No Silver Bullet: Archive Challenges, Permabits and Petabytes
"Even worse, going beyond 5 years exceeds the functional life of media or recording technology, and maintaining physical readability becomes increasingly difficult. I'd be wiling to bet that a number of my readers have boxes of QIC-80 tapes in the garage or basement with old data on them. Even if the tapes have a 50 year lifespan, do you have any ideas on where to get a working QIC-80 tape drive? NASA just recently went through an amazing project to recover old Lunar Orbiter image data, involving finding, refurbishing and interfacing with 40-year-old Ampex tape drives, an enormous project covering more than a decade to complete. Media life isn't the problem with long-term data storage, and "archival-grade" media isn't going to solve your physical readability problems, because the reader hardware will never last as long as the media."