Blu-ray continues to wow data center users

blu-ray_data_center

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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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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Blu-ray Sticking Around in the PlayStation 4

It wasn’t mentioned in the long-drawn-out Sony PlayStation 4 announcement, but the new PS4 has been confirmed to be “Blu-ray based. The same as the PlayStation 3.”

We guessed that Blu-ray would be included, but the 2 hour long presentation didn’t make this clear. We were told that the PS4’s goal was to have “Everything, Everywhere!” indicating a huge emphasis on streaming technology. Streaming games from your PS4 to your PS Vita, as well as streaming to another friends house so they can help you defeat that boss battle you can’t get past. But what about the physical media?

Perhaps Sony also thought it was clear: the only good answer to large graphically intense games has to be Blu-ray disc! With the invent of video games on Blu-ray gone are the days of embarrassing multi disc titles on Sony consoles. “The new FF game is how many discs?!?” a common exclamation amongst DVD and CD based games. It’s still a sigh of displeasure when an Xbox 360 title has more than one disc required to play.

Sony has clarified that the PlayStation 4 will indeed continue to use Blu-ray for physical media in an interview with Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida. He is asked directly about there being no mention of physical media on the PS4 during the announcement. His reply? “Oh yeah. It’s going to be Blu-ray based. The same as PlayStation 3.”

Via: gameinformer

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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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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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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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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.

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Not all Blu-ray discs are created equal, but does BD-R quality matter?

You may have noticed some BD-R discs state a clear warning that they are LTH (Low to High type). Why do they need this warning? What are your options when buying a recordable Blu-ray disc, and does the quality of these discs matter?

There are two types of Blu-ray disc material used to create 25GB BD-R discs.

Recording Layer Material Data Signal Polarity Technology
Inorganic alloy or composite High to Low (HTL) Sputtering process
Organic dye-pigment Low to High (LTH) Spin-coating process

Phase-change HTL media uses inorganic alloy or composite material for creating high quality Blu-ray discs. An inorganic recording layer means high resistance to the effects of UV light and aging, as well as high compatibility with multiple Blu-ray burners and Blu-ray players. All together this allows HTL BD-R discs to have a tremendously long shelf life with high compatibility across hardware, key factors in a medium that holds your data. HTL refers to the discs reflectivity during recording, changing the material from high reflectivity to low reflectivity.

Using the phase-change inorganic material also allows manufacturers to take the next step and create multiple layers on a single sided BD-R disc and even create rewritable BD-RE discs. 50GB BD-R and 100GB BDXL discs are possible using advanced methods to create multiple layers on an HTL disc. 50GB discs are double-layered at 25GB per layer, while 100GB BDXL discs are triple-layered and hold 33.3GB per layer. Though the multiple layers on both 50GB and 100GB discs are seamless when using the disc, 100GB BDXL media does require a BDXL capable drive to read and write to BDXL discs.

The process for creating phase-change discs is unique, and rather costly to get started on the manufacturers part. HTL media requires new equipment that uses a sputtering process of coating the disc, which differs from traditional CD, and DVD manufacturing methods. However, the result is a high quality high density disc that you can trust to hold your data for decades.

What is Sputtering?
Sputtering is a process used to coat the surface of a phase change HTL BD-R or BD-RE disc with inorganic material. This technique introduces argon gas in a vacuum chamber, and by applying an electric field, ionizes and becomes plasma. By kinetic energy transfer it ejects atoms of the inorganic material which move toward the Blu-ray disc to form a thin film.
  • Adhesion to the Blu-ray disc is high
  • It is easy to control attributions of a film
  • A clean film formation method

LTH media is an organic dye-pigment disc that found its way into the market to offer a lower cost alternative disc in Blu-ray’s infant years. LTH refers to changing the organic dye from low reflectivity to high reflectivity. Unfortunately, since this was introduced after Blu-ray entered the market, the compatibility of these types of discs are lower, requiring hardware manufacturers to create special firmware to recognize such discs.

The manufacturing process to create LTH discs is the same as older CD’s, and DVD’s manufactured on converted CD-R and DVD-R production lines, using organic dye and a spin-coating process. Initially, this brought a lower cost disc to market. However, over time problems using organic dye-pigment for long term data storage became apparent. The organic dye has a high sensitivity to light, and lower compatibility in the market, resulting in shorter lifespan of your data on the disc, and possible issues burning or reading the data on these discs.

BD-R Blu-ray Disc Light Resistance Test

Prices of recordable Blu-ray discs have continued to drop over time. The price difference in high quality inorganic HTL and lower cost LTH media is far less than it used to be. Some manufacturers can even offer high quality HTL discs at a lower cost than most LTH media in the market [ahem… see DIGISTOR media for such high quality, low cost discs]. Data integrity is of utmost importance when storing 25GB, 50GB, 100GB or more of data. BD-R quality does matter, and when choosing a Blu-ray disc for your projects, use a high quality inorganic HTL disc for long life, data retrieval, and piece of mind.

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