Is the Hard Drive Really Dead?

Yet another online backup company has launched this week, this one offering what they call “infinite cloud storage”.  Unlimited storage across multiple devices and operating systems for $10 month sounds pretty good and I might even give their service a try.  But what struck me as odd is the company’s proclamation that with the launch of their service “the hard drive is now dead”.  I understand this is just a marketing spiel; but if hard drives are dead then where are they storing my unlimited data?

Cloud backup simply means you are sending your data to a cluster of servers hosted offsite and accessed over the internet; and those servers use hard drives….lots of hard drives.  Of course the transition to flash, SSD and other new storage technologies is well under way; but to say the hard drive is dead is just not true.

Traditional hard drives certainly have their share of drawbacks, and we point these out often when talking about archiving and permanent data backup, but they are far from obsolete drift boats for sale in australia.

Via: Bitcasa Press Release

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New Year’s Resolution – Backup and Archive your Photos

The holidays have come and gone and if you are like me that means plenty of new photos and home video from family gatherings, parties and travels.  For most of us the end of the Holiday season also means it time for some New Year’s resolutions.  Well we are a few weeks into January now and I’ve already broken most of my resolutions, but one that you must not break is to finally backup and archive all of your photos, video and data.

We hear so many horror stories from people who have lost all of their photos, videos or other personal data because they were not properly backed up or archived.   There is no shortage of backup products available on the market today, so there is really no excuse to not have some sort of protection in place for your valuable data and files.

With so many available options to back up your data, choosing the right solution can be overwhelming.  The most important decision to make is simply to not procrastinate and do something!  Whether you decide to use an external hard drive, flash drive, online backup provider or RAID solution, it is imperative that you perform regular backups for continuous protection of your latest data.

For long-term storage of your photos, videos, music and other data files you will want a permanent archive.  This can easily be accomplished with easy to use products from DIGISTOR such as the Personal Archive Recorder and REWIND Archiving Software for PC and Mac.

Remember, you can always lose weight, eat better or learn a new language next year; but without a proper backup and archive you can easily lose your most precious photos, video or data forever.

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5 Reasons to Use Blu-ray for Permanent Backups


Cloud backup, external hard drive, USB drive, tape or optical drive; it’s easy to be confused with so many options for backing up your data and files.

There are pros and cons to every backup solution, but if want to permanently backup your photos, video, music and other data then archiving to recordable Blu-ray is the clear choice. Here are 5 reasons why:

Cost – Blu-ray drive prices have come down significantly over the past few years, but more importantly the media prices are now as low as $.04 per GB.  Not too bad for a permanent data storage.

Longevity – High quality Blu-ray discs have a hard coat, scratch resistant material and can provide up to 50 years or longer archival life.

Security – Archiving to Blu-ray gives you a physical copy of your data that is not vulnerable to online data breach and can easily be stored in a safe or offsite location.

Capacity – Blu-ray discs are available in capacities of 25GB, 50GB, 100GB and 128GB allowing the average user to permanently archive a lifetime of photo’s on just a handful of discs.

Ease of Use – Using REWIND Archiving Software you can easily archive or restore all of your photos, video, music and data in 3 simple steps.

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Insurance policy for digital photos

Just think about how many different insurance policies a typical household might have:  medical, dental, life, homeowners or renters, personal articles, auto, long term disability and my favorite the personal liability umbrella.  Some would say that we live in a world of insurance overload.  Perhaps, but insurance makes us feel safe and we sleep well at night knowing that we are protected.

That’s why it is so surprising that most people make little or no effort to protect their most valuable and irreplaceable digital assets such as photographs, videos, music and other personal data files. The average consumer does not have their data properly backed up or archived and could easily lose a lifetime of precious data at any time.

An external hard drive is great for managing continuous backups and day to day changes in your data and the cloud is perfect for sharing, collaborating and meeting basic backup needs.  However, I would not consider either of these solutions a real strategy for the long-term preservation of your digital data.  Why?   Well the reality is that hard drives will eventually fail; they might last a year, they might last six years.  The only certainty is that they will eventually fail.  While cloud backup solves this problem by offering redundant offsite backup, it opens the door for a host of other concerns and you should really think twice before offloading your permanent data storage to the cloud.  “Another Day another Cloud backup company”

To truly ensure the long-term protection and preservation of your digital photos and files, it is important to properly archive to a data storage media that is specifically designed for longevity such recordable Blu-ray. DIGISTOR’s Personal Archive Recorder comes with everything you need to permanently archive and easily manage and restore a lifetime of personal digital files. We like to think of it as an insurance policy for your digital data.

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Why We Still Assemble in the USA

We hear a lot of talk lately about companies moving their production out of China and bringing it back home.  With increased transportation prices, rising labor costs and intellectual property risks in China, this comes as no surprise.

