Data archiving solutions for an SSD world

SSD drives can improve a computer's performance, but consumers must decide if that functionality outweighs the additional cost.

As the cost of NAND flash memory technology falls, many more consumers and professionals are considering investing in a solid state drive as the sole solution to their data storage needs. Because these devices lack the internal rotating discs and magnetic platters of traditional hard disk drive solutions, SSD drives feature far fewer bottlenecks that can throttle a system's performance. In addition, the lack of moving parts means consumers do not have to worry as much about physical damage that can lead to catastrophic data loss.

Market prognosticators are beginning to predict that SSD technology will become an increasingly major force in the data storage industry. A recent report published by market research firm IHS iSuppli stated that worldwide shipments of SSD drives will increase by more than 600 percent between now and 2017. By that time, SSD's predicted 227 million shipped units will account for more than one-third of the PC storage solutoins market.

However, consumers should take some factors into consideration before making the jump to SSD. For instance, although the NAND flash memory technology that SSD drives operate on has come down in cost, they are still fairly expensive compared to hard disk solutions. For professionals – those who utilize resource-intensive applications on a daily basis – the increased performance may be worth the additional cost. However, the average consumer may not recognize those benefits as readily with their comparitively light workload.

A lack of hardware failure warning signs
In addition, like any other electronic device, there will always be the possibility of hardware failure with data storage drives. Traditional devices usually precede their full-system failures with a series of foreboding errors. The observant user may recognize these issues as signs of impending failure and take action to backup their data or find an alternative storage solution. According to PCWorld contributing editor Rick Broida, SSD drives may be less likely to provide these digital harbingers prior to a complete operational shutdown.

"But for the most part, a dead SSD is a dead SSD," Broida stated. "If you've ever had a flash drive go bad on you, you get the idea. It's not just corrupted data, which is often recoverable; it's simply a hardware failure. And unless you're willing to pay for a professional data-recovery service like DriveSavers, you're outta luck."

Regardless of what data storage solution consumers choose to use, they should have data archiving solutions in place to back up unique and irreplaceable files such as family videos and photos. A disc-based application such as DIGISTOR's REWIND tool can serve as a sturdy backup plan in the event that primary storage devices go down. Because REWIND utilizes blu-ray burners and media discs, users do not have to worry about a hardware failure causing them to lose their precious data files forever.

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Navigating the consumer data storage market

Consumers who are interested in storing and backing up their family photos and home videos may not require the performance benefits of SSD technology.

In recent years, consumers have seen the quality of available media files increase substantially. High-definition video and images allow users to view and record media with unprecedented detail and clarity. However, in order to achieve this greater level of detail, image and video files must pack in more information, resulting in larger file sizes that take up more space on hard drives. As a result, consumers who maintain a large collection of personal photos or home videos may be in danger of running out of storage space as their acquisitions grow.

SSD presents a high-level option
The hot product in the data storage world right is the solid state drive. Many businesses and users with high-level computing needs have leveraged these tools for their ability to reduce the amount of time needed to read and write data. However, SSDs may not be the most practical solution for the vast majority of consumers right now. The first thing a prospective SSD purchaser will probably notice is the devices' steep price tag. As industry expert Currie Munce noted in Forbes, the flash memory that SSD technology operates on can be anywhere from 3 to 30 times more expensive than hard drives with storage capacities above 100 gigabytes.

Although the prices of NAND flash memory have dropped in recent years, that does not necessarily mean the trend will continue. According to ZDNet contributor Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, a member of the data storage community stated that SSD vendors that attempt to undercut the price of flash memory will inevitably go under, leaving behind those providers that maintain the price of their products in line with market costs.

More practical data storage solutions
Instead of investing in SSD technology, many consumers may want to consider alternative data archiving solutions. For instance, Blu-ray disc-based media backups can offer a storage option that can be scaled up or down depending on a user's needs. If the capacity of a disc has been reached, another one can simply be inserted to continue the archiving process unabated. This can be especially useful for consumers who want to store and share their videos, photos and music, as these files can be easily copied onto a disc using a Blu-ray burner and shared with family and friends. They are also secure, as prized documents and files are not all stored in a single device with sensitive internal parts that are susceptible to damage. Blu-ray archiving devices provide a more practical solution to consumer data storage needs.

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Upgrade storage access with SSD drives

SSD technology can significantly improve the performance of a computer by reducing the amount of time to read and write data.

