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Posted on 04 July, 2016 in Blog

What makes Optical Media better in Data Archiving?

Paper hard copies and handwritten memorandums are gradually being replaced by digital file storage solutions used by corporations to archive all important information. Data storage and regular back up became a significant task for all sorts of private and public business enterprises, many of whom would simply store the data on internal back up servers with redundant array of independent disks (RAID) or on Cloud-based solutions, however these kind of “hot” backup solutions are not suitable for long-term data storage.

"Hot" backup data storage is usually made on HDDs
“Hot” backup data storage is usually made on HDDs


“Hot” backup is a data copy that is accessed relatively often, usually stored on hard drives and flash-memory devices. These data storage devices contain many electronic components, and therefore have a very limited lifespan. Another point to consider is that data on these devices may be easily modified, which makes them not ideal solutions from a security point of view. Long term data archiving requires both security and durability criteria to be met.

“Cold” backup methods, such as optical media and cassette tapes, allow storage of big data volumes for a long periods of time. It is called “cold” because the data that is stored with this method is usually not accessed very often and it cannot be modified. Once a file is recorded on a Read Only disc it remains unchanged, which is perfect for historical data archiving.

Lifespan comparison of different backup storage media
Lifespan comparison of different backup storage media


In 2005 Japanese Government approved Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS Z 6017), that require corporations to preserve digital data for a minimum of 10 years. The regulations included official recommendations to use optical media as a main choice of storage solution. With the release of a new format optical disc, storage capacity of one unit grew up to 100GB, which is another driving force behind this media becoming a reliable and low-cost backup solution.


Optical disc and drive technology has developed quickly in lifespan and storage capacity dimensions over the last decade. Pioneer introduced a brand new disc drive (BDR-PR1M series) that supports large capacity disc writing and additional error correction layers to minimize writing errors and improve disc quality. A wide range of industry players have already presented 50 /100GB storage capacity discs to the market some of which may last for up to 1000 years!