Although there are significant technological risks
to data stored for the long term
, its most important vulnerability is to interruptions in the money supply
. The current pandemic is likely to cause archives to suffer significant interruptions in the money supply.
In Cloud For Preservation
I described how much of the motivation for using cloud services was their month-by-month pay-for-what-you-use billing, which transforms capital expenditures (CapEx) into operational expenditures (OpEx). Organizations typically find OpEx much easier to justify than CapEx because:
- The numbers they look at are smaller, even if what they add up to over time is greater.
- OpEx is less of a commitment, since it can be decreased if circumstances change.
Unfortunately, the lower the commitment the higher the risk to long-term preservation. Since it doesn't deliver immediate returns, it is likely to be first on the chopping block. Thus both reducing storage cost and increasing its predictability are important for sustainable digital preservation. Below the fold I revisit this issue.