Q: Is Hard Drive the best data archival option?

A: With few exceptions, acid-free paper is by far the best archival storage.

A few years back Ziff-Davis did a study on the archival options for IT. This was before solid state drives.

Pretty much everything (HD’s, floppy, cd, dvd) lasted less than 5 years before some corruption was found.

There is some consensus that today Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD) last around the same as each other–five years before corruption sneaks in.

That said, there are new Blueray disc formats which promise 1000+ year archival quality.

Even if these devices lasted 10, 100, 1,000 years, good luck of then finding a computer and drive that will have the drivers and ports to read the device.

The best practices is to:

  1. Have 3 copies of your data. At least 1 copy on-site, at least 1 copy off site.
  2. Run diagnostics/repairs on storage device at least yearly.
  3. Copy data from a storage device to a fresh device at least every 5 years.