Blu-ray Media Continues Earning Space in New Storage Environments

Blu-ray-logoBlu-ray is no longer just a medium that is used for distributing movies and video games.  For organizations big or small, and for users who need to store as much as 50 GB of data onto a single piece of media, Blu-ray media are ideal.

The lowest capacity Blu-ray recordable disc, the BD-R, ‘only’ has a capacity of 25 gigabytes.  This is more than five times as much as a DVD +/- R disc, and a little less than three times as much as a double layer DVD disc.  Twenty five gigabytes is a LOT of data – an organization can probably back up its operating system, boot files, and perhaps even its mail files onto one disc.  In case of a disaster, a BD-R may be adequate to reinstall the Operating System and restore most critical files.

If 25 GB doesn’t seem like enough, there’s BD-RDL, a double layer version that can store as much as 50 GB of data per disc.  For an organization that seeks to safely put data onto compact media that has high capacity and is easy to store, it’s hard to beat BD-RDL.

An erasable form of Blu-ray media is also available.  BD-RE media can store data, and the data can be erased from the disc and new data recorded onto the disc.  For incremental data backup, BD-RE may be ideal – it’s compact, it’s easy to store, and it’s also easy to erase and rerecord onto.  A typical backup scenario usually involves recording incremental backups to tape, and storing the tape .  Eventually, the tape is reused.  BD-RE can be used for the same functions as tape, but costs considerably less.  BD-RE is also less susceptible to issues that tape cartridges sometimes encounter – issues that may relate to accidental erasure, damage to the cartridges that make them unusable, and the tape wearing out after repeated use. Further, because the BD-RE discs provide random access to data, searches for data can be much faster than tape, which may have to scroll through an entire tape to locate data that a BD-RE disc can retrieve in seconds.  BD-RE media is also much more compact and easier to store than tape.

For backup,  unless you have a very fast network connection, you’ll save time backing onto Blu-ray disc, compared to the time it would take to transfer the data being backed up to a local backup system or to an offline service.

In the next blog post, we’ll take a look at the many benefits that optical storage provides, even in this world of cloud computing and other storage options.  An upcoming blog will look at some of the new standards that will provide us with the ability to store up to 128 GB of data to a single Blu-ray disc, a disc that can store 100 GB, and a hybrid that provides a permanent storage surface in addition to one that’s rewritable.

The future of Blu-ray is bright – even in light of other developments in the storage landscape.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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