What do professional recording studios use to backup recordi

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by freesignal, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. freesignal

    freesignal Active Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    NOTE: I hope this is an acceptable forum to post this in, if not, I apologize.

    This being the "digital age" I'm curious as to what professional recording studios back-up their data to. I mean obviously it would be a disaster if the Goo Goo Dolls (or whoever) lost all their latest sessions because they recorded at a studio that didn't have sufficient back-up and redundancy. Do studios still have 'Master Tapes'? If so, do they still use tape or do they use CD/DVDs? If they use CDs and DVDs, what brand would be the 'industry standard'?
  2. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    At the price of hard drives ($100 for 500 gigs) there's no other sensible solution than do use a redundant drive backup for sessions. Double archive the mix tracks to Data CD or DVD.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Backups and archives might be handled differently.

    If you're working on a current session, in the Digital domain and it's on a hard drive? Just like TVPostSound indicated, hard drives are cheap today. Many of us remember spending $1000 on our first 1GB disk drive. Now it's $100 for our first 1000GB disk drive. WTF??? I just want to know why gasoline is still so expensive? So you back up to an equivalent hard drive.

    When you go to archive. I would recommend, these days, to archive to the specialty DVDs designed for long life storage. These are more expensive than your run-of-the-mill types but will supposedly be more stable over the long-term. These are available from companies like MAM-A, Mitsui & others. You probably won't find these at your local Best By or Circumcision City but at a computer specialty store. Plus, these days, with the cost of hard drives, it's like analog tape. You use a new one for each client. It's more hygienic that way.

    Nice clean audio girl. (What a lie. Jeremy knows. So does TVPostSound)
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:

    You must have gotten a cheap HD back in the day. My first 1.6 gig drive from Sonic was $3500.00 plus shipping.


    We do a three stage back up. Number one is the computer's HD for the sessions, number two is onto an external drive for the six months of waiting for the client to make sure the they don't want to revisit the project and thirdly onto a DVD or CD as data files for long term storage.

    I have heard people going to analog tape for really important projects since there should always be a way to play them back.

    With digital technology every week brings some new "refinement" or different format. Remember Zip and Jaz drives...hard to even find them anymore but for a while all of our MAC files were stored on JAZ drives or ZIP drives.

    With the cost of solid state memory coming down you can now get a 8 gig USB Flash drive for under $50.00 and there is talk that you will be able to get a 100 gig drive for under $200 in the not to distant future. Since these are solid state devices as long as the battery holds out you will have a storage medium that is very compact and affordable. And I think you can safely say that USB is going to be with us for a while.

    There are some very interesting sites dealing with archiving an if you do a search on the web for Audio Video Archiving you will probably see a lot of sites with information.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I run a little dangerous for the moment myself.

    I keep a single back up on hard drives and a backup of the final master on CD.

    I'm still waiting for a more reliable, larger capacity optical medium (Blue Ray just doesn't do it for me yet). Since I have numerous session files in excess of 20GB (try rolling several tracks of DSD for 2 hours...eats up hard drive space fast!), DVDs are a pain in the a**.

    Of course, HDs are getting cheaper and cheaper. I just saw a 250 GB Seagate brand new for $39. I should have bought 10 of them!!
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Pretty much along the same lines as the previous posts:
    One system drive, one separate internal drive for initial recordings,
    three identical FW drives and DVD Data for backup here.
  7. freesignal

    freesignal Active Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    Wow, thanks for the responses. What spawned this question is:

    My friend had his first kid 3 months ago and has taken about 3000 digital pictures, from his wife in labor to now. (Geez, you would think he loved the kid or something.... :roll: ) Anyway, he's been quite bawlsy as far as organizing and storing them. He's kept them all on his laptop (whose hard drive has already failed once before and from which they had to pay a recovery service to get wedding photos off of) with no backup other than some he still had on his camera SD card. So, we were talking the other day about long-term backup options since it's obvious he needs to back these up. He was saying he wanted to use professional quality DVDs since they were supposed to be more reliable than a blank Sony or Memorex DVD-R (hence my question about a good industry-standard pro DVD-R brand). I told him he should just buy an extra hard drive and keep them backed up on to that, but he fears the old lightning strike theory. To make a longer story shorter, it got me to thinking about how studios backup sessions which often are revisited decades later (See: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.). My friend wants to be able to store his photos and have them still be recoverable after 20 years if he forgets to update them to the latest media of the time. So, any suggestions for this or to answer the original question which I find to be quite an interesting topic, I say, post away. Thanks!

