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Re: What are the problems of with archiving on external hard drives?

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Tim Jones
Re: What are the problems of with archiving on external hard drives?
on Sep 3, 2015 at 11:16:49 pm

I'm one of those who promote Tape (not just LTO) for long term archival. I've been in the storage industry for more than 30 years and I have a stack of disks that suffered failures within one or two years and tapes that we still perform test restores from dating back to 1988.

You are correct that disk was previously marketed as a safe archival technology for many years - by guess who - the disk drive manufacturers. I've been a disk drive manufacturer engineer and product manager (Connor Peripherals) and even then I knew that disk was a technology that was prone to failure simply because of the densities and mechanical operations involved. Back in 1993, I was involved in the development of a new technology named "RAID", we were making a box that contained 6 512MB 3.5" disks and a 2GB DAT tape dive. When we presented the box to upper management, we were instructed to "remove the DAT tape drive because it implies that the new RAID technology is unreliable." This was a very odd position since one side of Connor was promoting backup and archival solutions while the other was promoting disk storage. The marketing messages back then were already starting to contradict each other within the same company. It's not that you can't support both messages, just that the messages should be adjusted to allow for the pros and cons of both technologies.

I do agree that your use of 3 disk copies is very smart if you are planning to only use disk. However, if you are truly interested in long term retention (5 years+), you really should invest in a tape solution.

Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!

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