Are Blu-Ray disks an archival medium as good as DVDs?

vbimport

#1

My total data footprint counts in the hundreds of Gigabytes (about 500 right now) and I’m looking to add an archival solution in addition to the backup I have (hard drives).

Blu-ray drives and disks are cheap enough, and with 100GB in a 8-15$ disk, the deal looks very sweet.

I have used DVDs successfully as archival medium: DVDs that were written 10 years ago are still readable today; no errors. And now I want to use BR disks the same way. Write a disk, store it (in reasonable conditions inside my home) and be able to read the data 5 years into the future. 10 years would be amazing but 5 is acceptable.

I know that there can never be a guarantee on how long a disk will survive, but since I was careful with the DVD recorder I choose and the DVDs I picked, the odds were favourable and almost all of my disks still work.

So my question is: if I pick the right recorder, the right disks, and reasonable storage conditions, what kind of longevity and durability am I looking at? 3 years? 5 years? 7? 10?

I want to set my expectations right.


#2

You’re going to spend more per GB than a HDD will cost, or even USB thumb drives. Go with what’s the cheapest, since this is your 2nd level backup. If its cheap enough you can even go with a 3rd level. Although you are withing a reasonable range for cloud storage too.


#3

This is not a question about cost.


#4

HTL Bluray media should have significantly better longevity than dye-based discs.


#5

If you just want average 5-10 year lifetime, just pick up some regular Panasonic Blu-ray discs and you should be fine. Even with my cheapest burned media (TDK CD/DVD is almost all of it, I was a big fan), they all read perfectly today 10+ years later, except for several Maxell CDs that I didn’t purchase myself which rotted. I hate that disc rot and really never trusted any Maxell discs after that! So in conclusion, if you store your (Panasonic) Blu-rays correctly and take care of them you should be fine for 5-10 years.


The following is talking about really keeping that archive alive and well and not overly thinking about price. :wink:

Now, if you use Verbatim/M-Disc’s 100GB discs at $27 CAN or less if you buy more at once, you should get a few decades at the very least before having to transfer them to new media. They say it will last hundreds of years but I like being more conservative about it. I just purchased one of them myself to try out and they have a 10 year warranty on the package. So take that as the bare minimum lifetime but they should last [B]a lot longer[/B] then that.

They are more affordable (per GB) then Panasonic’s Archival Premium 50GB discs which are around $32 CAN each on eBay. I didn’t purchase any (yet?) because it didn’t make financial sense for the cost per GB and for my uses. I don’t know which one would be considered the best for long term storage and have not seen any reviews of these discs.

I would say Panasonic made (I use That’s 30-disc 50GB which is soon to be extinct thanks to TY shutting down) Blu-ray discs (25GB or 50GB) will last longer then any standard DVD will. Once you get into archival quality DVD’s vs archival quality Blu-ray, that is another story and pricing situation, which will depend on where you live in the world.

For DVDs I use Falcon Platinum Archival discs. Cheaper then Gold but with all the benefits. Plus they are affordable enough to use as duplication discs, so my customers get nothing but the best without getting into serious costs. :slight_smile:

Does that help?


#6

[QUOTE=Canon_Heritage;2764682]Now, if you use Verbatim/M-Disc’s 100GB discs at $27 CAN or less if you buy more at once, you should get a few decades at the very least before having to transfer them to new media. They say it will last hundreds of years…[/QUOTE]
I did not know M-DISCs came in >25GB so have to look into that, though my backup needs are more modest than the OP’s.

I took one of my, what, 3-year-old? 25GB M-DISCs out of the fire safe recently to recover an old file and of course it performs and looks as Day 1 still. I’m counting on them living-up to the hype.


#7

[QUOTE=DukeOfUrl;2764709]I did not know M-DISCs came in >25GB so have to look into that, though my backup needs are more modest than the OP’s.[/QUOTE]
They came out with a press release in February of this year. You can check them out on Amazon (best price in Canada) or on M-Disc’s web site. They now have available 25GB, 50GB and 100GB discs for consumers and they are working on a 200GB disc for businesses. For video editing archiving, I prefer to use as least discs as possible and therefore I am starting with the 100GB version to check them out.

I have 9 burned cakeboxes of the That’s 50GB (30 discs per cakebox) made by Panasonic, with another bunch of cakeboxes to go. :eek: So I will see how these hold up over time.

[QUOTE=DukeOfUrl;2764709]I’m counting on them living-up to the hype.[/QUOTE]
You and I both. :iagree:

But, just so you know, I did find this about the 25GB version: http://goughlui.com/2015/10/16/review-tested-verbatim-lifetime-archival-millenniatam-disc-4x-bd-r-25gb/
That is all I have been able to find for actual reviews. Nothing for the exact discs I mentioned earlier.
At the very least, they are the cream of the crop and yet the most affordable long term archiving solution available. They outlast any other archiving solution, that I am aware of. And therefore they are very affordable on a per year storage bases. :bigsmile:


#8

[QUOTE=Canon_Heritage;2764729]But, just so you know, I did find this about the 25GB version: http://goughlui.com/2015/10/16/review-tested-verbatim-lifetime-archival-millenniatam-disc-4x-bd-r-25gb/
[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the link, though the writer clearly thinks he is “the smartest guy in the room” and I hate such people! :stuck_out_tongue:

He complains about website inconsistencies, and how easy is THAT given how websites are typically put together (the engineers certainly aren’t doing it).