    *He's since backed the photos up to cheap DVDs but wants something for the long run. Thanks again.
  8. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    he should also get them printed
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    It sounds like he was too stupid to even figure out how to make a child?

    I've been told kissing a boy can get you pregnant?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    The number one answer is hard drive. Get your friend an external USB or firewire, load up the files, unplug the HD and store it in the gun safe.

    Then watch the technology. As the years go by, other storage mediums are presented that, once stable, can be used to continue this process. Until 18 or 20 years down the road have passed and the subject of the digital storage erases the storage to make room for his porn ;)
  11. Whilst on the subject, are there any online services where you could pay an annual fee to upload your sessions, audio tracks etc to there server and store them there?
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    The subject of backups is one very near and dear to my heart...

    HDD backups are cheap, sure. They're pretty reliable, sure. I've also had drives written to ONCE for backup that didn't spin the second time they were fired up for restoration.

    DVD and CD media backups are cheaper still, sure. But their reliability for long term storage is marginal. This is due to the fact that the media is cheap, the laser's are cheap and the format's are almost proprietary.

    At the day gig, we have 150 laptops burning THOUSANDS of images every day. When we receive them for processing, routinely between 10-14 percent are unreadable or have corrupted files. To me that is an entirely unacceptable rate.

    We've also had an historic 10 percent failure rate on HDD backups.

    There is one other format that hasn't been mentioned... Tape.

    Tape backups are a bit tricky to get used to because of the types of routines and schemes... Full, Incremental, Differential... Mother Father, Sister, Brother; Round Robin; etc.

    In my 30 years experience, tape has been 100 percent reliable. So when you compare 10-15 percent failure to 0 percent... tape is by far the best media for backup and archive.

    Online services are what are commonly referred to as Co-Location services or CoLo's for short. CoLo's charge by the bandwidth and connection speed. They are also classified in two ways... managed and un-managed.

    Managed CoLo services are where the CoLo is using their servers and tape backups. Un-Managed CoLo's are where they give you a set of keys to a room in a facility that you put your own computer and backup system.

    AFAIK, there are no CoLo's that will let you pay an annual fee. All of them I've seen are monthly base fees with overage charges for excessive bandwidth.

    Most CoLo's use LTO tape drives, but alternatives that are reasonably priced include DAT and VXA. There are older technologies that can be had like DLT.

    Before buying into the older technologies, I would contact the manufacturers and ask them about service and repair. Older units are going to be prone to failure just due to age and mechanical fatigue, and you definitely want to be able to have a unit repaired... as most tape drive units are designed for a 10 year lifespan, and the tapes are good for 5-7 years of archive.

    The current trend is in what is called D2D2T... or, Disk to Disk to Tape.

    In D2D2T, you backup (or copy) from one server shared drive to another set of offline slower server drives (or limited access shared storage) and then that server/shared storage is backed up to tape.

    For most small users (like a studio) a modified D2D2T would be sufficient... e.g. Backup (or copy) from the local drive to a server (Which ideally would be at least a RAID 5) that has a tape backup. (But RAID is a whole different topic)

    The really important issue with any backup solution is the reality of disaster recovery. The whole "thing" is to keep your files safe. The only real way to do that is to have your files in two (or more) physical locations.

    IMHO, The ideal would be to have a local server and a media safe on location. Then take backups to your local bank on a routine schedule and put them in a lock box. Cycling the tapes through the safe, where there is a monthy backup going to the bank and anything over 60 days (completed projects) being but in the bank vault. Then, use a managed CoLo service that would do daily incrementals and monthly full backups.

    As always... YMMV
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