Blu-ray solidifies data archiving role

Blu-ray has become a major force in the data archiving industry.

Blu-ray is currently in the midst of a rejuvenation of sorts as organizations increasingly reconsider the format's applications. For some time now, supposed media format experts have claimed that optical discs were outdated and would be phased out in the coming years. These opinions have largely been informed by the rise of streaming media and connected services. Netflix, Hulu and similar online services capable of delivering content without the use of physical media have been seen by some as the future standard for home entertainment – the traditional application for Blu-ray media.

Internet-based content delivery has yet to achieve the same level of reliability and performance offered by Blu-ray discs, however. Limited bandwidth can easily prevent consumers from receiving video that features crystal-clear and highly detailed playback. Blu-ray, meanwhile, provides the same consistent, crisp image quality that has wowed consumers and solidified the format's place at the top of the home entertainment sector.

Businesses look to Blu-ray for archiving
Blu-ray has moved far beyond that narrow focus in recent years, incorporating additional features that offer more enterprise-focused benefits. Most notably, Blu-ray has carved out a position as a cost-effective, scalable and reliable data archiving solution. Some of the tech industry's biggest players have turned to optical media to handle some of their storage needs. Facebook caused waves when it announced its in-development archiving platform that utilizes thousands of Blu-ray discs to quickly and effortlessly scale up storage space.

According to ZDNet contributor Robin Harris, it appears that Facebook is not the only esteemed company to recognize Blu-ray's value as a data archiving tool. Full details regarding Amazon's data backup service, Glacier, have yet to be revealed, but industry observers believe it will be based on optical discs. Although end users will access information through the cloud, that data needs to be stored on a physical drive on Amazon's end. Conventional wisdom would have dictated that the company would use traditional hard drives for these tasks, but that does not appear to be the case.

Harris explained that if proven to be true, Amazon's decision to go with optical discs makes a great deal of sense for a variety of reasons. One of the major benefits to Blu-ray media is its longevity. The fragile internal moving parts that keep hard disk drives running have a finite shelf life that may end sooner than users think. According to Harris, HDDs as well as tape-based devices may need to be replaced within five years of installation, making them poor choices for an archiving solution. Meanwhile, Blu-ray discs that are designed for archiving purposes can continue operating for 50 years or longer. That vastly superior life span will translate into lower operational costs since companies will not need to migrate their archives multiple times during the course of a single decade. Furthermore, that longevity and durability will decrease the likelihood that important information will be lost due to a malfunctioning archive unit that has outlived its usefulness.

From a purely cost-based perspective, Blu-ray wins out as well. Individual discs are inexpensive and plentiful, making inevitable archiving expansions a breeze. Tape- or disk-based alternatives may require far more costly upgrades whenever changes need to be made to the archiving system.

One factor that business leaders may overlook when choosing their data archiving solutions is if the format will meet their legal requirements. According to Harris, rewritable nature of HDDs and tape can create some legal concerns. Because archive-based Blu-ray discs can be write-once, they can better address the legal needs of an organization.

New Blu-ray format embraced by archiving industry
Blu-ray's recent resurgence as a viable data archiving solution has been partially spurred by the emergence of higher-capacity discs. Sony and Panasonic have created a new Blu-ray format specifically designed for backing up large volumes of information. The lowest capacity iteration offers 300GB worth of storage space, while the high-end models offer 1TB. Engineers have pushed the capacity of Blu-ray by creating double-sided discs that feature three layers, allowing for more data to be written.

As EE Times Europe contributor Nick Flaherty noted, this new iteration of Blu-ray media has distinguished itself from its predecessors by effectively ending a format war before it has even begun. In previous generations of storage technology, vying platforms typically competed to gain market share and position themselves at the top. Even the ubiquitous Blu-ray went through such a period, going head-to-head with HD-DVD. This is the first time in decades that a new disc format has been accepted as the industry standard without needing to launch a single salvo.

These higher-capacity discs will prove to be extremely useful for data center operations that require a new approach to their archiving methods. Flaherty explained that switching to a data backup solution built upon Blu-ray archive discs will significantly benefit data centers, including reducing the amount of energy used to write, store and access information that has been traditionally kept on inefficient hard drives.

Blu-ray discs' appeal as data archiving solutions is not limited to enterprises or data centers, however. The format's cost-effectiveness make it a viable platform for smaller organizations as well. With the help of a Blu-ray burner, businesses can carry out a simple yet comprehensive archiving process without breaking a sweat.