The most recent press has come from Google with their announcement that the Nexus Q is “Designed and Manufactured in the USA.”  Although some may argue with their claim because of the large percentage of overseas components used, you certainly have to give them credit for trying.

Anyone in the computer hardware or consumer electronics industry knows that with today’s global supply chain, the idea of a fully “Made in USA” product is virtually impossible.  However, we are very proud of the fact that several of our best selling products are still “Assembled in the USA”.  This has been part of our strategy for many years and we will continue to invest in and grow our US based production facilities.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Market Flexibility – As a relatively small supplier that regularly competes with some of the world’s largest companies, this may be our single most competitive advantage.   Local production allows us to build to order, provide customized solutions or bundles and adjust quickly as market conditions change.
  • Quality Control – What can I say; it’s simply easier to control quality (and many other factors) in your own production environment than it is at an outsourced factory 6000 miles away.
  • Productivity – Worker productivity in the USA far exceeds that of most low wage countries, and depending on what data you believe it ranks first or second in the world.  While the wage gap is significant, labor costs in China and other countries continue to rise as do transportation prices.
  • Pride – This may not seem like a reason that would typically satisfy shareholders or the bottom line, but we like to think about it this way.  If you return a product to us, it’s quite possible that it will be processed, inspected or repaired by one of the same employees that actually assembled or packaged it in the first place, and nobody wants to see their hard work come back.  Nothing is more motivating than pride and I know of no better way to ensure a quality product than to make it personal to the person or people that actually put it together.

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Pros and Cons of Data Storage Devices

There are lots of choices when it comes to backing up or archiving your data and digital assets.  While everyone’s needs are different and there is no one-size fits all solution, we took a look at the most common data storage devices used by consumers or professions for backup and archive. Here are some of the benefits and pitfall associated with them.

External Hard Drive: When considering the price per GB, ease of use and ability to quickly restore files, it is no wonder this is the go-to backup solution for most people. I myself have at least 3 of these in my home office.

What most people don’t realize when choosing a hard-drive only backup solution is that hard drives are not designed for longevity. While you may occasionally see a lifespan of up to 7 years, the average hard drive will fail in 3-5 years. If you don’t have a backup of your backup and/or a permanent archive of your data, it may be impossible or prohibitively expensive to recover your files when your hard drive fails.

Another thing to consider is that your backup data really should be kept separate from your computer. In case of fire, theft or other disaster your hard-earned backup would most likely be rendered useless if left sitting on a hard drive right next to your computer. While most hard drives these days are portable and can easily be stored separately, the average user leaves their sole backup drive sitting right next to their computer.

USB Flash Drive:  While flash drives are generally much more expensive on a per GB basis, they share many of the same benefits as a traditional HDD solution; easy, quick to access and portable.  Flash is also a great media for sharing or easily distributing data.

However, flash also shares one of the biggest drawbacks of HDD which is longevity. Most reports estimate the lifespan of USB flash drive about the same as HDD, depending on use and storage environment.  This number can vary greatly depending on the quality; it is important to stay away from cheap USB flash drives if using for backup.

Re-writable CD/DVD: On a cost per GB basis CD or DVD can be an inexpensive storage solution since many people already have CD or DVD drives. The lifespan of a CD or DVD is generally longer than a hard drive or USB flash if you take care of the disc, and keep it free from scratches. You are also more likely store a disc offsite or away from your computer. The biggest drawback is the capacity. It also takes more work to burn a CD/DVD disc than it does to setup an automated backup to HDD and most people are not disciplined enough to manually manage their backups on a daily or weekly basis.

Cloud Storage / Online Backup: On the surface online backup seems like the answer to all your backup concerns; inexpensive monthly payments (or even free if you don’t have much data), easy to setup and automate backups, offsite copies of your data managed by a 3rd party and access to your files from any web browser.

However, when considering an online backup provider it is really important to do your homework, look at the fine print and consider the following:

  • Cost – while it is certainly possible to enjoy very inexpensive or even free online backup if you have a small amount of data, the cost can grow very quickly if you have large files such as videos, photo’s and music. And remember, this is a monthly or yearly rental fee; when compared to the average life of a hard drive or other backup solution this can really add up.
  • Bandwidth – probably the most overlooked issue today with online backup. The first problem is actually getting your data transferred to the provider. With the bandwidth available to the average consumer or small business, it could easily take 2 months or longer to simply upload a few hundred GB’s of data to an online backup provider.
  • Restore – sure you can access your data, but how long does it actually take to restore? With the 250GB data cap limitation of most consumers, it could be impossible to fully restore if you need all of your files back at one time.
  • Migration to another storage media or provider – how easy is it to move your data to another solution?
  • Who owns your data? – what happens when you cancel your membership or can no longer afford the service. Does your data disappear?
  • Is the provider really an online backup service or a provider of online sharing and collaboration tools? There is a difference.

