Blu-ray continues to wow data center users

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Blu-ray has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past year, thanks largely to its value as a cold storage platform. Organizations with intensive data center demands are turning to optical media as a platform for data archiving. Blu-ray sits head-and-shoulders above other optical formats, providing a combination of capacity, scalability and durability that will meet the needs of many businesses. Facebook has been at the forefront of this movement, taking major strides in the development of data archiving solutions built upon Blu-ray.

Most larger operations are beginning to see their data archiving demands increase dramatically. As more companies rely on data centers to process massive volumes of incoming information, they may struggle to cope with data that no longer serves an immediate purpose but may need to be retrieved at a later date. Perhaps no other business exemplifies this as well as Facebook. TechTarget reported that a single sysadmin must oversee as many as 20,000 servers, on average. Altogether, the social media giant has hundreds of thousands of servers running in its hyperscale data centers.

It’s no wonder that Facebook has so many servers at its disposal when one considers how much information is coursing through its data centers. As CNNMoney explained, the social network’s user base has uploaded more than 400 billion images since the service went live. Those rates have shown no signs of abating, either, as approximately 350 million images are added to Facebook every day.

Blu-ray offers durability, affordability
Many traditional archiving methods are not up to the task of accounting for this surge in data. Often, they cannot provide the degree of scalability or affordability needed to support a large operation. Facebook technicians recognized this problem and subsequently looked to Blu-ray as a viable alternative.

“Blu-ray discs offer a number of advantages versus hard drives,” CNNMoney stated. “For one thing, the discs are more resilient: They’re water- and dust-resistant, and better able to withstand temperature swings. … Because the Blu-ray system doesn’t need to be powered when the discs aren’t in use, it uses 80 percent less power than the hard-drive arrangement, cutting overall costs in half.”

The ability to reduce energy consumption rates with Blu-ray cannot be overstated. Data archiving is a critical aspect of data center operations, enabling businesses like Facebook to transfer rarely accessed data to less active servers. The problem with keeping these files on active servers is that the associated software must also be running to make them available to users. That would be pretty inefficient considering only 8 percent of images uploaded to Facebook account for its traffic, according to CNNMoney.

If organizations fail to make effective use of their data center assets and unnecessarily leave servers in an active state, they will consume a massive amount of energy. This will have a dramatic effect on a business’s bottom line as it must allocate a large chunk of revenue toward paying utility bills. By embracing Blu-ray as a platform for cold storage, companies can efficiently archive data and lower their energy usage.

Make smart choices when it comes to data storage
With today’s information-focused business environments, no data can simply be discarded, even if it shows no immediate value. At the same time, it’s important that businesses approach data storage needs with an eye for efficiency. Continually running active servers to host unused information will hurt an organization in the long run. Implementing data archiving solutions designed around cold storage will help companies strike the right balance between availability and affordability.

Blu-ray is quickly establishing itself as the ideal platform for these types of archiving efforts. This media format is both extremely durable and easily scalable, helping data center operators to address their cold storage needs without putting the integrity of their data at risk or making further expansion impossible.

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Looking Beyond Blu-ray: Next-gen Optical Discs

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Sony and Panasonic are the two powerhouse companies behind the Blu-ray technology that we know and love today. Large storage capacity for HD movies with lossless audio, and with scratch resistant long storage life, they’re excellent for personal archives. These two companies are now working together to provide the next generation of optical discs focusing primarily on the professional archive market.

Target capacity: At least 300GB per disc
Target release: End of 2015 

We live in a culture of big data. We create 2.5 quintrillion bytes of data each day. Some of this data must be retained for years from video production industries, broadcasting, data centers and so on. Both companies plan on improving their development efficiency based on technologies held by each company respectively to begin the process of tackling professional archiving solutions.

Via Panasonic.co.jp

 

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How to: Pause an Archive Mid-burn with REWIND’s Finish Later Feature

REWIND™ is an easy to use data storage application to archive all your digital assets permanently to Blu-ray disc. We give you full control over your Blu-ray hardware. REWIND has the ability to finish your archive on your schedule. We built REWIND with a unique Finish Later feature, to pause your archive mid-burn and let you finish the archive later, picking up right where you left off.

REWIND Archiving software runs on both PC and Mac computers. The Finish Later feature demonstrated below is only available with REWIND. No other Blu-ray burning software to-date has such control of burning Blu-ray discs.