"In the era of 6TB hard drives we tend to forget that many businesses don't need petabytes of archive capacity," Harris wrote. "If 50TB of local archive capacity works for you today, with the promise of much higher capacities coming soon, then optical may be your solution."

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What to look for when choosing SSD drives

SSD drives allow business users to boot up machines and load applications in the blink of an eye.

For those who require a little more oomph from their computers, solid state technology present a golden opportunity to replace their sluggish hard drives with high-performance alternatives. More business users and consumers are turning to SSD drives to quickly boot up their machines and launch their most critical applications. According to statistics released by IHS iSuppli, SSD shipments increased 82 percent last year in the face of lower sales in the overall computer storage market, PC Pro reported.

"The storage industry continues to navigate multiple transitions that are affecting each segment's performance," said IHS analyst Fang Zhang, according to the source. "The SSD sector is easily the most promising, compared to a struggling HDD segment that remains huge but is still trying to find its footing in a shifting environment …"

Zhang stated that the SSD industry is currently operating in an "aggressive expansion mode." IHS analysts do not expect these trends to abate anytime soon, predicting that the SSD market will increase 50 percent in 2014 alone. Worldwide shipments of SSD drives will eclipse 190 million units within the next three years.

With so much interest surrounding the use of SSD drives, it's important that business users gain a proper understanding of the technology and the various components that lie at its core. Considering the wide array of options hitting the market to meet increasing demand, prospective adopters will want to be sure that they are valuing the most important factors that determine a device's performance. Gawker Media's Adam Dachis recently highlighted the many aspects of an SSD that people should take into account when considering a purchase.

MLC vs SLC
Newcomers to the world of SSD drives may be a little perplexed when they come across the designations "MLC" and "SLC." Whether a device has been built upon multi-level cell or single-level cell NAND flash memory can determine a great deal about its performance and cost. SLC devices represent the top-of-the-line in SSD technology, offering the lowest potential for read/write errors. However, that higher quality comes with a higher price tag. Because MLC drives store more data on each individual cell, they offer lower manufacturing costs. Dachis suggested that business users and consumers alike give MLC serious consideration as their SSD format, stating that the greater potential for read/write mistakes can be largely mitigated with error-correcting code memory.

ECC memory
Data corruption can occur at any time, resulting in unusable files, documents or other information. This can be extremely frustrating under normal circumstances, but for business users, the sudden loss of this data can be devastating. ECC memory features can salvage this information by identifying instances of data corruption and correcting them. By investing in an MLC SSD outfitted with ECC memory capabilities, individuals can enjoy the cost-saving advantages of the format without sacrificing data quality.

Reliability
In that same vein, prospective SSD adopters should take a hard look at the durability and reliability of a particular device. For many users, their SSD drives will be tasked with launching their most intensive and important applications and programs. A widely popular use for SSDs in the office is to store a computer's operating system on them so employees can boot up their machines in the blink of an eye. With more critical assets assigned to these devices, a sudden hardware failure could be devastating. That is why individuals who want to ensure their SSD drives continue operating without disruption should consider an industrial-grade model. Designed to handle the rigors of various inhospitable environments, these tools are built to last and are capable of weathering various harmful factors.

Maximum speed
If any one factor defines the appeal of SSD drives, it's speed. Traditional HDD devices rely on read/write heads and magnetic platters to copy and open applications or documents. As these components move into place, noticeable lag time is an inevitability. While HDD manufacturers have attempted to increase boot times by increasing the platter's RPMs, there' s a ceiling on how far these efforts can go. Solid state's NAND flash memory, meanwhile, is not beholden to these physical limitations, allowing SSD devices to access data within a much shorter window.

Dachis explained that when an organization installs SSD drives on their workstations, users can enjoy many performance-based benefits, including:

  • Near-instant launch times for applications
  • Reduced OS boot times
  • Dramatically improved file copying speeds

If individuals take these various factors into consideration when deliberating on an SSD purchase, they can ensure they invest in a high-quality solution that will provide years of reliable service.

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Streamline Blackmagic camera production with cinema-quality SSDs

blackmagic-camera-digistor-ssds

Today’s professional filmmakers have the resources available to shoot high-quality video that can stand side-by-side with some of the material being produced by major studios. This is all thanks to a surge in availability of top-of-the-line camera equipment at a reasonable price tag. At the forefront of this movement is Blackmagic Design, which has released a number of filmmaking production equipment that can greatly enhance the video capture and editing processes. Blackmagic cameras are capable of shooting raw, uncompressed video, allowing for more dynamic transfers. Because this hardware comes at a lower cost than traditional production equipment, independent filmmakers and other media professionals can level the playing field with their larger and more well-funded competitors.

