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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christina Hostetter" <[log in to unmask]>
> 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.
> 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?
> He is suggesting that we use external hard drives or CD-ROM 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.  Plus, you
> could migrate that information to a new server when the old one is no
> longer working.
> Any thoughts?  I always thought servers that store only digital files
> last longer than 5 years.
> 
Actually, computers themselves (which is what "servers" are) have an
essentially unlimited life span (barring power surges, lightning
strikes, nuclear explosions, etc.), since they have no moving parts.
Hard drives don't, since they DO have moving parts...but I would 
suspect their life span is better measured in hours of use...so
that drives whose primary function is archival storage would probably
have extended life spans. Also, I don't imagine there would be any
substantial difference dependent upon whether the drives were internal
or external.

The important thing would be to have one drive dedicated as the C:
drive for each archival computer...and NOT to use that drive for 
any archival storage, since it gets some use whenever the computer
is operating.

It might also be best to duplicate the contents of drives if the
archives are to be regularly accessed for any reason...one could
serve as a backup of the contents and thus see minimal use. The
only advantage to external drives would be that one could be
absolutely sure the backup drives saw minimal use!

Just as a guide, I'm still using an old (about 20 or 25 years)
286 machine I bought a decade ago for $5, and it still works
fine, as does its single (40MB) drive!

Steven C. Barr