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DVD Selection and Storage
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Author Topic: DVD Selection and Storage  (Read 22683 times)
BillRogers
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« on: February 17, 2006, 02:14:53 AM »

I have two questions about DVDs.

1) Has anyone reached a conclusion about which DVD media are the best "bet" for longevity? (I use the word "bet" because nobody will know for sure until many years from now.)

On p. 112 of The DAM Book, Peter says to stick to name brand DVDs. But according to this website, the brand name is no guarantee of quality.  http://www.digitalfaq.com/media/dvdmedia.htm    This is because the name brand companies buy from suppliers that may produce poor quality media. Memorex appears to be a good example - we've all seen the stacks of cheap Memorex DVDs at Circuit City and Staples. According to this website, some Memorex DVDs may be manufactured by CMC Magnetics, which manufactures low-quality media.

For now, I've been buying Maxell as they are locally available. TDK seems to be a good bet, and many people seem to think that Taiyo Yuden is the best way to go.

Has anyone come up with a solution to this dilemma?

2) Similarly, I wonder about DVD storage. We all seem to agree that the cheap paper & plastic sleeves aren't a good idea. Similarly, there seems to be broad agreement that any storage system that causes the DVD to be flexed on removal may cause premature failure. This rules out the so-called jewel boxes used for selling music CDs.

The plastic sleeves shown on p. 112 of Peter's book are probably a good solution, but again, I think that price and brand name are no guarantee that these sleeves will be acid-free and archival. I wonder if anyone has come across a better idea.

I'm probably being too anal. I suspect that in 10 years DVDs may be as extinct as 8-track cartridges, tape cassettes, and Betamax VCRs. But I do think that it's important to maintain off-line storage, especially out here in the country where overhead power lines have been known to take direct lightning hits.

Bill Rogers
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 06:07:39 AM »

Bill,
I expect my DVDs to only be needed fro a few years until I move too something else.  That said, I have been buying Sony Disks.  I have no empirical data other than they do not seem to be cheap third-party disks.  I also have been buying TDKs.

If you are in the US, try Light Impressions for archhival pages.  If you want too be as safe as possible, then I would suggest jewel cases.

Peter
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BillRogers
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 04:03:14 AM »

Thanks, Peter.
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wombat2010
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2006, 02:33:50 PM »

Bill,

I have read in a few places (can't remember exactly where, although I got the link from the robgailbraith.com forums) that Taiyo Yuden makes good quality DVDs.  It is the only company that makes its own discs, so there is no outsourcing.  I am planning to order some, but have not yet, so I have no firsthand experience.  Those posting at robgailbraith.com who had them said they had far fewer coasters and other failures than with any other brand.

And they are no more expensive than other brands.  The place to get them (and any media) seems to be www.supermediastore.com.  That's where I plan to order mine.  I hope that helps.

Stephen
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2006, 04:18:18 PM »

thanks Stephen.
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DJ Webb
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2006, 03:00:36 AM »

If your a non Yankee the best place to buy TY's is SVP http://svp.co.uk/index.php

Their CD's and DVDs are the dogs. The live music scene raves about them and I've been using them for years with no problems.
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Alan Eckert
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2006, 10:16:27 PM »

Longevity tests on MAM-A (Mitsui gold license) DVD-Rs indicate they will be around longer than any of us.  I use them, but Peter is correct that nothing is 100% reliable and redundancy is essential.  Also, before the MAM-A disks die, they will likely be obsolete or unreadable.
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James Mulford
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2006, 03:09:17 PM »

Most of the comments that I've seen from VERY professional photographers are that they are inclined to skip removable media altogether and, because of the dropping cost of HDs, go directly to HDs. I just got a 300Gb external drive for roughly $350. It will hold the same amount as hundreds of DVDs and it's plug & play. I also don't have to store all those DVDs (hiding them from dogs & kids) and I can even take everything with me to another location. Sure, like anything else, it too can go bad, but life has risks.
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James Mulford
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2006, 10:33:31 AM »

That's a great line, James:  "A picture's worth 1000 words...if you can find it!" Peter should use it as a marketing slogan for his book and lectures.

David
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DouglasUrner
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2006, 12:20:51 AM »

Most of the comments that I've seen from VERY professional photographers are that they are inclined to skip removable media altogether and, because of the dropping cost of HDs, go directly to HDs.

Using hard disks for archival storage is attractive, both from the point of view of cost and ease of bringing data back on line -- but there are substantial risks.  Consider dropping a DVD and dropping a hard disk.  You also have many more eggs in one basket with the hard drives, and I fear greater possibility of discovering a hardware incompatibility a few years down the line.

So I think the "belt and suspenders" approach of keeping your archives on both removable media and hard disks is a very good idea.  It also means that you have to have a failure of two very different kinds of media before you've lost your images.  For sheer paranoia I'd be tempted to use two different writers when making my DVDs -- but I'm still on the fence about how paranoid to be.

