Jump to content
Corsair Community

Flash as a data backup storage


cue

Recommended Posts

I have bean recommending to people to use flash media from Corsair (because of the 10 year warranty) to back up their data instead of using a mobile hard disk.

 

But is the storage life of the flash memory that long?

Will the electric charge run out before, even if the disk it self is not broken all data stored on it would be?

 

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees
Flash drives should save the data for as long as it takes, however we can only guarantee them for 10 Years. If some were to do this for long term storage I would suggest periodically connecting the drive to refresh the data
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not very decisive.

Could you please ask your engineers how often it needs to be refreshed.

With backup storage everything needs to be save.

 

People are buying this memory much more expensive then, CD/DVD or hard disk storage.

So I would like to tell them for sure (sort of a mechanical failure) how long their data will stay intact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees
There is no tested exact or specific interval for storing data in this fashion on a USB drive. And, if you are speaking of extremely critical data I would not suggest storing it on any magnetic based drive and expecting 10+ years of longevity without some form of maintenance and redundancy.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replay.

 

But cant the engineers that invent this stuff theorize about how the flash memory architecture might react to a long storage time like this?

 

I feel you would not need extensive testing, just someone in your genius department to think it out...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you could tell me for sure that if the flash memory does not have a mechanical failure (broke) that the chip would last for 10 years for sure, that would be exactly what I need to hear.

 

But telling me to plug it in every once in a while is simply not good enough, I cannot say that to my costumers.

I want to tell them exactly how long the data will stay intact within the 10 years with or without plugging it in.

 

Thank you for your good replay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees

I want to tell them exactly how long the data will stay intact within the 10 years with or without plugging it in.

 

Thank you for your good replay.

No one, including the manufacturer's of the ICs can state this figure. Speculation and guesses are useless. We base our warranty on the specifications that the manufacture's of the ICs provide.

 

If your customers have valuable data they should NOT be advised to use magnetic based storage without a maintenance program and some form of redundancy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

cue, I too am interested in how long flash USB memory can be expected to store data without being refreshed, as I use it as part of my own archiving routines. But even though the specs and blurb on many packaging suggest 10yrs, I think realistically it is unsafe to expect anything like that sort of longevity, not least because the memory sticks being sold today simply haven’t been around that long and may fail due to all sorts of reasons and contingencies.

 

You probably know this, but it might be wise to trouble your customers with this painful reminder too….

 

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed safe bet when it comes to long term storage of digital data. Some CD and DVD manufacturers claim longevity of over 100 years but of course nothing has actually survived that long yet - these are just projections. It is also more than possible that the companies manufacturing such media may not be around when their products eventually die and they are picked up on their guarantees, and in any case even if they are still about the best that can generally be expected if ever a manufacturer is taken up on a guarantee after a product fails within its shelf life is a replacement product or perhaps its market value (which compared to the lost data is likely to be negligible). Even guarantees are of little comfort.

 

Generally, most folk end up adopting some sort of back up strategy using a variety of media. Personally, I tend to burn really important data/photos to CDs (because they tend to be more reliable than DVDs, and I use at least 2 different brands), plus I back up to 2 or 3 external hard drives, and keep each stash of CDs in a different location and rotate the hard drives so not all are in one place at any one time. Since I'm moving about a lot, and external hard drives are prone to knocks, I use USB flashes as quick and easy backups, mainly of data I have not yet burned to disc. But I wouldn't rely on only the USBs ever - for a start, just plug them into the wrong computer and they're toast.

 

With USBs there are a lot of variables that may affect their long term performance and reliability. Different types of flash, like different brands and materials of CD, also have different expected longevity. SLC memory is now hard to find, but seems to have a much longer expected life span particularly if in constant use. The type of wear levelling a drive uses may also have a bearing. Some CDs I burned a year back don’t work now, and external drives seem only guaranteed about 1-5 yrs, assuming regular use.

 

At the end of the day, it never pays to put all of your eggs in one basket (or to leave them in the same basket for more than ,say, a few years), and I would never recommend anyone back up to only one media as if that media fails who will be blamed? If you are supplying memory items to customers and giving assurances about how long the storage will last you might want to think very carefully about that – ‘cos if you are telling people certain storage is definitely good for so long and it turns out not to be, for reasons of unavoidable failures or otherwise, you might find your nice customers turn on you (depending on your or their local laws about contract, misrepresentations and the like).