Consumers today have a range of data storage options available to them, including traditional hard disk drives, cloud-based solutions and flash memory-enabled devices ranging from removable media to state-of-the-art solid state drives. While each option has its strengths and weaknesses, SSD drives are the most advanced data storage solution available on the market today. For computer users who want to improve the performance of their systems by reducing the amount of time needed to read and write data, SSD technology is the most useful tool available.

Data recovery specialist Terry Philpott recently highlighted the advantages of SSDs for Bdaily, noting that the technology provides greater speed and durability than HDDs. Because devices use NAND flash memory and have no internal moving parts, they are not as susceptible to data loss resulting from physical damage. This also means that SSD drives emit much less noise when in operation, providing a more pleasant user experience. Although SSD drives are typically more expensive investments than HDDs, the price of the technology has been falling in recent years.

According to IT expert and Galway Independent contributor Eamon Walsh, replacing a computer's legacy hard drive with an SSD solution is worth the expense and effort. One of the issues users will face in this upgrade process is the need to reinstall their operating system. Prospective SSD drive owners should ensure that they have access to the necessary boot disc before attempting such a feat. Without an applicable OS in place, a computer will be largely useless to the vast majority of consumers. If this venture seems too daunting, users can always supplement their existing drive with an SSD solution. This way, they do not need to worry about rebooting an operating system, but can still enjoy the enhanced performance of SSD technology.

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Data archiving solves photo storage needs

Personal photos uploaded to online databases are at risk for public exposure.

Since the advent of free-to-use public cloud storage options, Flickr has long been the platform of choice for consumers interested in storing their photos online. However, the site's performance has suffered as of late, according to GNT, resulting in a loss of subscribers. To stem the tide of falling subscription rates, the online storage provider recently offered potential clients with a terabyte of free storage space.

As CNET noted, however, there are already numerous avenues available for users to store their photos in an online database with near-limitless storage space that are completely free of charge. Furthermore, individuals posting personal files online have always run the risk of that information becoming public knowledge. There are any number of ways that a photo uploaded to an online storage space for private viewing could find a wider audience. User error, malicious activity and programming glitches can all bring personal photos to public attention. Flicker itself experienced such an incident earlier this year. Marketing Land reported that a bug in the site's code resulted in numerous photos marked as private by users being made visible to the public.

For consumers who need a long-term solution to their photo storage needs but are concerned about the privacy and availability issues regarding online methods, archiving software may be a viable alternative. DIGISTOR's REWIND data archiving solutions provide easy-to-use storage applications that will allow consumers to develop a massive collection of photos, music, videos and other files without taxing the storage capacity of their computer. By using scratch-resistant, recordable Blu-ray discs, REWIND can extend the size of a photo archive to whatever size a person may desire. When one disc has reached capacity, users can simply insert another and continue the archive process without disruption. Furthermore, the Restore command is included on each disc, so there is no need to worry about reinstalling software if an individual switches to a new computer.

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Coping with Mac storage issues

There are advanced methods to clearing space on a Mac, but it may be easier to simply archive older files.

Mac consumers who store a number of videos, music and photos on their machines may eventually experience storage space shortage. This can result in some difficult decisions as users have to clear out older files to make way for their newest additions. However, just because a Mac's hard drive is running low on storage space does not necessarily mean that individuals need to begin dumping their family photos, one-of-a-kind videos and favorite songs to address the issue. There are several alternative options they can pursue.

First, users should identify exactly which files are hogging most of their storage space. They could slog through directory after directory, cataloging files to do this. However, as CNET editor Sharon Vaknin suggested, they could download and run the free Disk Inventory X application. This program analyzes the contents of a system and arranges files by their size, giving users a clear look at which files are taking up the most space.

Bolder Mac users can leverage more advanced techniques to clear up space. Cult of Mac contributor Rob LeFebvre suggested several avenues for removing unnecessary files, software and applications. One option is to delete the user cache files that can be left behind after an app has been removed from the system. However, individuals who attempt this method should be cautious not to delete cache files related to apps they still use. One of the riskier and more advanced techniques to free up storage space is disabling SafeSleep mode. Although this method can remove some clutter, it can also result in the loss of the system's saved states that are created while it is in hibernation mode.

