Whether it’s the media files of a memorable family trip or the important business data, no one can predict the time for which it may last. We might think that once digital data has been stored over the internal hard drive then it will remain there for an infinite period of time. But we must not forget that every material thing has a life and with the passage of time its life as well as performance deteriorates.
A question arises that if this is the case with a storage device, then how can someone be sure that their important data will always remain available to them? This question becomes more sensitive, especially where technological advancements have resulted in the obsoletion of certain storage devices. For example, we have seen floppy disks becoming obsolete. Now imagine that what might have happened to the data on the floppy disk which hasn’t been transferred to some other storage device such as external drive.
Since modern computers no longer support floppy disks, so what that has been stored there, is now inaccessible. The same is the case with CDs and DVDs as today’s laptops do not have in-built CD/DVD-ROM. But in this lieu, the situation isn’t as bad as that of the floppy disk because a user can still use CD or DVD by using an external CD/DVD ROM.
How to Ensure Long-term Storage?
From the above literature, it is very much clear that the life of f must be kept in mind. It should be the mandatory factor that needs to be taken into account while choosing the storage media. No one can predict that when he or she will feel the need to access the data.
Long term data storage will not only ensure the on-the-go access to the data, but it is also true in case of managing the backups and disaster recovery plans. In either of the situation, long term storage does have a very strong standing. In lieu of these concerns, the following are some of the best ways to ensure long term data storage:
Cloud storage is indeed the best way to store data for a longer period of time. By opting for cloud storage, the user will get high-quality data security as well as reliable data storage. Data protection is ensured with the employment of end-to-end encryption.
Generally, all cloud service providers provide few GBs of free storage to the clients to see if this works fine for them or not. This storage capacity can be upgraded by paying some premiums. A client just needs an internet connection and all of his or her data will be stored in the cloud.
One of the prime reasons for which cloud storage is recommended for managing long term storage is their remotely located storage mediums. Furthermore, they make redundant copies of the user’s data on multiple servers, over different locations. This technique ensures that user data will always remain accessible and will remain on their server as long as the user remains subscribed.
External Hard Drives
External hard drives are an excellent way to store and access important data for a longer period of time. A user just needs to copy the important files on the connected disk drive in the same manner as we copy files to some other folder. Hard drives are commonly known as the primary storage medium.
Although, they have wired connectivity, but recently wireless hard drives have also been introduced. They usually have a minimum life span of eight years. However, their life depends largely on the manufacturing brand and the nature of usage. Eight years isn’t a definite lifetime, instead, they keep on working for a longer period of time if used carefully.
CDs or DVDs
Although preparing data backups on the optical discs seems to be quite an old-fashioned way, but still, they are a feasible way to retain data for a longer period of time. A single CD can store data up to 700 MB, a single unit of DVD can store data of 4.7 GB, and the consumer level Blu-Ray disks can store data up to 25GB.
Another advantage is their economical price range. But their low shell life tends to decrease their relevance for long-term data storage. However, recently Sony has made a claim that their Blu-Ray disks are capable of sustaining the life span of over fifty years. It must be noted that if this claim is to be believed, even then such high performance disks will not be for domestic use. Furthermore, how life longing can it be? Obviously, any disk media can crap out. But they can be an excellent secondary storage medium as they enjoy the average lifespan of at least five years.
Flash Drives are also known as USB drives. They are currently more expensive than an external hard drive or optical storage drives. But since they do not have any moving part, neither are they as crappy as CDs, so users can trust them for a longer life span.
USB manufacturers claim that their flash drives are capable enough to store data at least for ten years. However, tech reviews say that their memory cells can deteriorate if they are left unpowered and idle for a long time.
Whatever critics say, there is no doubt that they are the smartest and handy data storage devices. For example, imagine carrying 50GB of data on 10 DVDs, and the same amount of data on 4kg external hard drive. Whereas the same amount of data can easily be stored in the finger size USB drive.
Choosing the best long-term storage device is quite a tricky job to do. It is because this choice depends entirely on the area of the application and preferences of the user. For being on the safer side, it is always recommended to store data over two or three different storage mediums. So that if one fails, others should have the data.