This is a really tricky one, and to some extent it's not a technical problem, and might not belong here, but
Server Fault is for system administrators ... who manage or maintain computers in a professional capacity
And I do.. and this is one of my tasks.. Anyway.
Imagine you had 5000 + double-sided pages of A4. Company data, all business critical.
You need to back it up, somehow. Proposed solutions so far are:
- PDF -> Online storage
- PDF -> DVD / BluRay / Tape
- PDF -> Portable HDD / SSD / Flash drive.
- Buy/Lease/Hire/'Steal' a big photocopier, and make copies.
Immediate problems with the above:
- What if the storage partner goes bust?
- DVDs do rot over time. Tapes similarly.
- These too, break over time.
- Expensive. Slow. Heavy. Not Tree Friendly.
What is the gold-standard for long-to-medium term data preservation and archiving? Have you solved a similar problem in the workplace?
After the initial loading, there is some requirement to add to the collection roughly 100 pages a month. Retrieval should be possible, easily, but probably is infrequent.
Ideally I'd like to guarantee that the solution will be workable long after I have left the company, and that it won't require a massive amount to keep it maintainable, so storing many many DVDs is not only not ideal, but also not a good long-term solution.
While just making paper copies is certainly the easiest, it's not the most environmentally friendly, not by a long way. It's also not very manageable, difficult to search, index, and so on. Combined with heavy, and difficult to physically store.
I quite like the idea in principle of having everything stored electronically, but the actual mechanism of doing this needs to be transparent and easy. I really don't want to be responsible for this forever and a day, supporting office users as they cock it up, and lose documents. I also don't want to be reliant on a single storage vendor, what if Dropbox (We have an online backup solution ATM, but it isn't Dropbox.) were to go bust, or otherwise experience a catastrophic event, how many businesses who are using their services would be up the creek, sans paddle?
There's some budget flexibility here, but I suspect anything that costs more than our current online backup (which is like 2500USD/year), would be viewed less than favourably, compared to just putting it in a shoebox under a bed. Which is no-doubt what would happen if I did nothing, and resigned tomorrow.
The reason for doing this is twofold.
1) provide a sensible secure backup of business critical paperwork in the event the office burns down.
2) to satisfy data archiving laws WRT uk tax law for businesses and so on.
Having some mechanism for indexing the documents would be bloody useful too..