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At 02:17 PM 5/8/2006, Christina Hostetter wrote:
>Good Afternoon.  I am in the middle of a debate on what is the best way
>to store large quantities of digital media (audio, video, and images).
>I have always been under the impression that for such large quantities
>of information and such large files a dedicated server (or servers) is
>the best way to go as opposed to external hard drives or CD-ROM.

I would think that you're onto something here. A managed central 
store or repository is a process, not a piece of hardware.

What do you consider "large quantities?"

The common large repository architecture today is a combination of 
servers (typically RAID) and redundant data tape copies, with one set 
off site and the active set in a robotic archive.

My personal small-office implementation is triple redundant, 
non-RAIDed 1250 GB of storage, with one store in the adjacent 
dwelling unit connected by fibre optics.

>Our IT manager had this to say: Our servers have only lasted about 5
>years before requiring replacement.  I wonder what makes you think
>servers are appropriate for storing large amounts of data?

My reply to him would have been, "Have you ever lost any data when 
you replaced a server?"

>He is suggesting that we use external hard drives

I would prefer to see these connected even if spun down. I don't like 
the concept of hard-drive-on-shelf. If you do that, three drives that 
are tested annually would be a compromise.

>or CD-ROM

650 MB/disc?
"large quantities"
0.65 GB /disc
"large quantities"

Even at 4700 MB/disc, gold DVD-Rs from MAM-A are small. I just did an 
audio project where my client was waiting for the MAM-A gold discs 
and I sent him 15 DVD-Rs. 4.7 GB is better than 0.65 GB, but still, 
it's not 200 or 400 GB of LTO 2 or LTO 3 data tape.

LTO-3 is 2.5 tapes / TB
DVDs are about 225 discs / TB
CD-Rs are about 1,600 discs / TB
250 GB hard drives are 4 discs / TB

>to store our
>media.  I think it would be much easier to store everything on one or
>more servers and have the files accessible to anyone rather than having
>to come to me all the time to pull materials in the archives.

Yes as long as there is proper digital rights management and/or 
access control installed.

>Plus, you
>could migrate that information to a new server when the old one is no
>longer working.

...BEFORE the old one stops working <smile>.


>
>
>Any thoughts?  I always thought servers that store only digital files
>last longer than 5 years.

5 years is probably an economic end of life.

There are  no simple answers to this.

Cheers,

Richard

Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.