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Author Topic: universal compression scheme for Raw content to get more on a disc like zip  (Read 3973 times)
Sossity Corby
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« on: March 05, 2011, 05:06:04 PM »

I have been burning my raw data my Raw buckets; photos & movie files from my digicam onto Taiyo Yuden DVD-R discs, but as my data increases, the amount of discs increases, I keep the discs at an office in my town as offsite storage, this has worked the best for now.

I could go to double layer discs, but they cost more per disc, & not as economical as DVD-R's. I have looked at blue ray, but I do not have a blue ray burner, & there does not seem to be any confirmation for me that blue ray discs are as archival or as good as a proven disc like Taiyo Yuden discs.

I have something called stuffit for mac compression software, & have seen zip files, that is alot of what downloads come in.

Is there a universal compression software to compress my data without losing quality, is cross plat form, & could be opened in the future? I am asking about this as a way to get more of my data on each DVD-R disc.

I have heard of having a hard drive offsite, but this is not practical, as I work from home, & have a family member keep my backup discs at their office, & having them tote a hard drive back & firth for incremental backups is not practical.


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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 03:57:26 PM »

I'm just back at my computer after a nice Sunday evening meal to find that my 457th DVD archive has been burnt to disc.  Actually that should be 'discs'.  I have 2 external DVD burners plus the one in my computer so I actually burn 3 copies of an archive in one go, onto different brands of disc.  Therefore I've just burnt my 1369th, 1370th and 1371st DVDs.  I don't know how much all these discs have cost over the years but they are part of my data insurance policy.

At some point I will move to Blu-Ray discs but even so I would be nearly ready to burn my 92nd disc, plus any duplicate(s).

Of course I also back up to hard drive, having at least 3 copies of my files on different hard drives.  I keep one set of hard drives and one set of DVDs off site.  Every few weeks or so I add new DVDs to this and swap over the hard drives. 

It is a pain to do all this, especially when I come back from a trip and have maybe 15 or more DVDs to burn just to catch up.

The immediacy of a hard drive backup is much easier all round.  That is until the hard drive goes pop.  I've had several hard drives fail on me but have always been able to recover within a couple of days - I have that many images it can take that long to create a new and verified copy.

If your only backup is a single copy of the file on DVD then what you have is a disaster waiting to happen.  The clock is ticking for you as it will happen to you at some point.  Your computer gets a virus, you spill coffee on it or some falling space debris trashes the office where you keep your backup!  Or maybe you just press the delete button by mistake and don't realise.  Whatever disaster scenario you can think of it has already happened to someone else - ok maybe not the space debris, although I once stayed in a motel in Australia that had on display some bits of Skylab that fell to earth close by!

So... you need to have multiple copies of your data.  You need to have them on multiple types of media.  And you need to keep them in multiple locations.  Having one copy on your computer and one on optical media in another location does actually meet these criteria.  However it would be data suicide to have just this.  If you value your data - and asking questions about backups suggests that you do - then at the minimum go out and buy a decent external hard-drive and make another copy of your data.  You can keep this at home and you're then covered for viruses and coffee spills - assuming you don't keep it permanently attached to your computer or clumsily drink from large cups!  Better still buy two hard drives and keep one off-site, swapping it over with the on-site version regularly.  If you ever get a Blu-Ray drive then still also make DVD backups as well -that's what I plan to do one day.

I don't know how much actual data you have but you could consider on-line backups.  There are a number of companies that provide on-line storage, ranging from small amounts (several GBs) for free up to paying services for larger amounts.  The big downside of these for me is the time it would take to upload the files for backup in the first place.  My broadband connection is reasonably fast but that is only for download speeds.  Uploading is at best about 90% slower.  My TB's of images would take many months to upload, and weeks to re-download if I had a problem.

As for compression software I wouldn't bother.  First off most image formats are already compressed.  Trying to compress them any further might actually result in files that are slightly larger in size!  Second, if you think the time spent on burning DVDs is slow and frustrating then why put in another step beforehand that might take just as long.  Third, if you have to go revert to a backup you would then have to uncompress all the files before you can use them.  Compressing any files would also prevent you from using any data verification process - unless you permanently keep the compressed file as well.

So the moral of this tale is that you can't have too many backups but you definitely can have too few.

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