Tutorial :Technological solutions for extremely long term data archiving?



Question:

Are there any good technical solutions for extremely long term archiving of data, for example for 25 to 100 years?

Somehow I just don't have a lot of confidence that a SQL 2000 backup file will be usable in court cases or for historians in 25 to 100 years.

This is a customer requirement, not just speculation.

This is comparable to trying to trying to do something useful with a back up for ENIAC or reading Atari Writer wordprocesing files. The hardware doesn't necessarily exist anymore, the storage media is likely corrupt, the professionals for using the technology probably don't exist anymore, etc.


Solution:1

You'll need to convert to text - perhaps XML.

Then upload it to the cloud, make archival copies etc.

I think you need to pick a multi-modal approach.

If you have the budget: http://www.archives.gov/era/papers/thic-04.html


Solution:2

Actually, printing on Acid-free paper is probably a much better solution than any more advanced technological one. It is much more likely that the IT tech of +100 years will be able to high-speed scan and load print than any digital data storage based on 100 year-old media access HW, technology and standards, 100 year-old disk/file format standards and 100 year-old data encoding standards.

Disagree? I've got a whole attic full of vinyl CD's, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, floppy disks (4 different densities!) that argue otherwise. And they are only 20 years old! (OK, the 8-tracks are closer to 30).

The fact is that there is only one data storage & archiving technology that has ever withstood the test of time over 100 years or more and still been cost effectively retrievable, and thats writing/printing on physical media.

My advice? Don't trust any archival strategy until it's been tested, and there's only one that has passed the 100-year test so far.


Solution:3

<joke>Print it.</joke>


Solution:4

script the data into flat files (either one file per table or summarize multiple tables into a file), write them to high end archival CDs. in 100 years they will have to load this data into whatever "database" they have, so so some manual conversion will be necessary, so a nice schema script dump into a single file would help the poor guy trying to read these files and make the proper joins.

EDIT offer the client a service contract, where you make sure they are up to date with the latest archival technology on a yearly basis. this could be a good thing $


Solution:5

I suggest you consult a specialist company in this field.

You might also be interested in this article: Strategies for long-term data retention

It might help to speak to one of those companies/organisations


Solution:6

I don't know if anyone reads this thread or not anymore but there is a really good solution for this.

There is a new company called Millenniata, the have a product called M-Disc. The M-Disc is essentially a DVD made out of rock like materials that give it an estimated shelf life of 1,000 years +. You have to have a special DVD burner to burn the DVD's but it is not that expensive. Plus any normal DVD reader can read them. I have a professor at BYU that helped form this company, it is some pretty cool technology. Good Luck.

Link to M-Disc Website


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