Reliable Data Archival

I have read several threads on this forum stating that the most reliable source of data archival is another hard drive. I am about to receive my mini-DV camcorder and I want to preserve these memories with relative confidence that the information will be present when I come back to them in a few years. I was wondering what is more likely to fail in the coming years: three copies of the same DVD+R or a hard drive? As a friend pointed out, backing up with a DVD+R is cheaper at this time than some hard drives with a drive enclosure (at 50 cents for Fuji branded TY’s per 4.7GB, even triple copies is cheaper than a 200GB drive for the same amount of space). Certainly, I wouldn’t want cost to be a concern to keeping these memories intact, but at the same time, if the likelihood of triple copy failure is remote, I think I would rather do triple copy.

If your looking for data security, DVD-RAM is the most secure optical afordable storage right now. It’s more reliable then a harddrive as it is impervious to magnetig fields. It is also way more resitant if you drop it and it is always protected in its cartridge.(Assuming you get the cartridged version)

If you want something even more secure then this, you can go for an MO (magneto-optical) drive. Those are even more expensive but will offer even more peace of mind as it is virtually impossible to erase the data on them withought doing so in the drive itself.

The harddrive is the least secure medium out of these 3.

Hope this helps,


I would put my trust in a few copies made on good quality DVD+R’s than a hard drive - not only more reliable but hell of alot cheaper.

hmmm…the best would be a raid 1 configuration. It would be the safest but its too expensive. I would go for DVD-RAM in cartridges but the problem with these is that only Panasonic and some other drives can handle those at the moment (LG drives do not support DVD-RAM in cartridge). The MO is a real reliable media but if you think that you have to get a MO drive it is better to get a DVD-RAM drive which will also be able to burn CD-Rs and DVD-Rs as well (price of an MO drive and DVD-RAM drive should be around the same). Also the DVD-RAM offers more capacity than the MO.

Everyone is giving you pretty good tips. I have a 20 gig Travan drive, my DVD Writers, external Hard Drives, and I have gotten to where I mainly only use DVD+R (TY). The main thing I would recommend is to keep a “backup” offsite somewhere. A safety deposit box is a good place. You wouldn’t have to keep ALL of your backups offsite, but I would recommend maybe a annual or semi-annual backup be stored at another location in case of fires, etc… Those memories and data are impossible to replace, but unfortunately people realize that AFTER they’re gone.

Indeed, many of these advices are good. I’m trying to find the sweet spot between cost effectiveness and reliability. I suspect that I will quickly consume a 250GB hard drive for an external enclosure. I have a DVD+R drive and have recently purchased Fuji Branded TYG02’s. Having read about the reliability of DVD+R/-R’s, I’m wary of losing valuable data and memories, but I wonder if mulitple copies are as reliable as a hard drive which also could be subject to failure.

An additional step would be to periodically test backup media. One way to do this is Using a utility such as CD Check or FSUM to generate a checksum file.

Good Luck