Via: DIGISTOR YouTube Channel
Product Page: REWIND™ Archiving Software for PC and Mac – DIG-RE110

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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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Post CES 2013 Trends: Cut that Cord with Wi-Fi Cameras

If you’re a Pocket Camera user you may have noticed over the past few years you’ve used your digital camera less and your cell phone more. I know it’s true of myself. My iPhone camera is always with me, synced effortlessly with my PC, and backs up to iCloud. When I do use my Casio Exilim or Olympus pocket cameras I often times don’t sync these with my computer for days after the event.

We’ve seen a few WiFi pocket cameras hit the market, but CES 2013 shows that we are about to see a lot more, with nearly every manufacturer offing WiFi model cameras. You may be sucked back into using your digital pocket camera if it easily backed up to your PC or Mac over WiFi. Using a digital camera with WiFi and a good backup or archive program will make sure you can enjoy the original pics snapped and keep you using your pocket cam for more than large outings or events.

Some WiFi enabled Cameras (links to gdgt):

As these cameras continue to adapt new technology, you’ll see similarities with your digital pocket cam and your cell phone with apps. We area always looking for easier ways to take, sync, share, archive and enjoy our pictures.

Via: gdgt
Via: Cool Mom Tech

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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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How to: Update and Continue an Archive in REWIND

Adding files to your archived Blu-ray discs is as easy as starting the archive to begin with. Using REWIND to store your files to Blu-ray means you can continue your archive, even if you started your archive on a write once BD-R disc! Yes, you can continue burning to this same disc until it’s full, then REWIND will span multiple discs to keep your files safe no matter how many GB’s you have!

We put together a little video showing how to update and continue an archive you started using REWIND.

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How To: Archive your iTunes folder Permanently

As your iTunes collection grows, you may want to keep a permanent local copy of all your created playlists, XML files, library files and apps! Let’s face it, if you lost your iTunes collection, and had to redownload all your GB of apps, plus reorganize your music into the playlists you want, you’d be at it for days.

Here’s a quick <1min video on how to ensure a permanent copy of your iTunes folder by archiving to Blu-ray with REWIND®

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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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Blu-ray BDXL Writable Discs Are Here to Stay


New advancements in optical disc technology are continuing to make their way into the consumer market.  For instance, BDXL is the newest format in the Blu-ray category. BDXL consists of 100GB BD-R/RE and 128GB BD-R discs.  Boasting even more capacity, these discs should (at one point or another) be part of your archive arsenal.

But you don’t need to wait to enjoy the benefits of Blu-ray.  You can start enjoying the benefits immediately with units such as the DIGISTOR line of Blu-ray products.  For those concerned about future compatibility with this new format, fear no more.  All DIGISTOR Blu-ray drives and the include REWIND™ software, comes with built in support for BDXL straight out of the box.  This hardware/software combination, along with REWIND’S endless disc-to-disc spanning, means your archive can truly be limitless.

In addition, there’s already so much out there for existing dual layer (50GB) and single layer (25GB) counterparts.  Watch as prices on these BDXL discs drop and most likely have a trickledown effect on single/dual layer discs as well.

By adding just 1 additional layer (3 total) to the typical 50GB disc, there’s now 100GB available space at your disposal.  How can this be done you ask?  Simply by putting more data on each layer (33.3GB to be exact).  Think of how many of us have small hard drives with data we want to keep, and ideally stored on something other than conventional USB flash, hard disk or SSD that’s completely vulnerable to electrometric fields I might add.  Simply put, no other format has this much capacity and electrometric immunity that Blu-ray XL can deliver.

Let me help by breaking it down to the all the various formats available on Blu-ray discs:

25GB BD-R single layer – A solid, reliable, most cost effective powerhouse that’s the fastest of the bunch for writing – up to 16X on some burners.  Due to their simplicity, they’re inherently the most compatible for use with stand-alone Blu-ray players and PS3 gaming console.

50GB BD-R dual layer – Offers more space per disc with a reasonable price premium.

100GB BD-R and 125GB triple/quad layer:  The latest and the greatest, requiring new Blu-ray hardware and updated software to burn. DIGISTOR supports BDXL media in REWIND, and we also sell 100GB BD-R discs.

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