asks: "What's the future of storage media? With CDs and tapes prone to relatively speedy decay, and hard-drives an entropic nightmare of moving parts, how
will we keep our data safe over the long haul? I just got some e-mail from a writer pal who isn't really technologically sophisticated, alarmed because someone told him that his backup CDs would decay and rot in 20 years. He's an sf writer, and he was thinking "big picture:" a coming infopocalypse in which sysadmins devote their every waking moment to re-archiving their old backup data."
Is such a scenario likely? Why or why not? (More)
"I wrote back that I didn't think that would happen, because:
(I've since changed my mind about the last one: thinking about it, I'm willing to believe that the high-speed, high-capacity distributed servers of tomorrow will have VMWare-style emulators for every chipset and every OS ever made on them as public utilities like grep or perl)
- Every time I buy a computer, it's got more storage on-board than all the computers I've owned until then, and I just
migrate all the data files I've ever created or saved to the new box, like a hermit-crab changing shells
- With broadband becoming more real and more cheap, it makes sense that in the long run we'll store most (if not all) of our data on remote servers -- encrypted, of course -- that are managed by trained pros with access to mirror drives, climate-controlled vaults, etc. etc.
- Even if this doesn't happen, most of your data files will be in stupid, proprietary formats like Word 3.0 that won't be openable, anyway
How reasonable does this seem to you folks? What do you do with data that you need to preserve for the ages? "