but sometimes.

Hmmmm it's Mr Know It All here and I am an immediate expert on everything I know nothing about or have any expereince of.

My thoughts on this subjkect are:

a) I am assuming that the disks ARE made of very high quality materials; and

b) They have (all components of the disks) undergone extensive testing; and

c) Given the SIZE limitations of conventional DVD's, that these disks, will perform far into the future, for LONG term archiving of enormous amounts of records...

Tho wisdom and experience dictatate that at least 2 or 3 version of permanent archives, ought to be done, onto hard drive/s and hard copy medium - in at least 2 geographically seperated locations...

I feel if the company is sincere in it's advertisement, and the products do work as specified; that they may actually be a VERY VERY good thing...

I for one, would very much like to have GUARANTEED high quality 'hard copy" back up materials, with storage capacity well in excess of 4.7G.


Armageddon tired of this sort of thing...

Being able to predict MTTF for a lot of things is (reasonably) straightforward. Publishing the relevant data so that others can do the calculations themselves would seriously improve the believability of marketing claims such as this. But... in the absence of historical data (since we don't have 200 years' experience with BD) and without any way to verify the reasonableness of the claim, it's just counterproductive hype. 'Counterproductive' because it lends the prospective customer to disbelieve the claim, to distrust the company making the claim, and (by extension) to distrust other companies, *regardless of merit*, making what seem to be similar claims.

The ONE medium we can be quite sure will last 200 years is parchment vellum, properly stored and cared for. We *do* have experience with that medium; unfortunately, it's not generally compatible with computer printers. ;-)

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