Clinton Stark highlighted one such example of exemplary filmmaking done on Blackmagic cameras, lauding the work done in a recent short “Prospect.” Funding was a major issue for the creators of the movie, Zeek Earl and Christopher Caldwell, forcing them to turn to Kickstarter to get the financial backing needed to shoot the film. Premiering at SXSW, the movie is now available to watch on Vimeo. Stark explained that by shooting on Blackmagic cameras, the duo was able to achieve a professional quality that is often lacking in independent work.

“What first grabbed my attention about this Kickstarter-backed short film was the fact that it was shot with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (two of them, with anamorphic lenses no less),” Stark wrote. “I enjoy watching projects filmed using the new camera – it has the vaunted ‘filmic’ look that indie filmmakers lust for, at a ridiculously low price (by cinema camera standards at least). Image quality is leaps and bounds beyond what we’re used to seeing with digital cameras.”

​Overcome configuration concerns
Blackmagic Cinema Cameras were given a similarly glowing appraisal in a recent review written by Bob Kovacs for Government Video. Kovacs championed the hardware, describing his time with the camera as an “eye-opening experience.” However, Kovacs did note that he had some difficulty getting his solid state drive formatted to work properly with the camera. Blackmagic cameras require the SSD drive to be formatted in a certain way in order for it to be recognized by the camera. Nearly all SSDs on the market come with no format on the drive at all, potentially requiring the user to seek out additional software resources and scour the internet for methods on how to format the drive properly. Some individuals may have to purchase a new SSD if they find their drive isn’t compatible with the Blackmagic camera. That could be an arduous and time-consuming process that requires more technical know-how than the average video professional may possess.

A viable alternative to this issue is to get an SSD that is properly configured for Blackmagic use from the outset. DIGISTOR’s Professional Video Series SSD Drives are specifically designed from the ground-up to work with Blackmagic hardware, ensuring that users avoid any setup-related headaches. This compatibility includes Blackmagic’s 4K offerings, which provide unparalleled uncompressed video capture abilities. By incorporating a DIGISTOR SSD, video media professionals such as filmmakers and videographers can get their new, peerless production equipment up and running without delay and begin shooting high-quality content.

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Security concerns surrounding cloud storage persist

Consumers should back up their cloud-based information on physical devices.

Data security remains a critical concern for consumers and business users alike. Cybercriminals have shown time and again that they are willing to target anyone and crack any system to get their hands on sensitive information. Data such as Social Security numbers and financial records can be easily leveraged by hackers for profit.

These issues have permeated various types of networks, but public cloud servers may be especially at risk. When users place their sensitive information and files in the hands of a third party, they lose the ability to control and monitor that data. There's no guarantee that cloud vendors are adhering to cybersecurity best practices, increasing the potential for a devastating attack to cut off customers from their documents.

According to InformationWeek, the Cloud Security Alliance recently issued a list of the most pressing threats to the integrity of hosted services, with data breaches taking the top spot. The report's authors stated that for all of its benefits, cloud computing still posed questions regarding the security and integrity of information stored on its servers. In addition, they questioned whether the cloud could ever become 100 percent secure.

Data loss sat just behind data breach in the number two spot on the list, demonstrating that concerns of this nature extend beyond unauthorized access. Losing sensitive or one-of-a-kind documents because of an issue with a cloud service can be devastating for the end user. Although data loss may be most readily associated with malfunctioning or damaged hardware, the threat is just as pressing for hosted information. In 2011, the popular public cloud outlet, Amazon Web Services, experienced a massive service disruption due to human error, resulting in data loss for some users. The CSA report noted that there are many circumstances in which hosted information can be lost permanently.

"Any accidental deletion by the cloud service provider, or worse, a physical catastrophe such as a fire or earthquake, could lead to the permanent loss of customers' data unless the provider takes adequate measures to backup data," the report stated. "Furthermore, the burden of avoiding data loss does not fall solely on the provider's shoulders. If a customer encrypts his or her data before uploading it to the cloud, but loses the encryption key, the data will be lost as well."

