archival cd-r - really true?
julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Mar 9 11:15:17 CST 2006
> In article <44102647.2020901 at yahoo.co.uk>,
> Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk> writes:
>> Personally I wouldn't use any flavour of CD technology for anything.
> What would you use, then? Some people recommend 9-track or other
> magnetic media (like hard drives) because the magnetic domains are
> supposedly more stable than CD-R pits. I just haven't seen anything
> more than "a friend told me" variety stories, though.
I tend to use both hard disk and tape (DLT these days, DAT tapes seem reliable
enough, but I got fed up with the drives going bad on me).
The thing that bugs me about CDs is that I've seen so many incompatibilities
between media and drives - I wouldn't want to get x years down the line and
find that the discs that I wrote on long-dead hardware refuse to read on
whatever hardware I can lay my hands on at the time. Sure, you can test discs
in a few different machines - but the incompatibility rate is just too high to
give me peace of mind.
I've never had that problem with disks and tape drives - a tape written on one
system will work happily in a drive on another from a totally different vendor
IME, or a disk will happily plug into a SCSI bus on a different machine and
work etc. 
 Actually, I did have a problem a few months back where a Quantum disk
refused to share a SCSI bus with a Seagate drive until I'd patched its
firmware - but in a data restore scenario I *could* have put it on its own
SCSI bus if I absolutely had to.
I've just been reliving CD horrors these last few days actually, so it's
something of a sore point at the moment - as I avoid CDs as much as possible I
hadn't used either of my two burners in several years, but needed to burn a CD
to boot on a floppy-less laptop. *both* of my burners seem to have died whilst
in storage, and a borrowed laptop with a burner on it refused to burn CDs that
would work in anything other than a select number of machines regardless of
media tried (needless to say, it refused to write a disk that would work in
the laptop I absolutely *needed* it to work in!).
Luckily I sourced a couple of SCSI burners that were being thrown out locally,
and one of those has done the job quite happily :) Still, served to remind me
just why I don't like the darn things...
I suppose if the data is critical, small enough in size, and the media is
available at sufficient quality, go for the coarsest grain media you can get -
e.g. 9 track or floppies, say. At least that way if something *does* happen
there's more chance you can get the data off the media using recovery tools.
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