Doug
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DouglasUrner
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2006, 12:26:33 AM »

Has anyone reached a conclusion about which DVD media are the best "bet" for longevity?

There was a Library of Congress or National Archives paper on this, I think I've got a PDF of it, I'll see if I can find it -- hmmm, guess I need to manage some digital assets . . .

Practically speaking the answer is to use Taiyo Yuden CDR media and either MAM-A (gold) or Delkin gold DVD media.

Doug
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Michael_S
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2006, 08:28:02 AM »

I may be an awful amateur photographer.  But I'm not an amateur digital storage archivist.  That's my job day in and day out.  Furthermore, I work for the largest computer storage company  in the world.

So let me lay out some design practices for everyone.  This set of recommendations is how we archive: the President's email, medical images for veterans hospitals, check images at major banks, stock trade records, etc., etc.
  • We use special software to enforce Write Once Read Many (WORM) capabilities on the disk arrays for archive.  Otherwise, you have to depend on the physical media to provide WORM.  That's why optical is often used.
  • Data is stored at two physical locations.  Preferably not even in the same region.  New Orleans to Biloxi didn't help much now did it?
  • At each location, the data is protected wthin the arrays by either mirroring or parity.  In the PC/Mac file system world, that would be RAID 1 or RAID3 or 5
  • All new objects are replicated from one site to the other is close to real-time

For those of you who want to play a copy of the home game, you can't get the software to do WORM on spinning hard disks.  But you can do something close on the other points.
  • RAID protect your home/office data (mirror or parity).
  • Synchronize to a similarly RAID protected offsite set of hard disks. Or use a storage service provider online.

That's just the archive piece.  Backup and Recovery are related but different processes.  You backup your working files.  You archive files once their content is unchanging, or "fixed."

In summary, be very careful using hard disks for archive.  They can be very useful but you need to have some redundancy built into your scheme to protect against accidental deletions, hardware failures, software failures, and natural or man-made disasters (pipes breaking, fire, theft, etc.).  Personally, I'm investigating an offsite storage service provider but haven't found many yet.  I hope this post is helpful to someone.

Best Regards,
Mike
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danaltick
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2006, 11:06:37 AM »

Micheal,

Thanks allot for your inputs on this; however, I currently feel that RAID is not really cost effective or practical for a bucketed DAM setup.  DAM as outlined in Peter's book forces at minimum 3 copies of your media in three different places as well as write-once media.  DAM also incorporates offsite storage.  I view RAID more applicable to large businesses with extremely mission critical applications or real-time requirements.  I view DAM as more of a means for the professional photographer to manage his assets and minimize his down-time when a crises occurs, and being able to do this with minimal costs so as to keep his business afloat.  That's not to say that DAM can't also be used on a much larger scale encompassing some kind of RAID setup; however, for the average professional/amateur photographer, it's just not cost effective or practical.  Hope that helps.

Dan
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2006, 11:07:03 AM »

Mike,
Well said.  All that is the theory behind the system that I constructed and write about.  What we are doing in creating these archives is managing a large set of unchanging image data, and a constantly set of changing metadata.

In a perfect world, we would have both onsite and offsite RAID with a fat pipe between, and some kind of additional tape drive or other archive media.   The problem is that this arrangement is cost prohibitive (and to some extent technologically difficult) for many photographers. 

Everything I suggest for hardware storage is a temporary workaround to address the realities of current affordable technology.  At some point in the next five years, all this workaround will be unnecessary, and everything we have to do now for protection will look either quaint or byzantine or both.  HD volumes will have grown to a size that can hold all your data on a single device.  Holographic storage (or some other) stable write-once media will be cheap and reliable so that buckets are not needed.

DAM software will also get more sophisticated, such that it can manage multiple redundancies of networked storage transparently and reliably.

The big question that we are facing as photographers is how to get from here to there without loss of our images.  For now, that means workarounds.

I appreciate the good information you bring to the discussion.
Peter
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Michael_S
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2006, 11:38:28 AM »

My pleasure to finally have something to contribute to the discussion.

Anyway, I agree about the work arounds and cost constraints.  That's the nature of the marketplace for many of us.

I'm still designing my photo & video workstation so I haven't finalized my own attempt at this.  But you can bet it will have some heavy disk mirroring and a preference for offsite over the network.  I take a lot of photos on the road so 3rd party hosting would be nice.

Peter, the fact that I recognized many of the archive principles I speak about every day with my customers is what made me buy your book.  I was so intimidated by making aton of raws, derivatives, and so on.  Your book and methodology helped me map what I knew from archiving and apply it to digital photography.

Honestly, I wish I could start an offsite storage business for fixed assets.  But that would take more capital than I have onhand at the moment.  Oh well.  But if I do, I'll be sure to offer DAM Forum members a discount!
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