Back up cloud storage tools
Given the many concerns surrounding the integrity of data stored in the cloud, it's advisable that consumers back up any important files they may have through a more reliable and less vulnerable product. Physical data archiving solutions can provide a great deal of support to individuals who use the cloud as their primary form of storage. In particular, Blu-ray media offers a secure and reliable platform to back up important documents and files. Unlike many other archiving methods, Blu-ray discs are not vulnerable to infection or data corruption, ensuring the information stored on them remains intact.

Cloud storage vendors have long dealt with concerns regarding the long-term availability of user information. There have been numerous instances of providers closing up shop with little to no forewarning, leaving their customers out in the cold. The durability of Blu-ray media gives individuals peace of mind knowing that their important files will be available whenever they are needed. The reliability and ease-of-use make Blu-ray the perfect platform for archiving data on a consumer level.

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Optimize UAV performance with industrial SSDs

UAVs offer a number of data-collecting applications.

For decades, aeronautical engineers have attempted to find a way to remove the danger facing human pilots by handing aircraft controls to automated systems. In recent years, those efforts have come to fruition in the form of unmanned aerial vehicles. This aircraft – commonly known as a drone – has enabled many organizations to safely launch expeditions without placing human pilots in harm's way. Initially, UAVs were utilized for purely militaristic applications or matters of national security. Recently, companies across numerous industries have discovered a wide range of applications that could revolutionize the way these vehicles are deployed.

While UAVs have historically been used to conduct surveillance or military operations behind enemy lines or patrol unprotected borders, the technology presents a great deal of potential in domestic and consumer applications. One of the most famous examples is Amazon's proposed delivery system which would leverage drone technology. Pending safety tests and approval from the FAA, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that such a project could become a reality within five years, according to CBS News. As conceived by the e-commerce giant, when a consumer finalizes a purchase on the website, a UAV is activated, which then picks up a package at an Amazon facility and delivers it to the user within 30 minutes.

Farmers, meteorologists benefit from UAVs
National Geographic cited a wide variety of other uses for the technology that could enhance numerous sectors. In the agriculture industry, for instance, farmers can utilize UAVs to keep tabs on their crops and spot developing issues deep within a field that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. If equipped with pesticide, fertilizer or water application systems, these vehicles would allow for precise dispersal of these materials, allowing farmers to manage their resources more efficiently and cut down on their overhead costs. Overall, this detailed approach to crop management would result in higher yields and lower operating expenses. That could provide major relief to an industry that has struggled in recent years to keep their costs under control.

Another area with significant potential for UAV deployment is weather prediction, particularly regarding major storms. National Geographic noted that meteorologists' capacity to accurately forecast the path and severity of hurricanes is limited by their inability to get up close to these types of weather systems. By sending unmanned aircraft into the eye of a storm, meteorologists could better determine where a hurricane will make landfall and how strong its wind speeds are. NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Northrop Grumman have embarked on an experiment deploying UAVs in order to monitor storm activity and gather valuable data. This information will allow scientists to make more accurate forecasts regarding where hurricanes will strike, giving residents more lead time to evacuate if necessary.

Researchers from the University of Florida have also experimented with this technology, launching six-inch-long UAVs that funnel their way through a storm to collect information that traditional, manned vehicles would never be able to access. Given the pair of hurricanes that wreaked havoc across the Gulf states and Eastern Seaboard in the 10 years, this additional data could prove to be a major asset for scientists looking to improve their forecasting capabilities.

Durable storage solutions needed
Such complex and delicate machinery requires working components that can handle tough environmental conditions and continue operating in the face of inclement weather. This is particularly true for the vehicles' data storage devices as UAVs have shown the most promise for domestic applications with their information gathering capabilities. Traditional disk-based options are unrealistic for this equipment because their internal moving parts are prone to damage and disruption. A storage solution running on flash memory would be far more ideal for UAV deployment. In particular, the NAND flash memory in today's solid state drives can offer the reliability and speed needed to quickly and accurately read and write data even in the most inhospitable operating conditions.

For machines that operate under the extreme conditions that UAVs need to fly in, organizations will need to implement SSD drives that go above and beyond normal levels of durability. Off-the-shelf options may not be able to continue functioning in inclement weather, putting the performance of the aircraft at risk. An industrial-strength SSD from DIGISTOR offers the unparalleled durability needed to ensure that sensitive unmanned vehicles are able to operate and gather critical information without disruption. These machines can handle extreme temperatures, significant seismic vibrations and inhospitable environments, all without losing a moment of functionality.

