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Recommendations - Drives for Offline Storage

+1 vote
I'm looking into options for drives for 'cold' storage for my institution, possibly for long periods of time (we would like a shelf-life of about four years).  They don't need to be particularly fast so much as reliable and long-lived (and, of course, cost-effective).  We've already got some LTO tape we use; we're looking more for hard disk drives or solid state drives to be held offline in a climate-controlled area.  The scenario involves a write-once, read-a-few-times situation.

So, first of all, does anybody have any experiences or know of any studies about the longevity and data integrity of HDD versus SSD?  I know, for example, that SSD is better-equipped for unpowered storage than HDD, but that they can also be more prone to data loss.

Second, does anybody have a particular brand that they use and would particularly recommend to purchase or to avoid?

If you'd rather not answer on-list, you can email me at sarah.barsness@mnhs.org and I'll post your replies to this thread anonymously for you (I could *really* use some very candid recommendations).
asked Jun 4, 2015 by sarah.barsness (1,230 points)
edited Jun 4, 2015 by sarah.barsness

1 Answer

+2 votes

Adressing your question of HDD vs SSD. 

Recent tests have indicated that offline SSDs may not be good for longevity. Vendors responded to those trying to allay concerns but it doesn't seem to be a good idea to put your trust in SSDs for offline storage at this stage. There was another article in 2013 that indicated Intel SSDs might be better for this than others. 


Editing this response to add information about HDD reliability. 


Backblaze have published some excellent stats on HDD reliability in practise. However it should be noted that these stats are related to HDDs that are online. They have reccomended particular brands in other blog posts. 

Also David Rosenthal regularly addresses the issue of storage longevity on his blog (http://blog.dshr.org) and cautions that most stats the HDD makers put out are not reliable. As indicated by their warranty details. 

answered Jun 4, 2015 by euanc (3,910 points)
edited Jun 5, 2015 by euanc
Great, thanks!  This is exactly what I'm looking for.  Do you have any recommendations for HDDs, perchance?
edited my answer to add some info on possibly reliable HDDs
Thanks!  I was having trouble find some good brand/model statistics, so this is great!