DevilDodo on the Creative Cow has done some research on this topic:

“After looking into LTO tapes, Hard drives, DVDs and Blu-ray there seems to be no clear winner. Here’s how it breaks down (all prices in NZ dollars):

– Most expensive setup cost (the cost of the drive itself) at around $2000. In terms of tapes, it works out to about $0.19 /GB
– Large storage space (200GB or 400GB compressed) on the one I looked at.
– Approx. 30+ year lifetime.
– Write speed is quite slow when compared to DVD. Read speed is quite slow (due to the fact it has to do it sequentially. IE it’s not random access).

– Relatively cheap, around $0.48 /GB with no setup costs.
– Storage space varies, but significantly larger than DVD or Blu-ray.
– Unreliable. 3-5 year lifetime.
– Harder to store.
– Very fast write speed, random access.

– Cheapest of all options at $0.18 /GB.
– Comparatively very small storage space.
– Fast write speed compared to Blu-ray and LTO.
– 10-30 year lifetime.
– Less reliable. Prone to damage.

– Most expensive at $1.41 /GB. Setup cost of around $1200 for burner.
– 50GB at dual layer. A lot larger than DVD, but still small when compared to LTO or HDD.
– Slow write speed (around an hour per 25GB depending on burner).
– Apparently very robust. 100+ year lifetime.

Take from that what you will. This information was taken from various places on the net, so is by no means definitive.

A few thoughts of my own: To me, Blu-ray seems like a very viable solution. The 100+ year lifetime may sound a bit ridiculous, but I’ve spoken to several people who have said that they are incredibly robust and that really the only way to destroy the information is to physically snap the disc.

Of course, a huge advantage to the Blu-ray solution for those of us in the video profession is that buying the bruner gives you the ability to master high def Blu-ray discs (with the right software, of course). Which is a huge plus, espcially if working with the HVX.

And prices are coming down on the burners fast. I compiled this information only a couple of months ago, but recently I’ve seen a burner for $800 that claims to write 25GB in 25 minutes!

My research into HDD storage has been widely varied. Ultimately I’ve concluded that it is complete luck as to when or whether you HDD will crash on you. I’ve obviously had a lot of bad luck – in the year we’ve been in business we’ve lost a total of six external drives. Completely randomly. Thus, I personally have vowed to never use them again as a storage system.

At the moment we’ve resorted to using DVDs to archive until we make a decision. It’s been working fine so far… Though it is a pain having to manually split the 16GB folders into 4GB segments… “

Now I have been leaning towards Blu-Ray myself…but…how long will they last given the HD DVD war that is going on? You’ll have to make sure that you have a Blu-Ray READER that is compatible for all that time IF the other format wins out. Then again you also need to hold onto your LTO tape drive as well, and the computer that it can connect to (say you have an OLD one that has a SCSI interface). Either way…and even with drives (which are still my current TEMPORARY solution) you need to make sure you constantly update the drive itself so that it can connect to a computer, or hold onto a computer it can connect to…which shouldn’t be too tough.


Right now I only have two shows worth of P2 files to back up, so Blu-Ray isn’t cost effective. But if I went to series…hmmmm.

Thoughts? What are others considering? I’d like LTO, but man…$2000 for a drive. I can get a Blu-Ray burner for $600…SINGLE layer. Ahh, the Achilles Heel of the tapeless workflow…archiving.