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Re: tapes best for backup?

On Jan 5, 2008, at 8:06 AM, Douglas A. Tutty wrote:
I started this thread on debian-user after a thread on OpenBSD berated
someone for relying on CD/DVDs for backups and archives because they
fade over time.

If that's the concern, why not copy the archived material to new media every five years or so? The discs aren't that expensive, and experience seems to suggest that the data is pretty safe for that time period. Keeping the current and previous copy would add another layer of safety -- two copies are unlikely to both get damaged in exactly the same spot.

I actually think this is a good idea for any archival media, including tape. Tape can fail due to age when the binder breaks down -- I haven't seen this specifically with data tape, but I've seen 20 year old videotapes that were shedding iron oxide at a pretty distressing rate. The favored tape formats also change every few years and working drives for obsolete formats can be very hard to find. I ran across a stack of QIC-40 cartridges a while back and realized if I'd wanted what was on them, I'd have had a hard time. The drives were kind of flimsy and required a 5.25" floppy controller. Also the sync track was on the edge of the tape, exactly where it was most prone to damage.

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