A more sensible option may be to invest in an additional storage device. For instance, DIGISTOR's REWIND data archiving solutions allow users to store their family videos and photos among other treasured media files for future access. By deploying a robust backup utility, Mac customers can increase their storage capacity without deleting their priceless files.

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The performance benefits of an SSD drive

Consumers who switch to SSD drives for their data storage needs will witness greater performance from their computers.

Hard disk drives have been a computer storage solution staple for years. However, most consumers are unaware how much these devices can impede the performance of their machines. An HDD's ability to access, read and write data is dictated by how quickly its magnetic disc can spin, which is typically measured in revolutions per minute. The longer it takes for the disc to get into position, the more bottlenecks a user will experience and the longer it will take to access or copy data to that hard drive. According to Computer Repository, HDDs are responsible for most of the performance disruptions that the average user will experience. Aside from increasing a device's RPM, there is no way to avoid these bottlenecks since they are inherent to the physical limitations of the technology's moving parts.

Although solid state drives have been around for years as well, they recently became more widely recognized as a viable alternative to HDD's limitations when they began to operate on NAND-based flash memory. With the removal of moving parts like magnetic disks and heads, SSD drives often provide a more reliable and fluid performance than traditional HDDs. PCWorld contributing editor Lincoln Spector opined that SSD technology represented the fasted storage solution currently available on the market.

One of the factors that have held SSD devices back from enjoying a wider user base has been the cost of the technology. However, in recent years those expenses have dropped somewhat, making an SSD drive a more viable data storage solution. For consumers who find that the cost prevents them from using the technology as their sole storage device, they may want to consider pairing a smaller SSD drive with an existing HDD. Users could task their SSD devices with storing operating systems and other critical processes to facilitate greater system performance, while relegating less critical needs to HDD storage. 

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Blu-ray sales increase in 2012

Blu-ray remains a driving force in the home video market.

Much of the press regarding home entertainment has surrounded the rise of streaming services providing digital content. However, home movie sales – powered by Blu-ray media – saw an uptick over the course of last year. A study released by Digital Entertainment Group found that sales in this market rose for the first time in seven years, increasing to $18 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

One of the major factors in the rising sales trend has been the robust performance of Blu-ray sales, which rose nearly 10 percent in 2012. The continued success of the Blu-ray media format was further supported by a report from research company NPD. Although revenue from digital download services is on the rise, disc-based media still accounts for the bulk of home video sales, according to Digital Digest. Blu-ray and DVD revenue combined to represent 61 percent of the total home video entertainment market.

When Blu-ray burners, players and discs were first introduced, customers and tech experts alike were won over by the sharp picture quality and use of vivid colors as well as the format's superior storage capacity. However, some consumers were hesitant to adopt the format given the considerably higher price of Blu-ray discs compared with DVDs at the time. As the technology matured, the cost of production for the media dropped. In 2012, the average price of Blu-ray movies fell 7 percent. Home video entertainment publishers have been able to entice more customers by offering them a lower price point.

Companies have reaped the financial benefits of the Blu-ray market as well. Speaking with News Corp COO Chase Carey, PaidContent contributor Laura Hazard Owen reported that Fox's home video business growth rate outpaced the larger market in 2012. Carey cited Blu-ray as one of the driving factors for this growth last year. For the foreseeable future, it appears that Blu-ray will continue to be a massive force in the home video market.

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Addressing gamer storage concerns with a Playstation 3 external hard drive

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The advent of downloadable games and high-definition videos has strain on the storage capacity of the Playstation 3, causing many gamers to consider a Playstation 3 external hard drive. As CNN reported, the console originally debuted with two models containing a 20 or 60 gigabyte hard drive. Since that time, the storage needs of gamers has only increased, meaning that what once may have appeared as an embarrassment of riches has now become a major concern.

This storage shortage was not ameliorated by the recent launch an even smaller variation of the PS3. According to Wired, Sony released a new model of its console equipped with 12 gigabytes of flash memory in its European markets. Sony managing director Fergal Gara spoke to Eurogamer about the release, noting that the company aimed to reach a more casual, family-based audience with the release by stressing its lower entry price point and relative dearth of storage space.

“There are a lot of PlayStation users today who don’t use very much in the way of disk space, so it’s just for game saves and the small bits of install that might be needed on individual games,” Gara told the publication.

