Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Media Hardware

SanDisk WORM SD Card Can Store Data For 100 Years 267

Posted by timothy
from the warranted-for-lifetime-of-original-purchaser dept.
CWmike writes "SanDisk has announced a 1GB Secure Digital card that can store data for 100 years, but can be written on only once. The WORM (write once, read many) card is 'tamper-proof' and data cannot be altered or deleted, SanDisk said in a statement. The card is designed for long-time preservation of crucial data like legal documents, medical files and forensic evidence, SanDisk said. SanDisk determined the media's 100-year data-retention lifespan based on internal tests conducted at normal room temperatures. The company said it is shipping the media in volume to the Japanese police force to archive images as an alternative to film. The company is working with a number of consumer electronics companies, including camera vendors, to support the media."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SanDisk WORM SD Card Can Store Data For 100 Years

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:12PM (#32686698)

    .. then they started to rot at 3-5 years, in my experience..

    Post this again in 100 years, until then, it's just more bullshit marketing.

    • by Jason Earl (1894) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:27PM (#32686776) Homepage Journal

      Exactly, I would be curious to know what sort of "room temperature" tests can tell how reliable something is going to be in 100 years.

    • by t33jster (1239616) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:34PM (#32686814)

      bullshit marketing

      Seriously? I think it's brilliant marketing. Who wouldn't want to throw a WORM into their card reader?

      I'll have 2, thank you.

    • by countertrolling (1585477) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:49PM (#32686910) Journal

      Post this again in 100 years...

      Yeah, I'll be here yelling DUPE!

    • by goombah99 (560566) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:58PM (#32686946)

      .. then they started to rot at 3-5 years, in my experience..

      Post this again in 100 years, until then, it's just more bullshit marketing.

      yes but this one comes with a money back gauretee if you can't read your data in 100 years.

      Of course there won't be any software that can read the format. Even if it were unformatted data, We've gone from ebcdic to ascii to unicode is a very short time.

      in 100 years logic will all be spintronic coupled quantum states locates in googles tritium powered headquarters on mars. You'll communicate with it by quantum entanglement of the implants added to your brain when you were an infant. The division between thought and recall will not be perceptible and you won't even be aware that information storage actually exists. the idea of possessing a physcial storage device will confuse people, so no one will actually know what it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        And on top of all that, who knows where SanDisk will be in 100 years. Possibly bankrupt from having to refund everyone's WORM SD card.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mirix (1649853)
        I don't know if ASCII would be the best example. It's been around 50+ years, and is still readable. Hell, it's the default / only supported format for a lot of things, still. (well backward compatible extensions at least, CP-437 et al). UTF-8 is backwards compatible with ascii for that matter, too.

        I'm rather disappointed with the lack of unicode support for a lot of things, in 2010. (slashdot for example).

        I'd Imagine SDRSUFHC (Secure Digital Really Super Ultra Fucking High Capacity) card readers will be bac
        • He’s not talking about 10 years. He’s talking about 100!
          Are you even aware of what an exponential curve is?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by delinear (991444)
            The knowledge to read this data isn't going to suddenly vanish. We have the technology [wikipedia.org] to read wax cylinders from 120 years ago (albeit the data is often badly degraded, but these disks claim to deal with that issue) and the only reason cheap home solutions for reading wax cylinders aren't ubiquitous today are that there are very few in existence and not enough people care. If enough big government or corporate bodies have their ultra long term storage on these devices then you can be sure there will be com
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jimicus (737525)

          Except historically, it's not been character encoding that's the problem. It's been lifespan of suitable media reading equipment.

          I defy you to find a cheap, easy way to read 50 year old media, even if the media itself is in pristine condition. Hell, I'll even make it easier for you and set the limit at 30 year old media. There are one or two companies around that specialise in getting data from old media onto newer media, and they charge an arm and a leg. There's a reason for this.

          • by mirix (1649853) on Friday June 25, 2010 @04:25AM (#32688188)
            True, but modern (E)EPROM programmers / readers will still read EPROM chips dating to at least the late 70's.