This is not a bash against online backup; this is clearly where the market is headed and some of the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.  However there are still many roadblocks and pitfalls to consider before jumping into a cloud only backup solution. We will tackle many of these issues in future articles.

RAID – RAID may win the battle in capacity and redundancy but can be expensive compared with other storage media options for consumers and small business. RAID systems also tend to be quite difficult to set up and manage, even for expert users or IT professionals. While RAID can be effectively used as part of a backup plan for large users and enterprises, it is not an ideal solution for the average user or for permanent archiving.

 

 

Tape – While tape is often used as part of a backup plan for large enterprise, it is generally not cost effective for the average consumer, professional user or small business.  With an estimated longevity of 7-10 years, tape is not ideal solution for long-term archiving.

Recordable Blu-ray (BD-R): In our opinion, archiving to Blu-ray disc is the easiest and most cost effective method for the average consumer, small business, photographer or video professional to permanently store their data. While not necessarily the ideal solution for daily backups, let’s look at some of the benefits of using BD-R for long-term storage:

  • Longevity – a high quality blu-ray disc can provide 50-100 years archival life due to low sensitivity to light and a hard coat scratch resistant material protecting the data.
  • Media Capacity –  25GB, 50GB & 100GB on a single recordable disc (BD-R)
  • Costs – the most cost effective option for long term storage or permanent archiving of data with media costs as low as $0.04 per GB.
  • WORM media– (Write Once Read Many) media which is a necessity for a true archive or permanent storage.
  • Quick random access – allows you to easily find and restore a single file or files in a large archive.
  • Security – archiving to BD-R allows a secure, permanent copy of your data that can easily be stored in a safe or other offsite location.
  • Ease of use – archiving to BD-R is even easier than burning a CD or DVD.  DIGISTOR’s REWIND archiving software is designed for the specific purpose of easily archiving all of your digital assets. This includes:  Archive or Restore in 3 easy steps, endless archive across multiple discs, automatic scans and updates of archived folders or files, and the ability to use the software on both PC and Mac.

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Not Just Another Backup Program

When speaking with friends and business acquaintances about our new software release (REWIND Archiving Software) the initial response is usually something like “um, sounds interesting but aren’t there already dozens of backup programs that do the same thing?”  It takes a quick explanation about the differences between backing up and archiving and then comes that Aha! moment.

Even if you regularly back up, the typical hard drive will fail in 3-5 years. Unless you maintain a regimented personal backup policy including multiple copies in multiple locations (which most people don’t) or are technically gifted enough to setup and maintain a comparatively expensive RAID system, your data and files are at risk art panels for inflatables.

Of course a cloud backup solution will solve some of these problems by offering redundant, offsite storage.  However, most people fail to consider several important factors before moving to the cloud.   For instance, how long would it really take to restore your all your files from the cloud?  If you have a significant amount of data it could take weeks or even months to restore.  The annual costs is also something that can quickly add up if you have large files such as photos, music or video and what happens if you have a financial setback and can’t pay for a year or so – what happens to your data?

So why is archiving with REWIND different? Well, unlike a backup, an archive is a permanent copy of your digital data such as photos, music, videos and files that you want to keep forever. Rewind allows you to easily archive all of your digital assets to a recordable Blu-ray disc which when properly used and stored have lifespan of up to 50 years or longer. If you need to restore your data, it’s as simple as inserting a disc and selecting the files you need.

Archiving to Blu-ray is not a new concept and there are several established providers of enterprise level archiving systems that utilize Blu-ray technology.  But until now the options for personal archiving have pretty much been limited to off the shelf data burning software that were not designed for ease of use for archiving or restoring.

If you want to protect a lifetime of digital photos, music, video and other precious data we encourage you to give archiving with REWIND a try.

Show Press Release: DIGISTOR Ships First-of-Kind Archiving Software for the PC and MAC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DIGISTOR Ships First-of-Kind Archiving Software for the PC and MAC.
________
REWIND offers unparalleled ease-of-use for permanently archiving and restoring of digital files.

CAMPBELL, CA — July 26, 2012 — DIGISTOR announced today that REWIND™, its novel archive and restore application for the PC and MAC, is now available for retail purchase and is shipping with select hardware bundles.

REWIND software allows users to easily and securely archive all of their digital assets such as photos, movies, music and documents on scratch resistant 25GB, 50GB or 100GB Blu-ray recordable discs for permanent storage. With an embedded restore application, REWIND offers the ability via a simple 3 click process to restore files directly from the archived disc(s) to any computer without software installation required.

