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A newsletter subscriber asked, "What is your media of choice today (and for the next few years)? Do you use gold DVDs for your backups?" I then decided to share my answer with all Plus Edition subscribers.
In short, I think the high-cost DVD-ROM and CD-ROM disks make for a waste of money when your only concern is backup storage. To be certain, if you would like to make sure that you can read your data tomorrow or next week, then good quality media is probably a good idea. But if you plan to read that disk five years from now or twenty-five years from now, no disk is going to do that reliably. This is true regardless of how much money you spend. Neither will any DVD or CD disk, jump drive, ZIP drive or any other form of electronic media that I can think of.
A high percentage of these devices WILL last that long, but do not plan on 100% of them remaining readable. There is no guarantee. My experience is that a small percentage of them will develop read errors within months, and then the percentage will grow and grow. For my critical data, I want guarantees, and I want 100% readability!
To be sure, good quality disks should last longer than cheap ones. But do you really expect to put any type of media on the shelf and then read it again years from now? I don't.
In my mind, the only guaranteed method of making sure that your information will be available many years from now is to do all of the following:
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