In any case in the end he can’t recommend M-DISC for the cost! I suppose if you were a small business and needed hundreds and hundreds of discs, you might care about cost, but even then I’d declare such decisions “penny wise and pound foolish”. Good grief, if the disks were twice what they cost now I would still buy them; my data is priceless.


#9

[QUOTE=DukeOfUrl;2764760]Thanks for the link, though the writer clearly thinks he is “the smartest guy in the room” and I hate such people! :stuck_out_tongue: [/QUOTE]
:bigsmile: Your welcome. He is the only one that has reviewed it, so I have to give him credit where credit is due. :wink:

[QUOTE=DukeOfUrl;2764760]Good grief, if the disks were twice what they cost now I would still buy them; my data is priceless.[/QUOTE]
:iagree: And that is the key. Most data can never be recreated again. It is a one time deal (movies, photos etc.).


#10

I’m trying to figure out the same thing.

I’m looking for the best blu ray media with >10 years lifetime for photo clients to send them media on.


#11

It would depend on your clients Blu-ray drives but the 50GB M-Discs would be the most compatible without stepping down to the 25GB version, if you have a lot of photos to deal with.

For a guaranteed situation, I would only trust the Panasonic Archival or M-Disc. If price is an issue maybe the Panasonic Premium Blu-rays. They have the Warp Coat that other Blu-rays do not have.

I don’t know if the premiums are the same as the Archival Premiums. I haven’t ordered either of them yet and discussions on this forum have not come to any conclusions either.


#12

Almost everything I do will fit onto 25gb disks.

Is there a reason the M-Disc are highly regarded?
I’m reading opinion pieces here that there might not be a significant difference in the Blu-Ray versions between HTL blu ray disks and the M-Disc stone layer.


#13

[QUOTE=joshcali;2764792]Almost everything I do will fit onto 25gb disks.[/QUOTE]
Then you have it easy. 25GB discs will always have the ability to last longer since it is only one layer, as stated in many different topics here.

[QUOTE=joshcali;2764792]Is there a reason the M-Disc are highly regarded?[/QUOTE]

If you research M-Discs and the tests random people did with the DVD version (news sites did it too), you can see why they are highly regarded. I’ve heard of the US military and government using them because of how good they are at retaining data in extreme circumstances.

The Blu-rays look different on the burn side (I have the 100GB version) compared to a regular Blu-rays. No one knows for absolute certain yet since I haven’t seen anyone baking each of the Blu-ray versions in their ovens or anything else like they did with the DVD ones. :eek:

Only Panasonic has scientifically done more rigorous testing with their 25GB & 50GB Archival Blu-rays then what is stated for M-Disc (ISO/IEC 16963). That much is known from that review of the 25GB disc. That person did some great research in that review, on that aspect of things. M-Disc doesn’t state 1000 years with the Blu-ray versions like with their DVDs.

[QUOTE=joshcali;2764792]I’m reading opinion pieces here that there might not be a significant difference in the Blu-Ray versions between HTL blu ray disks and the M-Disc stone layer.[/QUOTE]
Like I said earlier, at the very least, they are the best made Blu-rays that are backed by a 10-year warranty with “several hundred years” projected for its lifetime. But we are lacking in user reviews currently.

Anyone want to be a guinea pig? :bigsmile:

Edit: M-Disc does make the best 100GB disc though. There is no alternative currently.


#14

[QUOTE=Canon_Heritage;2764783]He is the only one that has reviewed it, so I have to give him credit where credit is due. ;)[/QUOTE]

BTW something very odd about that “review” is that one of the BD writers he uses is a GGW-H20L which is not an M-DISC drive and is certainly not on the Milleniata compatible drive list. I’m surprised that it would even burn the M-DISCs! Heck I have an LG GGW-H20L and never tried it, instead having bought an LG WH16NS40 to make my M-DISC backups.

Anyway that he has used unapproved drives for his testing, at least in the case of the LG (dunno bout the others), tells me his every statement is suspect…

:disagree:


#15

[QUOTE=joshcali;2764792]
Is there a reason the M-Disc are highly regarded?
I’m reading opinion pieces here that there might not be a significant difference in the Blu-Ray versions between HTL blu ray disks and the M-Disc stone layer.[/QUOTE]

I don’t think are highly regarded. Most people in the know view the M-Disc BD-R with a healthy dose of skepticism.

They appear to simply be an archival grade disc. Not substantially different to a regular BD-R. Unlike the M-Disc DVD which [I]is[/I] substantially different to a regular DVD+R.

