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Will compliance spell the end of optical storage?

Will compliance spell the end of optical storage?

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Not necessarily. Optical storage can be good for long-term archiving (off-line vaults), especially if you're saving data -- such as key documents and reports -- for more than 10 years. Optical media is probably more stable and readable over the years than tape media. The issue is technological obsolescence: do the drives and software still exist, that can read the data? This was a big problem with unique 14" and 5.25" WORM formats, but current CD-ROM formats are likely to be readable for many years, due to the format's use in consumer products.

At the logical level, saving data in standard formats like XML or PDF -- rather than proprietary database formats -- is another good approach for long-term archiving.

Ed note: If you would like to read additional compliance articles, opinions and expert advice, make sure to sign-up for our ALERTS on compliance. Click here to sign up. also offers alerts on low-cost storage.
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This was first published in April 2004

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