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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:30 PM   #1
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Blu-Ray, DVD burner/printer/duplicator

In a month or two I will need to duplicate about 100 Blu Ray discs and about 200 DVDs.

What are you using to duplicate discs...are you sourcing out to a third party or do you have your own machine?

I have seen a few machines on line, starting around $2,500 and going up from there.

I want to burn Blu-Ray/DVDs and print graphics/titles on the discs.

Any suggestions? Is it worth buying my own machine? (I will definitely be using it in the future if I buy one).

Thanks,

Brent
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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Oh, outsource that for sure. There's bound to be a number of companies in Toronto that can do that duplication and printing for you. Price it out, you'll probably be surprised at how affordable it is.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:29 PM   #3
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Yes, I am getting quotes this coming week...there are a numerous companies in southern Ontario that do what I need.

I was just wondering if anyone thought it worthwhile to have their own unit. And if they did which product they like.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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Some of the Primera duplicating systems sold at places like DiscMakers are under $1k or thereabouts.

I have a similar unit that I think was a bit over $900. It has a little inkjet printer as well as a CD/DVD burner and I can stack up 20 discs at a time. It works OK. it has a mode where you can drop in a recorded disc followed by some blanks and it will read any recorded disc and burn as many copies as there are blank discs stacked up behind it until it hits the next recorded disc.

I typically crank out 20 or 30 copies of recordings a couple of times a month so it works just fine for me.

Doesn't do Blu-Ray though.

I do the artwork in InDesign as the program that comes with the machine is really bad at layout.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 05:59 AM   #5
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There's burning and then there's Burning

About 10 to 15 years ago it was thought that a quality (made by one of the major quality manufacturers) DV would last 75 years or so. Since then the "life span" has apparently been reduced. On top of this, the way a burner "burns" is a factor and is affected by the speed of the burner and the quality of the burn down through the layers.

On this forum I'm sure that people are aware of this, but when "getting quotes" for burning DVDs there should be some "specifications". One should know what kind of disks you want to have burned and something about the quality of the burn.

In order to come up with your own specifications you will have to have researched this subject and therefore will know more about what you're talking about. This way when you enquire with prospective people to burn your disks you'll also be able to learn if they know what they're talking about and if they have the proper equipment and expertise.

A fringe benefit is when you talk to your customers you can impress them with your knowledge and make them feel they're getting a quality product.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 01:50 PM   #6
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At least up until a couple of years ago the real problem with DVD - let alone Blu-Ray) longevity was that there was no consistency. My boss at the time was the VP in charge of DVD drive development at one of the big DVD drive makers in Tokyo and when I asked him about media longevity he said it was an absolute mess and there was no way to know how long any particular disc burned on any particular drive would be readable, He said that some of the best discs burned on some of the best drives around would miserably fail the industry group tests and crappy media burned on cheap drives would look good - but a short time later when they repeated the tests the results would be completely different.

In any case he said that it was his personal opinion that anyone who expected true archival permanence from ANY DVD burned on ANY drive would sooner or later have a very unpleasant surprise.This guy was a PhD chemist with years of technical experience and had been intimately involved in DVD development for years and he still didn't trust them for long term data retention. He kept his important stuff on an LTO tape cartridge.

Things may have gotten better in the last couple of years and YMMV.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 03:46 PM   #7
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Archiving CDs and DVDs - totally scary!

Yesterday I bought two interesting "antique" vinyl 33-1/3 RPM records for their unique recordings. Age-wise I'd put them at around mid 1960 or maybe earlier. Checked them visually for scratches and the like and they looked good.

Moving forward about a half-century and we have CDs and DVDs which just a few years ago were touted as a great way to archive one's data. Now we've found out that the advertised time periods maybe have been exaggerated.

After reading Jim's post things have become even more scary!

A couple years ago I lot the hard drive on my desktop and the worst part was I got kinda sloppy about backing up. Talk about data loss! Now I'm backing up to both a backup drive and with CDs and DVDs. So after what Jim said what should a person do? Make copies of the CDs and DVDs every few years?