However, those gamers who have found that their purchased system does not meet their data storage needs are left to look for alternative solutions. Some site contributors have suggested that consumers consider replacing their proprietary hard drive with a larger internal device. However, given the amount of technical know-how involved and the high possibility of voiding the machine’s warranty and causing irreplaceable damage to the hardware, this is not advised.

Instead, users who need to free up some storage space should consider getting a Playstation 3 external hard drive from DIGISTOR. Gamers can save all of their music, photos and high-definition videos in one easy-to-access location. Designed with PS3-compatibility in mind, DIGISTOR’s external hard drive offers gamers everywhere a simple solution to a growing issue.

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The unparalleled durability of Blu-ray burner discs

Blu-ray discs have been durable enough to withstand scratching from screwdrivers.

Consumers could be forgiven for thinking that Blu-ray discs are susceptible to scratching and other damages that would prevent optical drives from reading data written on them. After all, CDs and DVDs have cultivated a reputation for allowing seemingly cosmetic and surface-level damages disrupt their operability. However, unlike its predecessors, the Blu-ray disc format provides a durable solution for both media storage and data archiving.

Preventing damage from surface scratches
Admittedly, the first Blu-ray discs were susceptible to the type of surface-level scratching that could ultimately render data unreadable. According to Panasonic manager Eiji Ohno, this was largely because in an effort to store as much data as possible on a single disc, the technology's designers placed its data layers closer to the disc's surface. However, Panasonic came up with a solution to this problem when it released a polymer-based coating that provided a scratch-resistant protective cover to the disc. The coating proved so effective that discs usually operate normally even after being scratched with a screwdriver and drawn on with a permanent marker.

Blu-ray offers resistance to sunlight damage
Blu-ray discs can also provide greater resistance to a threat to data security that many consumers may not even be aware of: the sun. Recordable DVD discs are highly susceptible to damage caused by ultraviolet photons emitted by the sun. According to the Council on Library and Information Resources, exposure to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light can change the chemical properties of molecules present within a disc's recording layer. This can prevent optical devices from reading and accessing data stored on a disc. Blu-ray media, however, is much more resistant to this type of data corruption than other formats, according to Panasonic. This means that Blu-ray users do not have to worry about damage caused by sunlight.

Because of its unparalleled durability and ease-of-use, Blu-ray is one of the most secure ways for consumers to store their personal and irreplaceable data. DIGISTOR's Blu-ray data storage media can provide users with a quick and painless solution to their data archiving needs. Priceless home videos and family photos can be appreciated for generations to come with a Blu-ray based storage solution. Furthermore, users can create as many backup copies as they please, ensuring that if one were to be misplaced, the irreplaceable memories would not be lost forever.

In addition, Blu-ray supports high-definition video recording, allowing families to view their home videos with clarity and fidelity. Using a Blu-ray burner, one-of-a-kind movies and photo collections can be shared with family and friends.

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SSD drives provide greater durability, performance

Users who depend on high quality uncompressed video capture capabilities will benefit from investing in an SSD drive.

SSD drives have a number of advantages over traditional hard drive storage solutions. One of the major benefits of these machines is their durability. Hard disk drives have been the go-to data storage solution for consumers for years. However, they are not without their drawbacks. Specifically, the presence of moving parts makes traditional hard drives vulnerable to physical damage. According to Lifehacker contributor Nick Parsons, physical damage is one of the most common causes for data loss among consumers.

"Given the complexity of modern drives it's no wonder that somewhere along the line something will go wrong," Parsons wrote.  "When the drive suffers from some form of failure there's often little that you can do yourself to get the data back."

Consumers who are worried about the durability of their data storage devices may want to consider investing in an SSD drive. These devices do not have the internal moving parts that are present in traditional hard drives such as read/write heads, meaning the technology can provide greater durability and present a much smaller risk of data loss caused by damaged equipment.

According to PC World, SSD drives provide greater performance as well, representing the fastest data storage format on the market. The lack of moving parts allows these devices to read, write and access data at a faster rate than hard drives under most conditions.

Those enhanced performance levels will be especially beneficial for users with high-definition video recording needs. Whether the consumer is a professional videographer or simply an amateur enthusiast, SSD drives provide the data-rate capabilities to handle high fidelity, uncompressed video capture duties. Using a traditional hard drive for these purposes will likely result in video distortions such as dropped frames. For users who need quality uncompressed video capture functionality, DIGISTOR's line of SSD drives can provide supreme performance and durability.

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