Compatible with all Blu-ray burners, REWIND is designed with an exceptionally user-friendly interface that can be configured in 3 simple steps as shown here: http://youtu.be/UpBmcJS_YlA. It also features unique cross-platform compatibility for use on PC or MAC. REWIND also offers several unique features such as:

• Automatic file and folder tracking:
Automatically tracks the files and folders selected for archive. File tracking keeps individually selected files up to date in the archive. Folder tracking will track changes and new files or folders added to the tracked folder

• Easily update archives and span multiple discs:
With REWIND it’s easy to update an archive as digital assets grow and can keep an archive going forever. REWIND will continue to burn to the Blu-ray disc until it’s full, then it will span to multiple discs allowing users to continuously grow an archive.

• Finish Later – Pause your archive mid-burn:
REWIND features a unique Finish Later feature, allowing users to pause an archive mid-burn and finish it later picking up right where they left off.

• Restore Anywhere:
Easily restore to any computer by simply inserting an archive disc and running the Restore app from the disc, no software installation required! Have a large archive that spans multiple discs? No problem! Simply insert the last disc in the archive and the restore application shows files across all discs and will request the discs needed for restore.

“As the amount of digital data continues to grow at an explosive rate, it’s more important than ever to maintain a secure, permanent copy of precious digital files” says Brian Friss, Vice President of DIGISTOR. “Previously, consumers and small business were reduced to backup to massive hard drives or cloud environments not under their control. REWIND is the first software of its type designed to offer reliable, scalable and easy to configure, digital archiving at an affordable price.”

REWIND is available online at www.amazon.com and www.digistor.com with a suggested retail price of $39.99. REWIND will also be bundled with all DIGISTOR Blu-ray drives beginning July 26, 2012. For more information on REWIND or other data storage or multimedia products offered by DIGISTOR, please visit www.digistor.com.

About DIGISTOR

DIGISTOR, a division of Sunland International, LLC, is a leading innovator, manufacturer and distributor of digital archiving products and secure storage solutions.

Serving the industrial and global OEM market since 2001, DIGISTOR provides industrial-grade archiving and digital-video storage solutions to consumers, professional users, SMB’s and specialized industries such as photography, broadcast, videography, medical imaging and security/surveillance.

DIGISTOR™ and Rewind™ are trademarks of Sunland International, LLC.

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Another Look at Backup vs. Archive

Much has been written over the years about the difference between backup and archive but there is often still confusion. With all the buzz surrounding cloud storage and online backup lately, we figured it was time to revisit the discussion.
Backup to HDD or Archive to BD-R

Let’s start with a simple definition of the terms:

Backup: Backup is the process of copying active data (data that changes often) to some type of storage media as a form of short-term protection should your files become corrupted, deleted or destroyed.

Archive: Archiving is the long-term storage of your permanent digital assets; data that does not change such as photos, videos, music and business data.

What many people fail to consider when choosing a data storage solution is; what are you really trying to accomplish? Is it the ability to access a copy of recently changed data? Do you want a permanent, secure copy of their most precious files? What about the ability to quickly restore lost data or files? Or, are you simply looking for a way to easily collaborate and share files online? If you are like most of us it is probably all of the above. There is no single solution to satisfy all of these requirements and it is important to understand the difference between a backup and an archive. Here are a few things think about when considering your personal or small business data storage needs.

A backup is a copy of your current state of data, meaning it’s usually retained for a relatively short period of time and superseded with a new backup as the data changes. In most cases this means using a rewritable storage media such an external hard drive, flash drive, rewritable optical disc or an online backup provider. These can all be excellent forms of data storage for backup, but again it is important to distinguish the difference between a backup copy (temporary) and an archive (permanent).

Now let’s talk about archive, which is designed to provide long-term storage and rapid access to your permanent data. That is, data that will not change and that you would never want over-written. Archiving is generally performed less often than backup but this really depends on individual requirements. And, unlike backups, an archive should be copied to a write-once media that cannot be altered or overwritten. Because of the longevity, and reliability of BD-R recordable media, DIGISTOR has long been an advocate of Blu-ray disc for archiving.

So you ask what should I do, backup or archive? The answer is both. To manage continuous backup and protection of changes to your latest novel, project or work assignment, an online storage provider or external hard drive will do the trick. For permanent storage of your photos, videos, music and files you need an archive or permanent data storage solution. Most experts agree that an ideal storage workflow consists of multiple backups in multiple locations as well as a permanent archive.

I realize we are just scratching the surface on a very complex issue and there are several factors to consider when developing a backup and data storage plan. Hopefully, this article provides you with some understanding of the difference between backup and archive and gives you some food for thought when considering your own strategy.

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