Going Blu-Ray. Seeking for advice

vbimport

#1

Hi.

The sheer amount of (burned) DVD spindles in my shelves are starting to make me uncomfortable, so I am thinking about going BR for my archiving needs. In the long term, I’m aiming to burn al those terabytes to BR disks, but now I am facing some issues I don’t have the slightest idea of.

At first sight, it seems that the BR technology is still very green. From what I have seen there is no consensus about which media are reliable for long term backups and such critical stuff. But I guess that BR is the future, so the sooner I’ll start with it the better I’ll be.

So, the questions:

First, what is a good drive to start with? As I burn from time to time, I do it quite intensely, burning lots of data in periods of maybe 3 o 4 days I devote almost entirely to burning. Following the advice I got from here back in the day, I have been using 2 DVD writers sharing the burning and verifying duties and I’ve been very happy with that.

As BR burners aren’t exactly cheap, I am buying by now just a single drive. Besides the average LGs, I am eyeing 2 burners: Pioneer BDR-207DBK and Liteon iHBS112. I’m not interested in quality scans and stuff like that. I just burn, verify (ImgBurn) and store. I just want good, reliable and durable burns. Which one should I pick?

Second, the media. It seems that Verbatim (which is what I have been using for years in DVD) isn’t what it used to be, and reading that LTH stuff made me sick. From what I have been reading, good media for long term backups seem to be SONY…NN3 blanks (I’d buy them from here). Are these reliable? Can I trust them or should I look elsewhere? Really, I am lost and clueless here. BTW, I’m an eurofag, so no Falcons near me.

Third, the burning speed. I used to burn DVDs at 4x, but I was told that, with faster rated media, I should burn faster, which I’ve been happily and issue-free doing for years.

It meant going from 5 MB/ (at 4x) to 11 MB/s, which seemed OK for my computer. But I’ve seen that BR burns at 4x (18 MB/s) achieve more quality than burns at 2x (9 MB/s), which is the rough equivalent to my current 8x DVD speed.

Problem is that I don’t know if my HDDs would be able to feed data to the burner at such (4x) rate. They are regular SATA II HDDs hooked to my aging computer (a P35 chipset-based board run by a Core2Duo E6750). Will the HDDs be OK feeding a BR burner working at 4x or will they struggle giving me buffer issues that hinder recording quality?

TIA.


#2

Welcome to the forums.

I would pick the Pioneer drive. They have had an excellent reputation over the past few years, and I haven’t heard anything to the contrary regarding the 207.

For media available to you from Nierle, the Panasonic discs should be very good. They are printable, but seem to be the only Panasonic discs at that site. And they are slightly less expensive than the Sony.

I started burning blu ray on a Core2 based machine and SATA II. I never had issues burning at 4x.


#3

Thanks for the answers.

I’ve been doing some calculations taking in account the amount of data I’m going to backup (which is roughly 4 TB) and I found that the cheapest and quickest way of doing it might be buying a couple of 2 TB HDDs and a pair of enclosures to use them as external drives. I’m going to stay away from BDs until things and prices settle down a bit.

I’m going to search for a bit of info on HDDs as a backup solution. Given my usual routine of backing up and storing forever, they might have to stay untouched for 5+ years and work OK when I need the data. I hope they can do that.


#4

I would agree with Kerry. For a single drive solution in a case where you are willing to use BD-R’s that are known for consistent good quality, the Pioneer would be a good choice.

On the media front, I would choose those Panasonic over the Sonys for a couple reasons. 1. I would not trust that Nierle is opening the spindles of new Sony stock as they come in, and Sony has been substituting other media in their spindles on a regular basis. 2. Those NN3s are almost certainly made by Ritek, and we see some evidence that Ritek NN3 may not be quite up to the standards of Sony Japan NN3. While I might still prefer an NN3 to a BR2 or PHILIPR04, you have another good option. The Panasonics.

You can use a drive benchmark utility like ATTO disk benchmark or Crystal disc mark to test your HDDs and put your mind at ease.


#5

Most of the people I’ve talked to about storing information on hard drives long term say that you should spin the drives up periodically. They do have mechanical parts, with bearings, so this type of maintenance makes sense.


#6

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2660576]Most of the people I’ve talked to about storing information on hard drives long term say that you should spin the drives up periodically. They do have mechanical parts, with bearings, so this type of maintenance makes sense.[/QUOTE]

Yes. I suspected so. I plan to backup and create MD5 and PAR2 files for my data. Then I’ll check the drives against the MD5 files every month or so so they make a bit of gym.