Industrial-strength SSDs offer unparalleled durability
DIGISTOR's industrial-grade SSD solutions come equipped with the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring system, giving operators the ability to view key performance indicators that will notify them if an issue with the drive is on the cusp of materializing. This feature allows organizations to proactively address potential problems before they crop up when a UAV is in the field and miles away from a technician.

Given the high cost of unmanned aircraft technology, operators will want to reduce their overhead costs whenever possible. An often overlooked expense is the amount of money needed to replace overtaxed or exhausted components. A poor-quality SSD will run through its memory blocks at an alarming rate, requiring officials to spend additional resources on new drives. By employing a DIGISTOR industrial-strength SSD, organizations can utilize the device's over-provisioning features to extend the life of the device and reduce the amount of capital used on aircraft maintenance and repair.

When working with technology as advanced, complex and sensitive as a UAV, operators will want to employ only the best components so they wring the best performance possible out of the aircraft. DIGISTOR's line of industrial SSD drives offer the durability and reliability needed to ensure that these vehicles continue running effectively for years to come.

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Filmmakers strike gold with Blackmagic Design camera

Film festival participants need to ensure their movies capture the attention of audience members.

Working as an independent filmmaker is rarely an easy task. Projects are usually labors of love that require years of dedication and support to get off the ground. Securing financing can be difficult under the best conditions, and finding a willing audience presents its own set of challenges. Those who work in the short film format face even greater obstacles to success. In addition to lacking major studio support and recognizable actors, independent short films are often given short shrift by movie-going public. The average audience member may roll the dice on an acclaimed long-form film, but he or she may be less receptive to viewing a movie with a seemingly truncated or simplistic storyline.

Despite these challenges, the short film remains a popular format for aspiring filmmakers as it offers the opportunity to show off one's chops to studios. Some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, from Wes Anderson to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have gotten their start by creating a short film. Festivals present the best opening for up-and-coming directors to present their work to studio executives and hopefully get financed for larger commercial projects. Because of these circumstances, entrants are often faced with fierce competition. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 8,100 filmmakers submitted a short film to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival alone. Those entrants competed for a mere 66 available slots, making it imperative for participants to distinguish themselves from the pack.

'Me+Her' filmmakers require dynamic video capture
With only so much time to make an impression, short-film directors must often create striking images to quickly draw in an audience as quickly as possible. This was certainly true of director Joseph Oxford and cinematographer Bradley Stonesifer's recent Sundance submission, "Me+Her." The live action, stop-motion movie depicts a world created almost entirely out of cardboard – including both sets and characters – to showcase an entirely unique vision.

As Beth Marchant noted in Studio Daily, while the team only needed 18 days of filming to finish the movie, the entire production process totaled approximately six years. With that much time and effort poured into the film, Oxford and Stonesifer had to be sure their movie popped off the screen. Capturing the painstaking detail they had placed into their creation would require equipment that could offer that same level of dedication to high-quality video. The filmmakers turned to a pair of Blackmagic Design cameras to shoot the film and obtain the most refined and clear video possible. While the Blackmagic Cinema Camera was able to cover most of their needs, Oxford and Stonesifer opted to complement it with a Pocket Cinema Camera for certain shots that required a tool with a smaller form factor. With these two cameras, the filmmakers were able to capture uncompressed RAW video, providing richer images in their movie.

"The Blackmagic Cinema Camera gave us an incredibly clean and smooth image that had a huge amount of information in it," Stonesifer said. "With that information, our colorist, Aaron Peak from Hollywood DI, could do a lot, which was necessary to really help bring the characters and sets to life. And the cameras and footage easily worked with our entire post production workflow, which let us be very efficient."

According to Stonesifer, Blackmagic Design products offered a wider range of high-performance features that set them apart from other options, making their choice of camera an easy one to make. These tools included color space, image quality, latitude and the ability to color correct RAW video feeds. With the support of these assets, the filmmakers could be sure that they captured every minute detail, from hood ornaments on trucks to treads on the soles of characters' shoes. Ultimately, the unparalleled performance of their cameras helped the team create a dynamic and engaging short film that was selected to appear in the Sundance Film Festival.

"At the end of everything, the Blackmagic cameras allowed a bunch of independent filmmakers to work with a 'DIY' attitude, proving that with a vision and hard work you can still have a high-quality film, regardless of the materials being used," Stonesifer stated. "There is nothing stopping your creativity, and these cameras helped to make it possible."

