Crashplan has just released The Lifespan of Storage Media, a comprehensive guide to how long your data will last. Designed by Mike Wirth with InfoNewt, this infographic compares the expected lifespans of popular media types used over the last 100 years to save different kinds of information: computer data, photos, videos and audio. Do your 8-tracks still play?
As each new form of data storage comes on the scene, the market is at first enamored with its compactness, convenience and hoped-for data longevity. But invariably, the reality of physical vulnerability and a limited lifespan remains. Eventually, all media fails, but Cloud backup is forever.
This was a fantastic project to work on, and the data research was the most challenging piece. We had to find data to support both an average expected life and an extended “with extreme care” life. We certainly found some contradictory data sources, and ultimately used data we felt was the most commonly accepted in the industry.
Do you have old computer backups burned to CDs, tapes or even hard drives on your shelf? Don’t count on being able to read the data from them too much longer! The short lifespan for many of these types of media that people use everyday to archive their personal photos and videos was most surprising.