Optical storage is a no contact media that allows data to be written using a laser beam. There are currently different types of optical media available CD, DVD or Blu-ray for storing data. The most common technology readily available today is Blu-ray and the media holds up to 1,500,000 A4 pages on a single 100GB disc. The technology is designed to store important data including documents, music, videos, pictures, scans or any other important assets that need to be retained for 50+ years.
The optical storage systems we provide are primarily Blu-ray based and sit on the network as a NAS. Each Blu-ray disc can represent a different drive letter when the disc is full or closed the jukebox adds the next piece of media to the Blu-ray disc pool i.e. drives letter F: could have 50x 100GB media associated with it. You control through active directory or LDAP who has access to the data and control who can read or read/write media. Every file that is written to the Blu-ray disc is stored in a database and searching for a specific file takes seconds. To access a file on a disc that isn’t loaded in a reader takes no more than 15 seconds to access.
Some of the optical storage solutions we provide have RFID chips in the Blu-ray disc magazines and should you remove a magazine from the library it automatically updates the data that the magazine has been removed along with its contents. You can even specify a location to where that removed magazine has been stored.
The optical storage is available 24x7x365 and consumes very little power to operate and maintain.
A Blu-ray jukebox optical storage solution is a long-term investment as it costs more than comparable disk subsystems and LTO tape technologies.
The limiting factor when using LTO as an archive media is that the technology will read up to 2 previous generations of tape and can write only 1 previous generation. Therefore companies investing in an LTO archive are every 5-8 years having to re-write all their data to a newer tape format in order for it to be read at a later date. Blu-ray isn’t like this if you write in UDF 2.0 or higher any Blu-ray reader in a PC or notebook can read the disc contents as this is an open standard. A Blu-ray reader can read/write all of the following:
Unlike LTO optical storage UDF 2.0 does not require special software to read the Blu-ray discs.
If you work in an industry that needs to retain information for decades then an optical storage solution could work for you. Below are some of the industries using optical media storage?
The biggest headache for global companies is data identification and classification.
Once you identify the types of data you have classified, then you can deploy a system whereby data is automatically migrated through the storage tiers. The fundamental issue with this is that businesses tend to have issues with following:
A tiered storage solution greatly reduces the workload by IT staff in locating and maintaining storage systems as well as saving money on high-performance systems storage.
Cloud storage costs are still falling and will continue to fall for the foreseeable future. It works and is available anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection and its on7x24x365. This is where the difference between Online, Nearline, Offline and Cold Storage gets blurred.
An optical storage solution is designed to store historical data and information for decades and can be classed as a Nearline (not particularly fast compared to disk or flash storage) or Offline/Cold Storage the media is sitting in a jukebox not consuming any power or is removed and kept in secure storage. Cloud storage is designed to make the most recent data available to your staff to access. Cloud storage providers have different data classifications and tiers depending on how fast you need to access the information. The problem is do you really need to keep 20TB’s of archival data in the cloud and pay monthly storage costs for information that may only be accessed twice a year? The issue is that the type of data stored in an archive is of high importance to a business and therefore a valuable asset. No matter how secure your cloud storage provider claims your data is protected there will always be a nagging doubt about its security.
If you want to remove the hassle and headache of moving information from technology A to technology B every few years for “Cold Storage”, then an optical storage makes sense. As mentioned previously an optical archiving solution is an expensive upfront cost, overall an optical storage solution will save money compared to other storage methods.
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