            A SD card has a lot more in common with a ROM chip than it does with a 30 year old spinning disk, the way I see it. You call pull data off it using SPI interface, which pretty well every microcontroller made in the last decade has in hardware, and if not, you can bit-bang it half-drunk and blindfolded. All the information is available, I just can't see it being lost to the sands of time if you can bang up a reader for peanuts.

            Guys have hooked these up to (home) routers, bitbanging the data off GPIOs that were originally relegated to flickering LEDs, and are able to use them as storage. (under linux)

            Here is a pdf on the interface.
            http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdcard/pls/Simplified_Physical_Layer_Spec.pdf
            Section 7 is what I'm on about. The speed is reduced in the simple SPI mode, but if the data is important, I suppose that is irrelevant.
          • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday June 25, 2010 @09:24AM (#32690436)

            I defy you to find a cheap, easy way to read 50 year old media, even if the media itself is in pristine condition. Hell, I'll even make it easier for you and set the limit at 30 year old media.

            Challenge accepted: The vinyl record.

            Records made 50 years ago are still readable using my Numark TTX turntables I bought last year, using the Shure M44-7 needle I bought at Christmas. I'd dare say that most records made 80 or 90 years ago - though encoded in mono - are still able to be played back presuming the media itself is intact.

            Granted back then there wasn't much in the way of digital information being written onto vinyl, but there is now - it's called timecode (i.e. Serato, Traktor, Torq, etc.). So it's not THAT much of a stretch to essentially record data modulated into sound similar to an old dial-up modem on a record, then playing it back circa 2110 assuming that it doesn't spend a sunny summer day in my car.

            What about barcodes printed onto paper, or some digital variant of braille? It's not necessarily the most IDEAL way of storing data for easy retrieval - in both cases the storage density is very low and thus an admittedly low capacity - but it satisfies your requirements of being a storage medium that has survived for 50 years and is still readable by hardware in active production.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jibjibjib (889679)

        Quantum entanglement is a reasonably well-understood phenomenon which isn't a method of communication. Please don't use it as a name for your unrelated hypothetical future technology.

      • by Raul654 (453029) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @11:28PM (#32687116) Homepage

        You're not being imaginative enough. One very hot topic of research in reliable computing right now are self-describing file formats. They are less space-efficient but they should effectively solve the software-side problem of long term storage. Interesting enough, the US National Archive is one of the biggest players on the block when it comes to thing kind of research.

      • yes but this one comes with a money back gauretee if you can't read your data in 100 years.

        Of course there won't be any software that can read the format.

        eBay has a punch card reader available right now. Granted, the thing is probably more durable (and repairable) than the average SD card reader, but the odds look pretty good.

        And Linux, at least, will still read FAT.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SharpFang (651121)

        Oh, of course, money-back guarantee...

        So some company in 1925 sells new movie reels. The new film is guaranteed to last 100 years, money-back guarantee! You buy ten, for cost of a brand new Ford Model T.

        And so, 2010 comes and you want to play back the movies. They should be good for another 15 years. But they all turned to sludge. Oh, the company is still in business, unbelievable! You even kept the receipt! So you go visit them and ask for refund. Yes, sir! Here's your $24 per reel of film, and we're sorry

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You should buy better media. My oldest CD-Rs (Mitsui Gold, Philips/Ritek) were burned 02/1998. All of them still read perfectly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are Archival CDs that exist, and some of mine have lasted a good 15 years so far with no errors on 100+ CDs. Only problem is, they're REALLY expensive.

      For an example: http://www.delkin.com/products/archivalgold/cdr.html
      $199 for 100 of these things.

      You buy 10 cent CDs, you get 10 cent CDs =)

    • by jgardia (985157)

      no, that was what they said about CDs, not CD-Rs (at least here).
      BTW, in my experience CD-RWs have a much longer lifespan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:18PM (#32686730)

    Until you realize that the last reader for it will be extinct in 20.

    I'll buy one so I can put it in my time capsule along with my 8" floppy and punch cards.

