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.
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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.

Another day another “cloud” back-up company…

Lately there has been a large number of online “cloud” back-up companies popping up and announcing large funding commitments from their venture partners. From a business strategy perspective it seems to make a lot of sense, as essentially online back-up providers are selling customers the promise of data preservation, and using economies of scale to maximize profits for their shareholders. While I can certainly understand and respect this cloud back-up strategy from a business and finance perspective, as a user I question the effectiveness for many reasons. I am most concerned about the security of the actual data transfer as well as how secure my stored data actually is.  Is your data secure and encrypted when you transfer it?  Is it safe once it is sitting on your provider’s servers?  What happens if your provider’s infrastructure isn’t quite as robust as they have advertised? What happens when your cloud back-up provider goes out of business?

History proves that fashionable companies such as this come and go and today’s in vogue cloud back-up provider is yesterday’s pets.com, or other defunct dot com bust of years past.

Companies such as Carbonite (www.carbonoite.com) like to promote “worry free back-up” which is great until your hard drive is fried and you need to restore your collection of files, photos and videos.  How do you know your data will be there for you, and if it is, how long will it take for you to get the critical files you so desperately need?

I was reading documentation from Carbonite’s SEC filing last year where they had to release inherent business and technology risks before their public offering, and I found the following statements to be very disturbing.

The company wrote that a disruption in service could be very harmful for its business, indicating that there have been occasional interruptions, but nothing serious so far. However, the company does not keep separate redundant copies of customer files, meaning that a Carbonite data center failure, at the same time as a customer failure, could mean a loss in data.

“Our systems provide redundancy at the disk level, but do not keep separate, redundant copies of backed up customer files. Instead, we rely on the fact that our customers, in effect, back up our system by maintaining the primary instance of their files. We do not intend to create redundant backup sites for our solutions. As such, a total failure of our systems, or the failure of any of our systems, could result in the loss of or a temporary inability to back up our customers’ data and result in our customers being unable to access their stored files,” the company wrote.
Via: http://www.crn.com/news/storage/231002967/carbonite-prices-ipo-at-106-million-outlines-business-risks.htm

No redundant files?  Who is accountable for your data if they do have an outage, or data corruption?  That’s right.  It is still your responsibility to have a local back-up or archive or you will have little recourse if your data is corrupted by a 3rd party provider.

A few of my personal key worry points:

  1. It will take a very long time to upload the data.  If you have over 200GB’s it could take weeks to upload.
  2. It will take a very long time to restore all data if needed. If I need everything back, I want it quickly.
  3. How secure is the data being sent out to the internet?
  4. How secure is my resting data on 3rd party cloud back-up provider’s servers?
  5. How robust is the capacity and infrastructure planning?

I am not 100% against online back-up.  I do think there is potentially a place for it in your workflow, and the most notable value I would say is having a copy of your data completely offsite in case of a natural disaster.  With that said I am far from sold on this model from an overall data integrity point of view and question the validity of the long term effectiveness of this model. And isn’t that what your back-up or personal archive plan should be about anyway, the long term?  Your back-up and personal archive plan shouldn’t be about a trendy business model or marketing tactic, it should be a way of protecting precious memories and files for the rest of your life.

3 Steps to a Perfect Personal Archive

Archiving your digital assets, especially your can’t-live-without documents and photos, is more important now than ever before. Everything we create, save, and share is on our PC or Mac computers. Fortunately, archiving your entire digital life has become more affordable, and amazingly easy with the release of DIGISTOR’s consumer friendly archiving application called REWIND™. DIGISTOR has seen an increased interest in Blu-ray burners and 50GB BD-R media for archiving use, especially in the Mac community as of late. REWIND™ allows your PC and Mac to turn into a powerful permanent archiving machine.

You will need:

  • A Blu-ray burner
    • DIGISTOR offers a great slim sized external Blu-ray burners for ease of installation, and portability. One Blu-ray burner can be transferred to all the PC’s and Mac’s in your house!

     

  • Blu-ray recordable discs

     

  • Archiving Software
    • This is where REWIND™ comes in. We’ll be going over the 3 easy steps to creating a perfect personal archive with REWIND™. You don’t have to use DIGISTOR brand Blu-ray burners and Blu-ray media with REWIND though. If you already own a Blu-ray burner, we will be offering REWIND™ as retail software next month.

Step 1: Give your Archive a Name

Yes, we said this would be amazingly easy. A full step dedicated to giving your archive a name. REWIND™ can continue to span discs once the Blu-ray is full. You don’t have to limit your archives to just one specific group of photos like “Our Vacation to Hawaii”. You can broaden out your archive and save every byte of your photo albums and start an archive called “World Travels 2012”. Some other examples might be “Entire Music Archive” or “Scanned Documents”.

Step 2: Select Your Files

REWIND™ has a great file browser for maneuvering your computer and selecting files to archive. The thumbnail view makes it a breeze to view a large icon or thumbnail views of photos. Easily select a file or folder by choosing the checkbox next to it. You can click ‘n drag to select multiple items at once. For large archives, the select all button works really well. Visit the Pictures shortcut on the left, hit “Select All” and bam, you have all your photos selected for archiving.

An additional easy to use feature for selecting files and folders is the drag ‘n drop ability to add files and folders to the archive by choosing them from your regular PC or Mac file system and just dragging the files or folders on top of the REWIND™ Select Files window. The files and folders are now automatically selected in REWIND™.

 

Step 2b: Review your choices in the Preview Files Tab

Not really a full step in itself, REWIND™ gives you a list view to review your choices and make any final decisions to remove a file or folder.

 

Step 3: Create Your Archive

Yes, step 3 is nearly as simple as Step 1! All the settings are already chosen for you, but we’ll review them here anyway. If you’re using an External DIGISTOR Blu-ray burner, make sure it is plugged in, switched ON, and loaded with your favorite brand of BD-R or BD-RE media. The Choose Archive Burner dropdown only shows Blu-ray drives which means your burner should automatically be selected.

Select your archive speed from the second drop down. REWIND™ also does this for you by automatically selecting the maximum speed the drive and media can burn together.

REWIND™ gives your disc a name, but you have the chance to change that on this step as well. The disc name will have an appended disc number after it has been burned.

REWIND™ can verify the data while writing to the disc. This is checked ON by default, so you can have peace of mind that your data was verified as it was written to the disc. This does lengthen the overall burn time, but for important long term archives it’s worth the wait.

Click Archive it!

That’s it! You’ve archived your favorite documents, pictures, music, or all of the above!

Remember to write the name of your archive and what disc number it is so you can have a pleasant restore process if needed in the future.

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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