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Topic # 87903 10-Aug-2011 10:13
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I have a customer who wants to have a suitable backup copy of the various family tree files on her computer which she can pass on to the next generation of her family when the time comes.

So i was thinking about it and thought
- Blank CDROM only lasts 10 years
- Memory stick or thumb drive is probably not that reliable when presented with static electricity in a handbag

My answer was an external hard drive. I can still read a 200mb hard drive from the 80's

Can anyone else suggest any suitable media? Hard drive is the best i can come up with.




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  Reply # 504228 10-Aug-2011 10:19
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Flash media is probably more reliable long term assuming it's not read/written to very often. The no-moving-parts thing has to be better than hard drive platters.

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  Reply # 504230 10-Aug-2011 10:24
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There's a saying: hard disks used to be small, slow, expensive and unreliable. Now they're big, fast, cheap and unreliable.

The fact that you can still read a 200MB drive from the 80s is something of a miracle, IMHO, considering:

* You can't get a controller that will talk to it for a modern computer
* An old computer that DOES have the controller is, well, an old computer
* A drive that sits powered off in a box for 20 years gums up - the grease lubricating the moving parts decays and becomes gluey

So, I'm not disputing that you *could* do it, if you knew what you were doing, simply that you cannot expect to put a USB hard disk in a safe, and expect a non antique hardware expert to be able to do anything useful with it, if indeed it spins up at all.




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  Reply # 504233 10-Aug-2011 10:30
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google docs (or facebook) store things forever :)
Dropbox is another good sync app to keep family all updated with the same content?
A flash drive in a anti-static bag in a safe, only removed and updated when you need to?

I personally have an account on MyHeritage.com to store my info

cheers
b




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  Reply # 504235 10-Aug-2011 10:33
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icepicknz: google docs (or facebook) store things forever :)
Dropbox is another good sync app to keep family all updated with the same content?
A flash drive in a anti-static bag in a safe, only removed and updated when you need to?

I personally have an account on MyHeritage.com to store my info

cheers
b


I wouldn't be relying on the cloud for long term storage, something physical trumps logical any day of the week.   

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  Reply # 504236 10-Aug-2011 10:35
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Nope... These things go out of business. Funding dries up. Technology changes. I would use online storage for medium term storage, with access, and use USB attached storage (either SSD or USB sticks, no HDD) to copy things and store away in a vault.





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  Reply # 504241 10-Aug-2011 10:44
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Ray this is a real problem. I suspect the answer is going to become trusted data store providers who you pay to keep data safe over time. But who the hell do you trust? My observation is everyone seems to crash from time to time. Everyone tells you that they provide six 9's of up time and they have unhackable systems etc...

Telecom is a multi billion dollar company with resources... yet it can't bill customers correctly...

Google is a multi multi billion dollar company yet it has staff who hack into email accounts and they loose data from time to time...

If I give my photos to a third party should I encrypt the files in to a store like 'CrashPlan'? Should I then change the password from time to time? Ok, all good so far... but then what happens if I change the pwd this morning, get hit by the bus while getting lunch and didn't get a chance to email the new password to my family members?

Interestingly I'm wondering if 'CrashPlan' might be one of the solutions... (or something like it), where you can just store your folder locally, but then mirror your content to folders on other machines on other networks.

So your customer could just mirror the files to her family now, but because CrashPlan keeps the backups upto date, every time she adds something, it will be updated.

Feature of CP I like is that it can mirror to more than one location.








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  Reply # 504245 10-Aug-2011 10:48
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freitasm: Nope... These things go out of business. Funding dries up. Technology changes.


I totall agree with my latter suggestions however I doubt google will be going anywhere any time soon. Google docs allows you to share files between people, provided at least one family member is still alive they will be aware of any changes that may take place and be able to change the storage option but in my opinion google docs would be the longest lasting online storage option.

With regards to dropbox, the files are stored on every local PC connected to the dropbox group as well as online, so should the service stop the web storage, you'd still have a local copy on all the PC's you invited into the group so the next best bet I'd go for after google docs / ssd or usb.




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  Reply # 504246 10-Aug-2011 10:51
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freitasm: Nope... These things go out of business. Funding dries up. Technology changes. I would use online storage for medium term storage, with access, and use USB attached storage (either SSD or USB sticks, no HDD) to copy things and store away in a vault.



I think I agree, although data stored in flash degrades slowly over time too. The trapped charges that cause a bit to flip from it's ground state to it's opposite state eventually leak away over time. IIRC flash lasts around 5 years before the bit error rate becomes 'serious'. Of course what constitutes 'serious' corruption depends very much on what bits got corrupted.




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  Reply # 504269 10-Aug-2011 11:36
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Why not use archive grade CD-R's or better still a combination of this and other storage?

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  Reply # 504270 10-Aug-2011 11:36
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CDs will degrade over time - and pretty quickly if not stored in less than perfect conditions.




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  Reply # 504274 10-Aug-2011 11:43
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Storing it on the PC, on a external USB hard drive and online (there are many options) somewhere would seem sensible to me.

There are a large number of applications that you could use to manage keeping these in sync and maintaining a version history.

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  Reply # 504277 10-Aug-2011 11:50
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freitasm: CDs will degrade over time - and pretty quickly if not stored in less than perfect conditions.


Thats why I mentioned an archive grade CD-R which use gold rather than a silver protective layer. Silver is prone to oxidation over time, hence deterioration, whereas gold is inert and avoids this problem.

Overall no long term backup medium is going to be perfect without regular checking, and refreshing of the medium to keep pace with technology changes.

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  Reply # 504442 10-Aug-2011 15:11
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At the rate CDs are drying up I wouldn't give the CD drive more than 10 years left.

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  Reply # 504462 10-Aug-2011 15:35
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I'd use multiple storage mediums.. use DVD-Rs, flash, backup harddrives and 2 (or more) cloud storage devices..

Store hashes of all the files along side them and check that each medium has them stored correctly every year or so.

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  Reply # 504490 10-Aug-2011 16:12
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Multiple media and locations is the only way to ensure you keep your data. I rely on hard drives in three locations.




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