 

So, perhaps tell them that USBs might be used as part of their backup strategy, but are not generally marketed for that purpose, are comparatively expensive to use in this way, and in any event should be supplemented by multiple backups using media more often intended for archival use, as inevitably not all media is going to measure up to expectations and their will be accidents etc which are beyond prediction.

 

Hope this helps

:):

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No one, including the manufacturer's of the ICs can state this figure. Speculation and guesses are useless. We base our warranty on the specifications that the manufacturer's of the ICs provide.

 

If your customers have valuable data they should NOT be advised to use magnetic based storage without a maintenance program and some form of redundancy.

 

The inventor of these "ICs" must be able to state this.

Will the on/off "gates" in the flash memory close due to diminishing electric charge or not?

Will the charge diminish?

 

How can CD and DVD manufacturers find this out, but not you?

 

Anyway, the point is mute.

I am going with DVDs.

DVD manufacturers are looking into this and making some effort.

Their media may or may not last 100 years (we don't know), but it will last at least half that time. And that is more then enough for the normal user out there.

 

"Maybe 10 years, we just don't know" is NOT good enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Kit2009, this does help.

 

The main problem with most people out there is that they dont take any sort of backup.

Not to CD/DVD/flash/tape or hard disk.

 

So I want to find a easy way to help them back up their data.

CDs seem to be the best way, as I am learning now.

I can buy some CDs or DVDs that have 100 years long life and sell them.

At least optical media manufacturers are looking into this, it is very obvious that flash media manufactures are NOT.

 

But that is plenty. Normal people will change their backup media every 15-20 years when they can for example fit all their CDs on one future media (blue-ray for example).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees
The inventor of these "ICs" must be able to state this.

Will the on/off "gates" in the flash memory close due to diminishing electric charge or not?

Will the charge diminish?

 

Cue, you are asking for an answer that cannot be given by the IC manufacturer. They DO provide specifications, MTBF estimates. lifecycles of the gates, etc and THAT is what the warranty period is based on. However, this has NOTHING to do with what you are asking.

 

However, a USB drive is more than just the ICs. It is coupled with a controller on the drive. It is subject to being used with different file systems, different operating systems, different operating voltages from system to system, and an endless array of variables that would be impossible to test in the context of backup reliability over a 10 year period.

 

Therefore, since a USB drive is not a dedicated backup device, there is no set schedule for refreshing the data on the device under the usage you have described.

 

You are asking for information based on a very specific set of circumstances that are outside the recommended usage of ANY flash device. Storing important data longterm with no redundancy and no maintenance is not advised with any device.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ANY flash device. Storing important data longterm with no redundancy and no maintenance is not advised with any device.

 

Wrong, ******** is doing exactly this!

 

As a last question, how come they can make this guaranty, but not you?

I like your products better, but I will have to change to this brand as they seem to care about long term data preservation.

Corsair does not seem to make any effort, except to say cant, wont, and don't.

 

http://www.********.com/products/custom_usb_detail.php?series=BC

- More than 10 years data retention

- Limited lifetime warranty

 

As this slaps a cold one in your face and makes your products look bad feel free to delete this theed.

I will not complain.

 

I thank you for your replays and patience in answering me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask them how they can guarantee it. They had better be able to give you an answer at least as detailed and as honest as Corsair has on the subject. I don't know of anyone who uses flash for a backup medium. DVDs are fine, but ultimately redundancy is what you want if you want to be 100% sure.

 

Also, we don't delete threads, as every thread could be useful to someone else down the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask them how they can guarantee it. They had better be able to give you an answer at least as detailed and as honest as Corsair has on the subject. I don't know of anyone who uses flash for a backup medium. DVDs are fine, but ultimately redundancy is what you want if you want to be 100% sure.

 

Also, we don't delete threads, as every thread could be useful to someone else down the road.

 

Well now you are doubting the integrity of Xxxxx Xxxxxx, because they can make guarantees you cant.

You haven't even done any tests your selfs, you just follow the claim of the maker of those ICs (I don't know what a IC is BTW).

The only answer Corsair has given me is that these tests have not been done, and as I understand it cant be done because of "different file systems, different operating systems, different operating voltages from system to system".

But all of those different factors can write to the flash memory with no problems.

 

This does simply not make sens.

 

How can you make a claim that the flash memory will last for 10 years?

But Super Talent cant make a claim that their flash chip will retain data intact for 10 years?

 

How can optical media manufacturers make the claim of well over 10 years of long life?

 

Cant it just be that Super Talent manufacturer of their ICs (don't know what they use) did these tests?