It seems that HDDs have some kind of grease to keep their inner mechanicals working and that they have to move frequently.

What likes me more about optical disks is that they give the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, once they have been burned, nothing will modify the data on them. It’s going to be hard to find a compromise between having the HDDs hold the data optical-wise (i mean, untouchably read-only) and making them spin on a regular basis.


#7

For external HDDs, I use a 2Tb limit because those are compatible across a wide range of older PCs, 32-bit machines, Macs, etc.

The only issue with HDDs is that they die eventually, too, and the more I store on an HDD, the more I risk, therefore. “Welcome to the Backups Of Backups Department… how may I help you?”

I have preference towards buying the HDD and the external case for two reasons: (1) I can find the same power-brick routinely, meaning I don’t have to carry external case and its unique name-brand power-brick, and (2) if there’s a failure, it’s usually the case’s power-supply, not the HDD.

All things considered, HDDs are likelier to last than an equivalent handful of BDs, and probably longer considering the moving-target of optical disk standards and manufacturing quality-control.

But we’re all in the same boat.


#8

[QUOTE=importantmember;2660581]
What likes me more about optical disks is that they give the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, once they have been burned, nothing will modify the data on them. It’s going to be hard to find a compromise between having the HDDs hold the data optical-wise (i mean, untouchably read-only) and making them spin on a regular basis.[/QUOTE]

This is why some of us have been searching for a good level of confidence in Blu-ray backups to give an alternative to the mechanical failures inherent in HDD. At this point, I’ve seen two independent tests indicating Panasonic is not lying about the long term archival viability of their BD-R. The low level of maintenance with the BD solution makes them one of my choices for backup.

My own tests of the Pannys at near 2 years shows essentially 0 degradation. It looks very encouraging.


#9

MY issues with optical backup is that they deteriorate even if stored perfectly
They are slow to read the data back and they are painfully slow to write the
data to.

I have hard drives storing data that have been undisturbed for 15 years.
they are heat sealed into anti-static bags.

drives wear most during spin-up and spin down. even moving one
increases the risk that you could drop one during handling.

Optical disc fail just from age, a harddrive that is sealed-up
and undisturbed is as secure as an undiscovered mummy.

I gave up on optical storage when I calculated the price per Gb.

And on a good day I could write a 250gb hard drive FULL, package it so
anything short of volcanic activity wouldn’t endanger it and move
onto the next one in the time it took me to do the same thing to
five or six of those DVD discs.

So HDD’s are not only many times more reliable than optical discs
they are >10 times as fast.

Choose the HDD not by size, but by price per Gb.

The current price winner is:
1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 5400rpm (6.0) @$79 $17.18/gb

close:
Western Digital WD Green WD25EZRX 2.5TB SATA 6.0Gb/s
retails for $132.99 + $7.28 shipping @$0.1775/gb

The cheapest 3Tb drive I can find is:
Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
Retails for $149.99 (free shipping) $0.2000/Gb

For archive storage $/GB is all that matters

And on that note: If you really want to be cheap use cheaper “Recertified” drives.

I’d run them for a month in general service before wiping and error checking,
but never forget they are going to spend their lives wrapped up like an electronic
mummy sealed in a fireproof tomb.

Just before the HDD price insanity I bought a 2TB Seagate, my only active Seagate
drive. (everything else I have is WD)
I bought a “Green” drive because they supposedly run cooler and this one was
intended to be an archive drive in an external housing with an “OFF” switch,
which is how it spends it’s life. The drive is switched off and the wall wort
P/S for the enclosure has it’s own off switch on the power strip.

Most of my archive backups are on SATA notebook drives that I or customers
outgrew, and they are mounted in eSATA enclosures. that have their own padded
cases. I still keep them in a foam lined drawer.


#10

:bow:
Allan’s opened the door on a different issue but one every archivalist deals with.

“Gee - what’s on this one?!!”

CDs were relatively simple but does anyone really want to wade thru 17 CDs to find that one special WAV or photo? Ugh. We’ve all done it a few times. Hardly anyone wants to volunteer to do it more.

DVDs and BDs, then HDD capacities… they don’t beg for a readable print-out solution - they SCREAM for it.

I’d like to hear about solutions folks use. And NO, none of those “I write really teeny-weeny” solutions either! (I’m saving that one for myself!):disagree:


#11

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2660695]“Gee - what’s on this one?!!” [/QUOTE] One possible answer, and the one I use, is: WhereIsIt? (Shareware)

I used to use it for CD/DVD content, but now I mainly use it for archival harddrives.


