Remember Deal or No Deal? Nothing to do with Brexit, Westminster, Brussels or headless chickens. I’m talking about the gameshow where they had 22 sealed boxes with either prizes of great riches or great disappointment within.
I see a lot of current digital film archiving being played out in the same way as that game show. An archive of hard drives on forgotten shelves. The suspense…will what you hope to be there still be in that box, and if it is, will the hard drive still work!
Maybe. Hard drives die, 12% will normally give up after three years. They are mechanical, a series of shiny optical platters turning at 7200 rpms microns from each other. They are engineered precisely, but like anything mechanical and complex at some point they will go pop.
Dead drive? No data.
There’s not much you can do about a dead drive, but more worrying is a new phenomenon of removing the internal drives from their cases. The silver or black box with the connectors on the back isn’t actually the drive but a protective case that allows you to plug a hard drive into your computer. The expensive bit is the inside that case and that is what some light-fingered people have started to liberate.
Recently we were asked to secure a large archive for a client. In the course of our work we discovered that at some point someone had removed all 15 drives from their cases. One large RAID stack had all eight drives removed. It was obviously intentional theft and when you consider the drives are worth £200 each you can understand the motivation.
So as you look at a list of drives in storage or stare at shelves of drives in your office are you sure that the boxes contain what you think? Are the drives still alive? Worse still are there any drives in there at all.