 

I am going out on a limb here and stating that Corsair simply did not consider this as an option, in my opinion that is a mistake.

This might be a huge market potential as EVERYONE wants to back up their various data.

 

Very commendable not to delete threads.

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well now you are doubting the integrity of Xxxxx Xxxxxx, because they can make guarantees you cant.
To be clear, I don't work for Corsair. I'm not doubting anyone's claims. I'm just recommending you ask the same questions to them that you've asked here. Either they confirm what they've said, or they don't. It's the most prudent thing to do when you're concerned about backing up information. I'd rather ask specifics about their claims so that I fully understand them (I'm no expert on flash technology) than to blindly accept their word. All it costs is some time, and if your questions result in info you didn't have before, then all the better.

 

IC = Integrated Circuit.

 

 

How can optical media manufacturers make the claim of well over 10 years of long life?
Because the media and technology have been around for over 10 years. It's also a simpler process than a flash device. CD technology is basically a chemical layer over plastic that stores a symbol for a 0 or a 1, usually a dark spot or a concave spot (VERY small of course). They don't require energy to store the information. They typically wear down due to human error / something eroding the chemical layer. They don't have to worry about a USB port that is damaged that in turn shorts out the drive, etc.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

cue,

I have already stated our position and I am sorry but I cannot and will not speak for another manufacturer/marketing company. They can defend their own position and stand behind any claims they make.

 

Understood. Thank you for your honest replays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be clear, I don't work for Corsair. I'm not doubting anyone's claims. I'm just recommending you ask the same questions to them that you've asked here. Either they confirm what they've said, or they don't. It's the most prudent thing to do when you're concerned about backing up information. I'd rather ask specifics about their claims so that I fully understand them (I'm no expert on flash technology) than to blindly accept their word. All it costs is some time, and if your questions result in info you didn't have before, then all the better.

 

IC = Integrated Circuit.

 

 

Because the media and technology have been around for over 10 years. It's also a simpler process than a flash device. CD technology is basically a chemical layer over plastic that stores a symbol for a 0 or a 1, usually a dark spot or a concave spot (VERY small of course). They don't require energy to store the information. They typically wear down due to human error / something eroding the chemical layer. They don't have to worry about a USB port that is damaged that in turn shorts out the drive, etc.

 

Sorry for the mistake, I actually mistook you as a even dedicated employ of Corsair :)

 

Xxxxx Xxxxxx will most likely give me the exact answerer Corsair has, if I start asking about theyr warranty.

They would never admit that the warranty is anything other then 100% correct. Or they would be legally liable.

 

But CD/DVD drives output the laser in varying degrees of intensity. Also the laser head could be dirty, thats common enough.

CD/DVD media manufacturers have just as many problems as flash memory manufacturers.

 

No one can know if the device used to write the information to the media is according to standard.

But you have to assume that it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees

CUE it is not reasonable to expect something from any manufacturer beyond their stated warranty. And I would not expect any one to comment to much on a specific USE. The use of any product we make is covered under the warranty how specific questions as to data retention will have to fall with in the warranty guide line. This why there are companies making use specific products for this use and to my knowledge none are flash based.

 

1. Will it work? It should!

2. Will it retain my data, Yes it should but we do not cover lost data as part of our warranty.

3. What happens if my data is lost? That is up to you, as this is not a product made specifically for this use. However, should the drive fail we will be happy to replace it.

 

I have already made suggestions for this type of application on what would be best to protect you Data.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
I would not ever consider using a flash drive alone to back up critical data. For that, as others on this thread have mentioned, I back up to external hard drives, but they can get damaged by voltage surges, or burned up in a fire; and CDs and DVDs, depending on the volume, but they can get delaminated or whatever happens to them, and also destroyed if the house burns down. I even back up from my desktop to my notebook computer, so I can just grab the portable computer if there is a fire or flood. But what if I'm not home? So I have everything backed up onto my gigantic 64GB Flash Voyager. I figure it's unlikely there will be a giant electromagnetic pulse while I'm at the dog park wiping out my data AND my house will have gone up in flames at the same time. But the other media are a lot safer than the flash; it's just to keep my paranoia at bay.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Corsair Employees
The Topic is something to consider especially if you are using this for a backup. But I would not rely on any removable media as the only source of Data backup, More than one source is suggested things happen and if you loose the data its gone and there is nothing we can do except replace the drive. That is my point At any rate Nana Ellen thanks for your comments.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...