Optically stored data: How long should it last?

I just posted the article Optically stored data: How long should it last?.

 Anyone reading this very likely has data of some sort stored on 

optical discs. Music, information, movies etc., that you either bought
or created yourself. Arguably, the…

Read the full article here:  [http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/10042-Optically-stored-data-How-long-should-it-last.html](http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/10042-Optically-stored-data-How-long-should-it-last.html)

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Well, let’s see. I know certain wax cylinders are still around and can be read digitally and analogically. So are vinyl discs and to a lesser extent reel-to-reel and vcr tapes. So are certain drawings on cave walls. It’s all media in one form or another, so my answer is as long as possible. Certain products will always be migrated to the latest technology but do consumers want to keep doing that with their archives-and they’re building up terabytes now with home movies and music files. I’d really be disappointed in the cd/dvd industry if all the cds and dvds and blue-ray discs made would be unreadable in a couple of decades. It would be as though all our home publishing had been written on newsprint.

Keep in mind that the ability to read media pre-supposes the technology to read it is still available. While it is possible to read old tapes/etc., many companies don’t have the hardware to do so. I’ve run into many companies that keep and maintain VERY old systems ('60s and '70’s technology) for the sole purpose of maybe, someday, having to restore a backup. The scary part is that they actually think that those tapes will be readable today - chances are, the data is gone.

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news but most of the DVDs now are poorly made - even the more expensive ones… A study showed that on most tests, most DVDs failed the age testing. Whether you get tayo yuden, ricoh or whatever, don’t expect your stuff to last more than 5 years on your DVD and for the cheap crap, less than a year.

that’s crap. my 8 year old princo cd-r’s are still readable, and so are some no name 3+ year old dvds.

That’s true about cheap/noname discks - my CMC disks started failing after only two years. However I wouldn’t be so quick to judge TY. I have 6-7 year old TY CD-Rs that still read like new with minimal C1/C2 errors.

In all fairness, the media should outlive the person who buys or backs it up. In today’s world, assuming the youngest purchaser/burnee is about 14, this means that quality media should last an additional 60yrs, on average. Some of these figures are insane… 20yrs may seem fair, but tell that to archivists, who would probably tell you 150+yrs is much more fair. Look beyond the “it’s cool for now” factor, if your media can only last as long as that item is fashionable, then we’ve dug ourselves into a hole where data is a fad, or a marketing gimmick for companies to get you to re-purchase media every X years.

I agree with everyone who participated in the discussion here. My opinion is that when we reach 100 gb or more capacity on a disc,we all should make backup iso’s of our discs,the ones we can (unprotected ones),on a media that should last longer,and archive it. Surely you can buy one of those (when they come out) Gold archive DVD (or whatever) with capacity of 100 gb or more and store your information for almost 100 years. THe question that raises is,what will you read it on in lets say 40 years? And the simple answer is,migrate all that on a media that provides even more space and lifespan.