Device / Media Renewal

DEFINITION: No known digital device or storage medium is invulnerable to decay and obsolescence. A foundational digital preservation capability entails ensuring the readability of the bit streams underlying the electronic records. ISO 14721 specifies that a trustworthy digital repository's storage devices and storage media should be monitored and renewed ("refreshed") periodically to ensure that the bit streams remain readable over time. A projected life expectancy of removable storage media does not necessarily apply in a specific instance of storage media. Hence, it is important that a trustworthy digital repository have a protocol for continuously monitoring removable storage media (e.g., magnetic tape, external tape drive, or other media) to identify any that face imminent catastrophic loss. Ideally, this renewal protocol would automatically execute renewal after review by the digital archival repository.
 
 Level 0   The Archives/RM unit has no device/media renewal protocol in place.
 Level 1 Current practice mandates archival repository device/media renewal when they are on the verge of becoming obsolescent.
 Level 2 Current practice mandates archival repository device/media renewal on a regularly scheduled basis (e.g., every three years).
 Level 3 An annual device/media inspection program identifies archival repository device/storage media that face imminent catastrophic data loss.
 Level 4 The archival repository’s device and media renewal program continuously monitors the potential loss of the readability of electronic records and automatically replaces devices/storage media and writes the records to new storage media. 

 

Resources

Resources associated with the Device / Media Renewal Framework element assists with providing background information and useful examples that can be consulted when trying to develop a plan or understand best practices for device and media migration. 

Definition

No known digital device or storage medium is invulnerable to decay and obsolescence. A foundational digital preservation capability entails ensuring the readability of the bit streams underlying the electronic records. ISO 14721 specifies that a trustworthy digital repository's storage devices and storage media should be monitored and renewed ("refreshed") periodically to ensure that the bit streams remain readable over time. A projected life expectancy of removable storage media does not necessarily apply in a specific instance of storage media. Hence, it is important that a trustworthy digital repository have a protocol for continuously monitoring removable storage media (e.g., magnetic tape, external tape drive, or other media) to identify any that face imminent catastrophic loss. Ideally, this renewal protocol would automatically execute renewal after review by the digital archival repository.

Level 0

The Archives/RM unit has no device/media renewal protocol in place.

Move to Level 1: Develop a procedure/policy that mandates device/media renewal when on the verge of becoming obsolete or non-functional. Having a manual or document that specifies conditions under which device/media must/should be concerned obsolete or non-functional would be helpful.

Jump to Level 2: Develop procedure/policy that mandates device/media renewal on a regularly scheduled basis. If possible, specify the frequency of renewal.

Level 1

Current practice mandates archival repository device/media renewal when they are on the verge of becoming obsolete.

Move to Level 2: Develop procedure/policy that mandates device/media renewal on a regularly scheduled basis. If possible, specify the frequency of renewal. 

Jump to Level 3: Develop an annual inspection program that identifies device/media that face catastrophic data loss.

Level 2

Current practice mandates archival repository device/media renewal on a regularly scheduled basis (e.g., every three years).

Move to Level 3: Develop an annual inspection program that identifies device/media that face catastrophic data loss.

Jump to Level 4: Have a storage system that continuously monitors potential loss and automatically replaces devices and rewrites data to new media.

Level 3

An annual device/media inspection program identifies archival repository device/storage media that face imminent catastrophic data loss.

Move to Level 4:  Have a storage system that continuously monitors potential loss and automatically replaces devices and rewrites data to new media.

Level 4

The archival repository’s device and media renewal program continuously monitors the potential loss of the readability of electronic records and automatically replaces devices/storage media and writes the records to new storage media.

 

Helpful Hints

Something to Consider

  • In addition to protocol which is discussed in this element, developing a method to keep track of purchases and lifespans of storage devices and media is important. This can be done by keeping an inventory of storage/media devices that includes the date purchased, date service contact ends, and projected date of replacement.
  • Create a manual or policy that specifies conditions under which device/media must/should be considered obsolete or non-functional. Delaware's Model Guidelines for Electronic Records addresses the importance of this issue but does not specify how.  For more information on different types of policies review the Policy Framework Element.  
  • For more information about specific types of storage media you may find it useful to review the following resources.  

 

Types of Storage Media

Note: Not all of these are appropriate for long-term preservation purposes but you may acquire electronic records on some of these forms.

  • CD/DVDs
  • Floppy Disks
  • Hard Disk Drives (HDD) (internal)
  • Hard drives (external)
  • Servers
  • Solid State Drives (SSD)
  • Tape
  • Thumb-drives or other USB drive

 

Media Lifespan Chart

Media Lifespan Chart Example

 Floppy Disk    3-5 years   
Flash Media   1-10 years
Hard Drive   2-8 years
CD/DVD   2-10 years
Magnetic Tape   10-30 years

 

*From "How Long Will Your Digital Storage Media Last?" (Agogified; March 14, 2014)

A graphic showing projected media lifespans (produced by Crashplan) can be found here.

 

Additional Resources

Note: May be vendor specific or biased. 

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