Time to start learning more about archiving.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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I think there's a misconception that an archive is a quiet place where you just leave stuff for years - sort of like a wine cellar. In reality there needs to be a periodic scanning and back-up and migration policy in place that periodically moves data to newer technology.

The Harvard University Library system had a really good article few months ago in which they discussed how they maintain their digitized content archive. To sort of paraphrase by memory, I believe they said that they kept three copies of everything in three separate physical locations and continually ran scans of the data on hard drives to see if the check sums matched the data and when (not if but when) they found a mismatch (evidence of what they called "bit rot:) they would recover the bad copy from one of the other two sites.

Anyhow it is really hard for a small operation to structure and execute good archiving practices.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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How about backup with CompactFlash Card Industrial or SDHC? Are they any better than DVDs?

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Old November 3rd, 2010, 10:31 PM   #10
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I guess the question is partly how back up and archive differ. Back up is how you protect against some kind of error that would otherwise destroy or corrupt your data. For example, hardware failure or human error. Modern RAID systems largely protect against hardware failure most of the time, but they don't do anything to prevent someone inadvertently erasing a file or replacing a good file with a bad one. Backups are usually somewhat short term and are taken periodically - weekly, monthly, etc, although in some cases they are retained for longer term so that you can go back to a previous version or an image of how the data looked at some point in time. In which case they sort of morph into an archive of sorts I guess.

One issue with RAID systems though is that WHEN (again, not if, but when) a hardware device fails, if it is a very large disk, the recovery from the RAID partners to a new drive can be very time consuming - maybe long enough to have a significant risk of a second failure in the array which would be a disaster. Also, the performance impact of rebuilding the failed drive can be significant. Some flavors or RAID can survive failures of two or more drives, but this gets expensive as it requires more extra drives. And the performance impact is still there.

Products such as the XIV arrays that IBM is selling after acquiring the Israeli company, address this by scattering the data about in such a way that a logical drive is actually spread over several physical drives so no single physical drive ever has to be completely rewritten to recover a logical drive, so recovery is much quicker as I/O's are spread out across the array and individual drives don't become bottlenecks.

Probably more than you wanted to know about back up:-)

As for solid state memory, no reason why it wouldn't make a good backup medium, but it's a lot more expensive than a spinning disk - I think a 64GB CF is more expensive than a 1TB disk drive. And unless it's really expensive, performance can be poorer. And any device can just fail because it wants to at any time, even solid state devices so having just one copy might not be enough in some cases.

And solid state will probably always be more expensive than spinning disk. I attended an industry presentation once where the panelists were looking at the relationship between disc prices and solid state prices and they had an interesting story about why they expected this to hold true pretty much forever. If you look at a flash memory chip it is basically a piece of a wafer that has been through the semiconductor fabrication process. And a read write/head is also a piece of more or less the same kind of wafer. But the area of the flash memory chip is much much greater than the area of a few read/write heads. in the case of the flash or other SSD devices, the data is actually stored on the device where in the case of a read/write head the data is stored in some relatively cheap magnetic material that is just painted onto a substrate like glass or aluminum. (I know - this is an oversimplification)

To put it simply, the same area of silicon (ie the same number of wafers (the same dollars of cost)) through the fabrication facility) can be used for zillions of tiny heads to access zillions of TB of data stored on magnetic disc, or many many fewer GB/TB of solid state disc. Oh yeah - solid state storage wears out with many read write cycles unlike spinning disk or tape. Probably not an issue with the way we use it, but true nevertheless.

And we haven't even talked about archive yet - much different set of requirements than good backup media. The challenge with archive relates to providing physical security, minimizing its deterioration with time and having protocols established for dealing with such deterioration and since it will be around for a long long time (40 to 50 years in the case of some of the magnetic tapes used in petroleum exploration) the archive has to be future proofed by occasionally being upgraded to new levels of technology.

A few years ago, one of my clients got an emergency request from a customer to custom manufacture a few open reel tape dives so they could read some old reels from their archives. My client built the drives from scratch by hand - can you guess how much they cost???? You don't even want to think about it! Much smarter to occasionally copy from old technology to newer technology. On the other hand as these archives expand into petabytes and exabytes and whatever, copying can be a very long process! No easy answers I'm afraid.
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