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Magneto-Optical Storage: Fujitsu DynaMO 1300 Pocket

Backwards Compatibility

The media are about the size of a ZIP diskette, regardless of the capacity.

Another positive with the Fujitsu MOs is the fact that all drives are compatible with the next version down. Thus, the 1300 model can also read and write media of 128 MB, 230 MB, 540 MB and 640 MB. So previously, you could bet that buying the latest drive would let you continue to use older media - an important factor above all considering the possible length of time between archives, as the drive will probably sooner bite the dust than the media.

Price Per MegaByte

The question remains how much the MO alternative will set you back. The following table doesn't quite work as, admittedly, we are comparing apples with oranges. In practice, however, these are the most-used alternatives, even when not always the most sensible:

MediumCapacityPrice per GBAvailabilityService life
MO medium1.3 GB~ $ 12Specialty storeUp to 50 years
CD-RW700 MB~ $ 1.00Just about everywhere5 to approx. 15 years *
DVD±RW4.7 GB~ $ 0.90Just about everywhere5 years and up **
External hard drive< 250 GB~ $ 1.50Specialty storeVaries ***
* The service life of written CD blanks is difficult to predict. 15 years-20 years in ideal storage is perfectly feasible, even if we have found some media that cause read errors after just a year.** No practical data available in this area yet.*** Unfortunately the danger of hard-drive defects compared to other storage media is distinctively high. We therefore warn against using a hard drive as the sole archiving medium.

We consciously used the prices for rewritable optical storage media in the table since their comparability with those for MOs should remain as great as possible.

The big plus in the price-capacity stakes should be treated cautiously as CDs and DVDs deteriorate measurably after each new write operation. Of the 1,000 theoretically possible write operations, often not even 200 operations are possible in practice.