#12

[QUOTE=AllanDeGroot;2660619]MY issues with optical backup is that they deteriorate even if stored perfectly
They are slow to read the data back and they are painfully slow to write the
data to.

I’d run them for a month in general service before wiping and error checking,
but never forget they are going to spend their lives wrapped up like an electronic
mummy sealed in a fireproof tomb.

Just before the HDD price insanity I bought a 2TB Seagate, my only active Seagate
drive. (everything else I have is WD)
I bought a “Green” drive because they supposedly run cooler and this one was
intended to be an archive drive in an external housing with an “OFF” switch,
which is how it spends it’s life. The drive is switched off and the wall wort
P/S for the enclosure has it’s own off switch on the power strip.[/QUOTE]

Great post. This is exactly what I was willing to read, because I also plan to copy data then store mummy way.

You talk about drives keeping data for many years using HDDs. But I am concerned about the maintenance they require. Do you plug them in the computer regularly? Are you doing something special to take care of them, avoid mechanical laziness, keep the fluids smooth and such things? This is very important, because the user can indeed make a huge difference in the drive durability.

I’m also eyeing a couple of 2 TB WD Greens. The only thing remaining is a good enclosure with decent cooling. Any ideas? Preferably it has to feature eSATA connection, because I’ve just happily found that my motherboard has 2 eSATA plugs in the back. They were hidden by the metal plate all those years.

Lastly, do you recommend partitioning them or just using the whole space in a single partition? Does it matter regarding data safety and reliability?

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2660713]One possible answer, and the one I use, is: WhereIsIt? (Shareware)

I used to use it for CD/DVD content, but now I mainly use it for archival harddrives.[/QUOTE]

I also use WhereIsIt, albeit and older (3.x) version. I can’t stand the modern Ribbonesque interface. Every single optical media I have ever recorded is there, and it can catalog HD partitions or just folders as well.

There are free alternatives (like this, this or this) but I started using WII many years ago and I am now locked into its proprietary catalog format. There is a freeware viewer which I could use to get rid of it, but it is handling huge catalogs (for example, a single catalog with 1,69 TB of CDs and DVDs with every single file in them indexed, even the ones inside zips and rars) flawlessly, so I’m sticking with it. Besides, the program can export the catalogs to a wide variety of formats, including database (SQLite or whatever), Excel, text and even PDF. It can be thrown away safely if it goes the Nero route or something like that.


#13

If the drive is good when you seal it up in it’s wrappings the safest thing to do with it is NOTHING, “spinning them up from time to time”? why? you think the drive knows you are spinning it up every six months or every six years?

I’ve pulled drives out of the drawer that have been wrapped up like Tutankhamun, that have been that way since Clinton was president, they still work fine.

Obviously I don’t need or want access to that data very often.

I actually have a big box of new anti-static bags and a heat sealer.
When I seal up a drive I don’t want to be unsealing it.

As for “What’s on it?” For me a simple Post-It note that says
"Wav archive 22MAR12" is generally sufficient, but I make two
post-it notes and one is sealed INSIDE the anti-static bag.
The other is under the outermost layer of polyethylene bag.

I often print out a directory of the drive (that’s fun:)

I have two kinds of data archives long term and rotating short term.

The short term drives are always out


#14

[QUOTE=AllanDeGroot;2660723]If the drive is good when you seal it up in it’s wrappings the safest thing to do with it is NOTHING, “spinning them up from time to time”? why? you think the drive knows you are spinning it up every six months or every six years?[/QUOTE]

No, but I’ve read that the mechanical nature of these drives require them to move regularly, which makes sense to me. And losing 2 TB of data is not losing a 512 MB drive from 1996. Is losing a lot of data. I want to be sure about what I have in my hands.

Besides, I’ve seen that good external enclosures are expensive and bulky. They have even dedicated fans. I’m thinking about buying one of these docks:

They are open, so it may help with heat. I’ll store the drives inside anti-static bags when not using.

At first sight, my only concern is the vertical position the drives operate in with these docks. Is that something to worry about or are they safe?


#15

The drive positions should not be a concern. If a drive fails in ‘that’ position, it was going to fail in any other. Theoretically, that is. And we all know we live in A Perfect World where every theory works perfectly. cough cough…

These are “sleds” and I have one useability issue with Sleds - you can’t see the alignment as they match up - or don’t.

I love the concept of a sled but these are “pure genuine plastic”, remember, and their guidance systems (OK, laugh - but what else can you call it?) are necessarily loose and inexact.

See the back of a SATA connector? You’ve got metal ‘teeth’ and another pure plastic piece that’s an insert-guide-hood. Once that plastic piece snaps off, now that SATA connector has alignment issues.

