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I read something in a Oracle Archiving book, about longevity of Tape Versus Disk, i quote:

"Longevity. No matter how you store your data, eventually it has to be moved either due to obsolescence or deterioration of the storage media. It is not uncommon for archive data to remain on tape for up to a decade (though the tape itself can last up to 30 years) — disk archives typically need to be replaced every three to five years."

Book: Archiving for dummies: Oracle special edition Page:18

Can a guru help me understand why disk life is less (as stated in the same source that Disks have 10 yrs of shelf life, comparing to the 30 yrs of Tape life)?

I would be thankful of the reading suggestion to understand this topic better. Thank you in advance.

[Waseem]

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 8 '12 at 1:09

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1 Answer 1

One reason is that a hard disk drive integrates far more drive components that can fail over time or from external sources of stress... For example, lubricants can turn into resins or vaporize (and to add insult to injury, sublimate onto and coat the media!), plastics can turn brittle, ESD can damage onboard electronics...

Also, if you gave me a 30 year old hard disk drive it would likely be ST506-connected (you would definitely have to find an ISA bus computer and the right controller card, different controllers formatted differently then!) and might even have a filesystem on it that would be difficult to mount with modern software. Finding handy hardware to connect a PATA or parallel SCSI drive to might start to be challenging in 5 years from now...

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So are you saying if I gave you a 30 year old tape, it would be easier to source the needed tape hardware than the disk hardware? I think the flaw in the OP's interpretation of the quote is based on the idea of committing backups to a single media type/format forever. –  jscott Jun 8 '12 at 2:15

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