Dual-Layer DVD Gains Ground as Backup Option

Opinion: The newest 8.5GB disks have storage capacity to burn.

With dual-layer disks becoming generally available and dropping in price, DVD has become considerably more valuable as a backup medium.

Dual-layer disks can hold as much as 8.5GB of data, which should be enough to store an operating system image for backups. With 8.5GB of capacity, users can also back up large digital media files such as videos, songs and photos.

As a backup medium, dual-layer DVD is attractive because it is WORM-formatted (and thus cant be edited after it is burned), and can be mounted and searched relatively quickly.

Both of these qualities will make it a good choice for IT managers with small budgets who need to preserve data-heavy records for compliance reasons.

Hunting around the Web, dual-layer disks can be found for as little as $2 to $3 each if youre willing to buy from lesser-known media makers and can deal with slower 2.4x burn speeds.

My current weapon of choice for dual-layer burning is Sonys external DRX-810UL drive, which can be connected using either FireWire or USB 2.0. The DRX-810UL drive began shipping earlier this month—and with a bargain-basement price of $150, there is no excuse for users and IT managers to not back up data.

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As far as looks go, with its shiny mirrored face, the DRX-810UL is no eyesore. Under the hood, bundled in with the drive is Nero software for burning DVDs, backing up PCs and basic photo editing.

The DRX-810UL can burn standard DVD+R media at 16x speeds, and can burn DVD+R dual-layer disks at 8x with qualified media.

In my informal tests, the Sony DRX-810UL was surprisingly fast when I used it to back up data on my home systems. Readers who want to get in-depth numbers on this drive should see Loyd Cases review of the internal version of the drive, the DRU-810A.

Unfortunately, for IT managers and power users, as a result of the war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, dual-layer DVD will probably be the best solution available for a while.

eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com.

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