Sleds, by design, have loose tolerances and will place far greater stress on every plastic part, as well as the metal connector ‘teeth’.

I love the concept of Sleds. But I find it is superior to see my connector, up-close and personal, as I plug in the cables. The Sled seems so easy to use, and I wonder how many are damaged by that greater ‘use’ than having a single external case-per-HDD?

(Thanks also for the comments about WII and, of course, leave it to Allan to bring up the Writes Teeny on Post It Note method. Stealing MY methods, eh?!!)


#16

Allan’s opened the door on a different issue but one every archivalist deals with.

“Gee - what’s on this one?!!”

CDs were relatively simple but does anyone really want to wade thru 17 CDs to find that one special WAV or photo? Ugh. We’ve all done it a few times. Hardly anyone wants to volunteer to do it more.

DVDs and BDs, then HDD capacities… they don’t beg for a readable print-out solution - they SCREAM for it.

I’d like to hear about solutions folks use. And NO, none of those “I write really teeny-weeny” solutions either! (I’m saving that one for myself!):disagree:[/QUOTE]

It’s relatively easy, if you store just one or two things per media (as in movie backups and such) - store alphabetically. And maybe with pictures - chronologically.

But as media sizes grow, things will get drastically more complex.

Tried to print multi-page booklets on DVD:s, and that’s fine if you don’t have whole lot of them. But if there’s - let’s say 500 discs - it’d be stupid.

My solution is that when I burn a disc - let’s say that it contains a movie, two episodes of a series and a documentary - I have a html form (runs on a browser) which let’s me type in the titles which are on the disc and other stuff like starring actors, plot outline, episode numbers, keywords etc. etc.

When I’m all done, I push a button and a javascript adds discs titles and information on an XML-file.

When I need to locate a certain file. I open a html-java page (on a browser) that reads and parses information from the XML-file the way I see fit (f.ex. “Show all documentaries”). Just Ctrl+F and type in what you need to find.


#17

I don’t even try “Writing tiny”

One drive is an “160k mp3 archive” another is a "320k mp3 archive"
That and a Date is all I need to know what’s on the drive.

15YEARS of archived buisness e-mail fits easily on a single 2gb memory stick

Basically my entire digitized Audio and Video archive could fit in a shoe box
if I didn’t mind stuffing a couple T-shirts int he box with it to keep stuff from rattling.

>80% of my music collection I actually have on physical media
yet I protect my compressed working files like I didn’t have the CDs

What I’m really protecting is not the music itself or more exactly the
mp3 files, but rather the time spent ripping, tagging and organizing.

Frankly I believe more music files are “lost” from poor organization
than actual drive failure, and what’s worse is because people don’t know
they’ve lost it, they buy duplicate files because they don’t know
what they’ve already got when a drive actually fails they have no clear
idea what they’ve lost.

I learned data protection the hard way, I lost my entire music library
not once but twice due to drive failures.

But what’s worse is I people backing up stuff that simply doesn’t
need to be backed up.

AD


#18

Well, I’ve finally received my drives and the external dock.

The drivers are 2 TB WD Greens. They are pleasantly quiet (inaudible even in the open dock at 10 inches of my ears, which is impressive) and speed is OK (eSATA).

I’ve set the head parking to 300 seconds instead of the factory set 8 and copied (just copied, not moved, until the drives prove themselves a bit) some gigabytes. Drives are stored now in a closet inside their static bags. In a year or so I’ll buy 2 more drives to mirror these. That’ll be enough I think.

For long term storage, I’ve bought a couple of these boxes. They are far from pretty, but they are filled with foam and come with anti-static bags. And, best of all, they are really cheap. I think the drives will stay fine inside them.

Regarding the connectors issue on the dock, I see no problem there as long as the drive is plugged and unplugged carefully, because the drives don’t rest on the connector but on the front of the bay. They don’t seem to be stressed at all.


#19

[B]I would get one of these.

TURTLE HARD DRIVE CASE

:cool::cool:

[/B]



#20

Not sure if this is on topic or not, but I am copying my optical media collection to the HDDs. I have started from the beginning, which is 2001, and every single CD but one has been perfectly copied. The drives have not struggled a single time with them.

This is encouraging and has strengthened my faith in optical media. These media are 11 year old and they seem to be shit tier brands (Princo and Woxter CD-Rs), but they can still be read.

Let’s see how DVDs behave when I arrive to them, but if they read OK I’d probably mirror my HDDs into BDs, which was my initial plan.