    • by miggyb (1537903) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:29PM (#32686784) Homepage
      I don't know. On the other hand, the industry has gotten a lot better at reusing connections and being backwards-compatible. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 1.1, I believe. Serially attached SCSI uses the same connection as SATA. We haven't moved beyond 24 pin motherboard power connectors for ages. The new SDXC standard still accepts regular SD cards. The examples go on and on.
    • by Mspangler (770054) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:30PM (#32686794)

      "Until you realize that the last reader for it will be extinct in 20."

      Not necessarily. They still make turntables for LP records.
      Also, if the specification is well documented, then someone can always build a reader if it really matters. File formats are likely to be more troublesome.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Portions of the specification are secret [4centity.com].

      • File formats can be figured out eventually. In 20years I'm pretty sure we'll be able to figure any weird file formats that are usable today.
      • Or build a reader that has a bluetooth interface. It's probably easier to handle a wireless interface with a software radio than having to build in silica. Have it powered via low-power induction (i.e. wireless power).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rvw (755107)

        "Until you realize that the last reader for it will be extinct in 20."

        Not necessarily. They still make turntables for LP records.
        Also, if the specification is well documented, then someone can always build a reader if it really matters. File formats are likely to be more troublesome.

        The LP was a medium that lasted almost a century, in a period when nothing really happened with new media. (Yeah tape, cassettes - but those came decades later and lasted for decades as well, and that's about it.)

        If it really matters.... If it really matters for a big company or a government - yes. But if it matters for the average Joe Nobody, who will pay for it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by prkamath (1832520)
      Why don't you try clay tablets? An egyptian friend highly recommends those!
      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @11:37PM (#32687164)
        Why don't you try clay tablets? An egyptian friend highly recommends those!

        Egyptians mostly used papyrus, it was the Sumerians who used clay tablets for documents. If baked, they are virtually indestructible (there are plenty 5 or 6 thousand years old) and museums now have millions of them slowly being collated and translated.

    • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:53PM (#32686926) Homepage

      I'm more worried about the fact that much electronics may suffer from natural changes in soldering. Especially lead-free solder is suffering from this since tin (used for soldering) changes characteristic when it's stored too cold.

      The chip may be good for 100 years but the carrier for the chip may not.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        in 100 years it should be easy enough to reattach to the pins, especially if one particular design, like WORM SD becomes popular, a bracket with MEM drills that cut through the plastic in the right places and connect to the chip in the right places should not be too expensive, at least not so for anyone who needs to get at 100 year old data badly enough. probably easier / cheaper than current paper restoration techniques
      • Thats what a stove is for.
    • by jibjibjib (889679)
      If electronics still exists in 100 years, someone will still be making microcontrollers with I/O pins plus whatever a recent USB-equivalent is. Building an SD-card reader is pretty trivial.
    • If someone were to take an SD card and send it to me 20 years in the past, I could have easily read the contents of it. With some transistors to deal with the 3V system and some fairly primitive circuitry. Using simplistic setups you can't read it very fast, but you can read SD.

      I would expect 50 years from now, off the shelf components would be easily combined to read these SD cards. A little circuit to deal with the control voltages. a little processor to wiggle the data lines. Pretty straight forward. tal

  • tamper proof (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oakgrove (845019) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:21PM (#32686752)

    card is 'tamper proof' and data cannot be altered or deleted, SanDisk said in a statement

    To what value of highly funded and motivated attacker? They left that part out of the marketing hyperbole.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      If nothing else works use a paper punch.

    • Re:tamper proof (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @11:51PM (#32687214)

      Get an identical card. Copy the data to HDD, tamper away, rewrite to new card.

      Tamper proof my arse.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:24PM (#32686760)

    Good for 100 years or your first fire, flood, or other natural disaster that destroys the physical media.