Which is fine. If that’s what you want, go for it. The problem arises when people think they are getting something magic or special.

M-Disc BD-R will burn in any standard BD-R drive. Verbatim specifically state this. One of the indicators that they are not substantially different to other BD-Rs.


#16

I agree with elgario. :iagree:

The only reason the M-Disc BD-R will not burn in a standard burner would be that it needs a firmware update to properly make the burn, if the drive is still supported. The latest LG drives all received firmware updates to enable them to burn the M-Disc BD-R and BDXL discs.


#17

OK, I see this now on the Milleniata website:

M-DISC DVDs work with most DVD burners, and M-DISC Blu-ray discs are compatible with any Blu-ray writer. To avoid confusion when purchasing a drive, just look for the M-DISC logo on the box.

I bought-in before the M-DISC BD was available…so why would they burn with “any Blu-ray writer” but only “most DVD burners”. What’s the deal with that? EDIT: nm I found it:

The M-Disc DVD requires an upgraded disc drive that can deliver the increased laser power required to burn an M-Disc DVD. Therefore, only an M-READY Drive can burn data to an M-Disc DVD.

Apparently most BD writers have the necessary power while many/most ordinary DVD writers may not.


#18

[QUOTE=DukeOfUrl;2764923]

I bought-in before the M-DISC BD was available…so why would they burn with “any Blu-ray writer” but only “most DVD burners”. What’s the deal with that?
[/QUOTE]

The deal is that M-Disc DVD are substantially different to regular DVD+R. Entirely different data layer composition.

However M-Disc BD-R do not appear to be substantially (if at all) different to any other HTL BD-R.

It is investigated and explained in detail in the goughlui review. If you took the time to read it properly instead of criticizing the reviewer you would not be so confused.


#19

[QUOTE=elgario;2764930]However M-Disc BD-R do not appear to be substantially (if at all) different to any other HTL BD-R.

It is investigated and explained in detail in the goughlui review.[/QUOTE]

It was a great review and the only one I have found. I still think they are great archiving discs and are more affordable then others in their class. Especially the 100GB version. :bigsmile:

Just to add to the discussion, I have researched and seen that since the partnership with Verbatim, they only state several hundreds of years vs 1000 years on all the packaging. Even with the DVD version. They are being more conservative with their year numbers compared to when they first came out. M-Disc made discs have a limited lifetime warranty, while Verbatim only puts a 10 year guaranteed warranty on them (DVD or BD-R).


#20

Rewritable disks might be theoretically better at longevity compared to write once disks. That being said this is a largely unexplored topic and likely would yield more relative lifetime difference when comparing DVD-R vs DVD-RW as opposed to BD-R vs BD-RE.

My consumer grade collection of just under ~20 years’ worth of CD/DVD/BD disks leans towards the following observations and practices:

  • Always store the disks in non-humid, non-extreme temperature areas away from direct (and indirect) sunlight (eg. cupboard or non-transparent storage boxes).
  • Frequently accessed disks should be stored in jewel cases or plastic hard cover non-transparent cases. And if you have the means, an optical disk library/jukebox! https://kintronics.com/solutions/optical-jukeboxes-and-libraries/
  • Infrequently accessed CD/DVD disks are fine in quality wallet cases (normally black on the inside as opposed to white material). They might develop micro-scratches however I never found this to be a practical issue. Quality cases also don’t leave pressure/strain on the disks inside once the wallet is fully closed/zipped.
  • Do not stack wallet cases on top of each other. Always store such cases vertically and not horizontally to avoid excessive pressure on disks towards the bottom.
  • Infrequently accessed BD media is not to be stored in wallets at all (see goughlui’s posts on this). Store them in spindles/cakeboxes and tuck them away in a storage box described earlier, this also achieves horizontal positioning which may help.
  • Only write with markers specifically designed for CD/DVD surfaces. One time I saw a “CD/DVD/BD” marker, however this must be just marketing at play as the company reverted back to the old “CD/DVD” packaging yet the product appears to be the same…
  • If you are burning to older disks or on a computer that’s always multitasking, verify the burn. I tend to verify always, however you might not have the time.
  • Always burn at the rated speed of the disk itself, burners will offer burn speeds above and beyond the disk’s rated speed but override this back to the rated speed.
  • Stock up on optical media drives (ie. don’t discard the older generation drives). Sometimes you want to read the disk with a drive from the same era, however this is a corner case and might only help if the old disk (or a newer drive) is “pedantic” with reading the data.
  • Lately I’ve come into habit of burning my disks with ISO9660+Joilet+UDF all in one. This may help with forward compatibility and data resiliency.

The only disks which won’t read back for me are a few of the early days CD-Rs as they were not stored away from sunlight, some of them however do read in an older drive. Granted that I have not validated readability on all of my disks so there might be some problematic disks lurking within the collection, however this seems unlikely from my random samples.

Another point of reference: http://www.hughsnews.ca/faqs/authoritative-blu-ray-disc-bd-faq