We all want our data to be safe and in Japan there is the so-called Electronic Books Preservation Act which mandates that certain types of tax-related data has to be preserved electronically for 100 years. But, so far, most recordable Blu-ray discs, a popular standard for cold storage, are not designed to last that long.
To enable its customers to comply with requirements for long term storage, Pioneer recently released the industry's first "DM for Archive" badged Blu-ray optical disc drive (ODD) and BD-R discs that promise to last for a century, reports PC Watch.
Long Term Storage Media Needed
The industry uses several types of media for storing digital data, the most popular are NAND flash, hard drives, tape, and optical discs and all of them can degrade over time. NAND memory can lose its electric charges, hard drives' mechanics can fail and the media's magnetic charge can wear out, tape can degrade and lose its magnetic charge and the foil used in optical discs can disintegrate over time. When stored properly (away from heat, humidity, UV rays), tapes can last 30 – 50 years.
According to the Canadian Conservation Institute, which publishes a paper on media longevity, BD-R discs are expected to last (opens in new tab) between 5 and 20 years, depending on the material they are made out of. BD-RE, which is erasable Blu-ray, is estimated for 20 to 50 years while DVD-R and CD-R, which hold a lot less data, can last 50 to 100 years.
To ensure that agencies comply with the 100-year requirement, the Japanese government has developed its JIS X6257 quality standard for optical discs and the recording methods used to write to them. Meanwhile the Japan Document Information Management Association (JIIMA) has defined a set of certification methods for optical media that complies with the JIS X6257 standard.
Discs recorded using an X6257-compliant method that pass JIIMA's tests — which are conducted accordance with the international ISO/IEC 16963:2017 standard for accelerated ageing test methods — are marked as DM for Archive.
Pioneer's DM for Archive ODD and BD-Rs
Pioneer's BDR-WX01DM Blu-ray recorder is the industry's first optical disc drive that meets the JIS X6257 requirements for disc quality and recording methods and therefore carries the DM for Archive mark. The drive also uses highly reliable motors, durable mechanical systems, and a dust shield structure, so it is somewhat more reliable than inexpensive optical disc drives for PCs.
The drive connects to its host PC using a USB 3.0 Type-A interface; its maximum writing speeds are 12x speed for BD-R, 16x speed for DVD-R, and 40x speed for CD-R media. The ODD is also compatible with M-Disc media (which uses glassy carbon for data layers that is inert for oxidation) that promises to last for 1,000 years.
The key selling point of the product is that it can record data using an X6257-compliant method that is supported by the bundled DM Archiver application which not only burns data using a certified technique, but can encrypt files, and check recording quality.
Meanwhile, Pioneer also sells its IPS-BD11J03P DM for Archive-badged BD-Rs that promise to be good enough to store data for 100 years or more if recorded using an X6257-compliant method. The disc itself uses a metal nitride membrane for data layers, just like other Blu-ray discs, and is compatible with all devices that can read Blu-ray.
Not So Cheap
Storing data for a century is not cheap. The Pioneer BDR-WX01DM costs ¥59,800 (around $400 without VAT), whereas a pack of three 25GB IPS-BD11J03P BD-Rs retails for ￥2,340 ($15.75 without a tax).
Keeping in mind that both the ODD and the media are generally meant to be used by government agencies as well as parties interested in storing data for the long term, the price is hardly something that will scare them off. Furthermore, even DM for Archive discs have to be stored in special environments to ensure their safety, which means additional costs. While it is recommended that long-term storage facilities are located in earthquake-resistant buildings with fire prevention equipment, discs have to be stored at 10°C to 25°C with humidity between 40% and 60% (note that humidity of 60% can be harmful for things like tape).
While BD-Rs that are meant to last for 100 years represent a major achievement, we can only wonder whether someone will still be manufacturing optical disc drives some 100+ years down the road and if there will still be PCs that can connect to them? Anyway, while 100 years for DM for Archive BD-Rs and 1,000 years for M-Discs seems impressive, it looks like the best way of preserving data for personal use is to back it up regularly to multiple sources.
Pentagon is still using 8" floppy from 50 years ago today. There are also many punched card machines still working. Microfiche was invented 90+ years ago and many, many libraries still have them to read old newspapers and periodicals. National Archive certainly can still play wax cylinders from 19th century.
How old is this guy? Here is something a hipster should even get of the meaning perspective. Vinyl was commercialized just over 100 years ago.
Buy games on GoG which doesn't use DRM, copy them onto these discs, and no one can take your games away from you.
Laugh when Steam shuts down their service and no one can access their games anymore.
Whether or not we will still have devices that can ues Blu Ray is irrelevant. I'm sure there will be a handful, just like there's still a few Beta-Max's kickin' around somewhere. It's the issue of.... whats the point? Blu Rays are 50GB. n 100 years, we will have 50PB USB flash drives, and 50EB hard drives. Ya. Pentagon still uses floppies, that's because it would be a nightmare to try and completely overhaul a massive system like that. It would cost billions and a lot of manpower. But it's not that hard to choose to digitally download a song in 10 seconds as apposed to driving to a store to buy a CD
Why do you think that though.
The largest data on a consumer PC is probably games nowadays.
And we are already at a limit there. More detailed textures and sound is barely noticeable and developers are under time constraints to create all these assets.
I don't see how storage (at least for consumers) will go much beyond maybe 20 TB before it becomes pretty pointless to add more.
The last sentence of the article talks about it
"Anyway, while 100 years for DM for Archive BD-Rs and 1,000 years for M-Discs seems impressive, it looks like the best way of preserving data for personal use is to back it up regularly to multiple sources. "
Today, a game can take up to 100GB.
1,000 times larger, in 30 years.