Did I just buy my last spindle of DVDs?

I've been on DVD-Autopilot for the last ten years. Shoot a job? Back it up on two DVDs. Deliver a job? Send it on a DVD. Seems like a workflow that became a routine that became a habit. Now, don't jump in and tell me I should be backing up everything onto successive hard drives because I've been doing that too. In fact, I have a large filing cabinet drawer filled with carefully labeled external hard drive filled with stuff I probably don't need and never want to see again. But every quarter I hire an assistant to come in, plug each drive into an older computer station and spin em up. Just to check em. We run disk repair on them for good measure, let them spin down and put them back into the drawer. Costs me a couple hundred bucks but it keeps the freelance anxiety at bay. Or at least on a leash. 

Lately, when client insist on "owning all rights" we make them sign a waiver informing them that once they receive the materials we have no obligation to archive the images or make any sort of replacement of the images for any reason after the first 30 days. We STRONGLY encourage them to participate in a good back-up strategy. With implied ownership comes a new layer of responsibility for them. 

So----I've been in the DVD habit for a decade and in the last year all jobs were actually delivered using alternate methods. We sent a lot of single, retouched head shots and hero advertising shots to various clients with on line services such as DropBox (Thank you Samsung for giving me two years of 50 gigabytes of free space!!!). That's worked out well and clients like the delivery system. They tend to want to keep stuff up on Dropbox so they can use it as a defacto storage platform but we send them a notice, give them a time window and then relentlessly sweep out the folders. 

For bigger jobs, especially those under 16 gigabytes of finished files we use thumb drives/memory sticks/usb flash memory (call it whatever you like). We load up the images on the stick and hand it off or send it to the client via USPS Express Mail or similar service. Takes longer but that's really a lot of material to get through some company firewalls done over the web....

For really big jobs that exceed 32 gigabytes we bite the bullet, grab a portable, USB powered hard drive and write out the job to that. The drive is handed to or shipped to the client and we generally don't ask for the drives back. Although some make their way back to us when a client does another job. They usually bring the HD along with them and ask us to add the files to it. 

So why am I still burning these damned disk? I'm guessing this is my last spindle. I need to research the state of HD reliability and move to a series of ever bigger RAID arrays. Not happy about it because I have the prejudice that optical media is more robust than magnetic media but I'm ready to be proven wrong. 

The biggest driver for change? HD Video and the looming memory black hole that is 4K video. We need to back it up. We need to move it and we need to share it. And very few projects I've done, even the 30 second spots in an editable state will fit on the meager pastures of the DVD ranch. 

Funny how changes in technology relentlessly push changes in storage. I guess I've been lucky to have lasted in the "old school" paradigm of DVDs for this long. 

Quick data point for those who are interested. I've been randomly pulling out and checking CDs and DVDs from as far back (CDs) as 1996 and I have yet to come across an unreadable or corrupted disk. Many of our CDs and DVDs were burned onto various maker's "Gold Disks" (Kodak, etc.) and while I don't image that they will last forever some of them are coming close to 20 years of service. We keep them sleeved, in the dark and in temperature controlled environments. Fingers crossed we'll last until someone comes out with indestructible storage and I'll hire that assistant to come back in and spend a month transferring.....oh boy! That will be fun.

Don't care how but you really should be backing the good stuff up. All the crap you shoot? Just stick it in the cloud....everyone else does.