    Also, even if these do last for 100 years, it's a certainty that there won't be any hardware left that's capable of reading SD cards. Even if there's some piece of hardware in a museum, it won't be able to interface with existing technology. Given the rapid pace of the tech industry, anything beyond 25 years is just fodder for marketing.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:30PM (#32686796) Homepage Journal

    So they state 100 years, based on tests at room temperature. Can we assume that the media will always be stored at room temperature in 100 year period? My experience generally shows this is wishful thinking, because air conditioning breaks down, heating fails, the room is not always dark, can have direct sunlight etc. Provide me something that can last a 100 years in conditions of, at least, 30 degree centigrade variation, and then it might be interesting. Certainly I won't be around to appreciate the end results, but for archival this is a requirement, IMHO.

    • Paper tape last several decades at minimum, and possibly much longer depending on paper quality.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_tape [wikipedia.org]

      Punched paper tape is tried and true technology, but is slow and highly mechanical.

      There's a newer variant of paper tape designed for archival purposes, that's not punched, but rather has lots of small dots printed on it.

      Many DIY approaches skip the tape approach, and instead archive large amounts of data to ordinary printer paper...

      http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/07 [codinghorror.com]

    • by Kjella (173770)

      If it's really important enough, it'll hopefully end up in some archival vault in a mountain somewhere with would be very stable. However, if we're going for the post-apolalyptic scenario then it's a good question... if the power supplies are nuked, the vault abandoned for years, how much can be recovered then?

    • Those temperature fluctuations are likely to increase over time as people's patience for retaining the data wanes. Engineering is rarely the culprit for something to be destroyed or torn down. The Astrodome in Houston was designed to last 200 years, but people got bored with it and the city built a new stadium. Now they just have sporadic rodeos there and people are always talking about tearing it down.

      Over time, it's likely people will eventually stop caring about the data archived on these memory cards a
  • by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:35PM (#32686820)
    Since this technology is still transistor-based, wouldn't it be susceptible to damage from an electromagnetic pulse, either from a high-energy radio frequency device or (less likely, I hope) a nuclear weapon? EM radiation can travel much farther than the actual blast radius, leaving these cards physically intact, but electrically unusable. If true, then why not stick with optical media such as a DVD or CD, which is more durable and offers similarly complex tamper protection (not to mention a larger capacity at a lower price)?

    This looks like a solution in search of a problem.
    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      A simple Faraday cage can protect the cards from EM radiation.
    • by Vellmont (569020)

      You're right. It's also vulnerable to flamethrowers, grenades, and the incredibly stupid who think it's a cheeseburger.

      WTF? It's not supposed to be a solution to survive every conceivable and improbable disaster. It's just supposed to be reasonably reliable for archival purposes.

  • Good timing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:40PM (#32686858)
    ...since the 'other news' today says that's all we have left [ http://www.physorg.com/news196489543.html [physorg.com] ]...
  • Ah Crap! (Score:4, Informative)

    by drfreak (303147) <dtarsky@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:51PM (#32686920)

    To me this is kind of a technology regression, unless one is only concerned with archiving. I used to work at a Title Company where scanned documents were stored on a WORM drive in the mid-90's. WORM as a technology in itself tends to err on the side of retention time vs. speed. Think about it, CD-R, DVD-R and every other -R is technically WORM media.

  • I'd buy that for a dollar!

  • by rhizome (115711)

    What is this, Byte Magazine in 1993?

  • by oljanx (1318801) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @11:35PM (#32687150)
    We've seen a lot of discussion about "file and forget" digital storage methods. I haven't seen one that I'd trust over even a 10 year time period. The only practical solution is to periodically move your data over to the latest, long term storage medium. Make multiple copies each time, and store them in separate physical locations. I make sure to store all of my personal/financial/etc data along with family pictures and videos. I challenge you to go more than five years without wanting to watch your kids walk for the first time. This helps remind me when it's time to update.
    • I challenge you to go more than five years without wanting to watch your kids walk for the first time. This helps remind me when it's time to update.

      Oh. So that explains why all your kids are separated in age by five years.

  • 30 Years Ago . . . (Score:5, Informative)

    by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:38AM (#32687400)
    . . . we called them PROMs. If you have an original IBM PC, its BIOS was in PROM. I bet most PROMs still are readable.
  • Only 100 years?

    Now if they had announced 1010 years then, yeah, that would have been interesting.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

Working...