Supporting RAW video capture with high-quality SSD solutions
When using a Blackmagic Design camera, filmmakers should be aware that other components will be needed to ensure that they obtain the highest quality video possible. Specifically, directors, cinematographers and videographers will require a high-performance solid state drive to effectively capture RAW video without it being compressed. Many SSDs – even those that have been certified for Blackmagic use – are not up to this task. That is why it's so important that filmmakers look beyond off-the-shelf options and find an SSD drive that will guarantee high-quality video capture at all times. DIGISTOR's Professional Video Series SSD products have been specifically designed to work seamlessly with Blackmagic Design wares, allowing video media artists to record clear and dynamic uncompressed footage. Furthermore, DIGISTOR SSD solutions feature durable error correction technology to ensure that no data is lost and that filmmaker's storage devices continue operating for years to come.

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Blu-ray discs reduce data center cold storage costs

Facebook recently explored shifting its data center cold storage needs to a Blu-ray format.

The cloud and streaming services have raised questions about the viability of disc-based media, but those concerns appear to have been brought up prematurely. The past year was filled with high-profile outages for some of the industry's foremost cloud storage providers, and Blu-ray discs continue to showcase higher quality playback features than Netflix and other Internet-based services. The lack of reliable and high-performance alternatives have ensured that Blu-ray remains a viable format for a variety of applications. Recently, Blu-ray discs have even emerged as a high-quality solution to some of the data center industry's most pressing concerns.

IDG News Service reported that Facebook has begun exploring utilizing Blu-ray media as a means to store data for its data centers. These facilities are tasked with shouldering major workloads on a significant basis due to the ever-growing popularity of the social media network. According to Facebook's most recent figures, the number of daily active users for December 2013 stood at 757 million, an increase of 22 percent over the same period  from the previous year. Meanwhile, there were approximately 1.23 billion individuals on the site for that entire month, representing a 16 percent increase year-over-year. More so than many other organizations, Facebook places a great deal of strain on its data centers. If these facilities were to encounter performance issues, the fallout could be extremely detrimental to the company's bottom line, as regular users may lose faith in the quality of its product and services.

Addressing high operational costs
In addition to reliability needs, Facebook and other heavy data center users require components that can help reduce operational costs. Data centers consistently consume a great deal of energy, driving up expenses for facility owners. According to The New York Times, digital warehouses used approximately 30 billion watts of electricity as of September 2012 – enough to match the production of 30 nuclear power plants. If left unchecked, these costs could skyrocket, eating into revenue streams for many businesses.

Facebook officials have experienced a great deal of success by using low-cost Blu-ray discs for their archiving and long-term storage needs. Data center operators often refer to this as cold storage, in which information is recorded and stored but only rarely accessed. For Facebook, this data may include user photos and other media that it may be asked to reproduce for members if their originals are lost, corrupted or otherwise compromised. Given the number of individuals with Facebook profiles on the planet, that is a lot of data that needs to be stored – and membership is always on the rise.

While traditional methods of cold storage have leaned on hard disk drives, officials from the company stated that Blu-ray offers a more cost-effective solution. Although this project is still in development, Facebook researchers have reportedly witnessed energy consumption levels drop by 80 percent, while overall costs were cut in half. According to Jason Taylor, Facebook's director of infrastructure, Blu-ray is also preferable to HDDs because of the format's scalability.

Energy-reduction, scalability benefits of Blu-ray
Ars Technica explained that one of the major benefits to Facebook's Blu-ray project is that energy is only used when the system is actively working. Data center operations are rife with inefficiencies that waste electricity and drive up costs. Many facility managers feel that there is no way to avoid these expenses as data centers need to be online at all times, requiring all components to be up and running night and day. However, when the Blu-ray system is not needed, it consumes a fraction of the energy that an alternative mode would.

Facebook's director of hardware engineering Giovanni Coglitore praised the format's durability and scalability in a recent video demo. For organizations that oversee complex data center environments and must manage numerous components and complex networks, replacing faulty devices or making an expansion can be difficult. The simplicity of Blu-ray adequately addresses these concerns, however.

"Each disc is certified for 50 years of operation; you can actually get some discs that are certified for 1,000 years of reliability," Coglitore said. "Because the media is separate from the drives, if you ever have a drive issue, you simply replace the drive, and you won't have to replace the data within a disc. From a reliability and operational standpoint it's quite elegant and efficient."

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