So a new but extremely important toy has arrived in the shape of a Sony ODS-D77U optical disc archive drive. Until now I have been using pairs of hard drives to backup my data and video clips. This is not an ideal solution, but it is cheap and easy. I’ve been following the development of ODA (Optical Disc Archive) since it’s inception. As it uses the same optical discs as the XDCAM optical disc cameras I know this to be an extremely secure and robust way to store footage having both dish-washed optical discs and performed other tests on their reliability (click here to see the original dish-washer test and the “challenge Alister” clip).
The drive comes with Sonys Media Browser software utility that allows you to easily select which files to copy to the disc cartridges either manually or through the use of watch folders (anything you place in the watch folders is archived to the ODA drive). As this happens Media Browser builds a compact searchable data base of what is stored on your archive cartridges complete with thumbnails and proxy files. The database resides on your computer so you can search your entire archive quickly whenever you want. When you find the files you want to retrieve it tells you which cartridge they are on, you pop the cartridge in the drive and then the files can be pulled off more or less instantly using Content Manager or your normal file browser. It’s all very simple and very easy, you can even play 4K content directly from the discs.
As the cartridges behave much like hard drives you have near instant access to files and don’t have to wait to de-compress them or shuttle through a load of tape to get to the desired files. And unlike tape you don’t need to be to fussy about how you store the disc packs. They should be largely immune to the effects of damp and temperature. They are designed to last at least 50 years.
There are two types of cartridge: Write once (the cheapest) that can only be written to once (you don’t have to use the entire disc at once) and writable. A 600GB write once disc cartridge costs approx $75USD so not much more than a high quality hard drive, but certainly a lot, lot safer and more robust. You can currently get cartridges up to 1.5TB write once and 1.2TB rewritable with larger capacities planned for the future.
The next step for me will be to setup a server for Sony’s new Media Navigator software that will help me better manage the many, many hours of media I own and I’ll be writing a diary on how ODA and Media Navigator fits into my workflow as I get the system up and running so watch this space. In addition I have opened a dedicated ODA/Navigator forum in the XDCAM-User forum.
For more information on ODA click here.
Sony Europe are currently running a promotion for ODA that includes a discounted price for the drive unit as well as 24 month 0% finance. Click here for details of this offer.