[conspire] DVD as backup media

Heather Stern star at starshine.org
Tue Aug 12 11:53:47 PDT 2003

On Sun, Aug 10, 2003 at 11:01:28PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Just posting some comments I made to a friend in private mail.
> > I am sure that your next machine will have a dvd burner. When you
> > consider that a dvd holds over 6 times as much as a cd, it makes
> > a great backup and think of how many fewer disks it would take
> > to hold all those different cd's full of distros you have.
> I suspect DVDs make good archival media but really dreadful backup
> media, for pretty much exactly the reasons that CDR[W] have been a dumb 
> choice before them:  Prices for DVD-R media seem variable and subject to
> gimmicky conditions, but generally run about $1 per disk in bulk, give
> or take.  Full-size DVD-RW media seem to run about $3 per disk in bulk.
> Experience with CDRW suggests that erasure is slow and doesn't work
> properly very many times in a row.

There's more than one reason that I refer to CDRW's as the new floppy.

In fact I do know people who religiously kept a tall stack of floppies
as their backup set, including occasional checks to make sure the media
was still any good.  Which frankly, puts them quite far past the bell
curve, it being that the average person only ever remembers to do
backups once in a long while, and quite a few people are too scared of
the gory technical details about getting 'em right to bother trying.

Tapes have the speed - and the durability - but you can't put a decent
amount of material on just one tape any more than you can put it on just 
one disc.  Even writable DVD's aren't offering consumer-level equipment
the 17G stuff ... and my drive is definitely filled with more than 17G
of stuff. 

Luckily most of it came from the 'net and could surely be gotten again
from there.  Additionally luckily some of it is merely me being a
packrat and I shouldn't shed tears over it if it were lost.  I'd be a
mite annoyed if some of my collection efforts disappeared for good,
but as I occasionally give them as toys to my friends I mostly have the
means to pick them back up again.  Yeah, it's not exactly everyone's
concept of "offsite backup".  That reminds me, my homedir is due for 
another burn to CD ... probably multiple CDs.  Not RW mind you - those 
I save for development efforts, so that I don't make coasters.

It doesn't entirely keep me from making coasters as some of my tests
happen to be on boxen that hate RW media.  *oh well*

I don't use DVD's for these quick burns because (a) we still haven't
beaten the one DVD burner around our place into submission **, and 
(b) not enough machines can read DVDs yet for me to think of these 
as universally re-readable.  Really.

** though my friend Duncan's notes may be helping me over this spot
soon.  I can hope.

  . | .   Heather Stern                  |         star at starshine.org
--->*<--- Starshine Technical Services - * - consulting at starshine.org
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