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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Security+
 9  Chapter 3:  Infrastructure Security (Domain 3.0; 20%)
      9  3.2  Media
           9  3.2.4  Removable Media

Previous Topic/Section  Tape
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Next Page  Hard Drives
Next Topic/Section  CD-R (Compact Disc Recordable)
(Page 1 of 2)

Recordable (CD-R, or Compact Disc Recordable) and Rewritable (CD-RW, or Compact Disk-Rewritable) CD-ROM technology has become popular for moderate-sized backups, due to the modest cost of drives and media. Other interesting uses have appeared as well313.

Figure 31: If you look carefully you can see that the CD-RW (left) has less reflection than the CD-R (Right). This can cause some CD units to not ‘see’ a CD-RW.


CD-R allows for an area of the disc to be written once, although the entire disk does not have to be written all at the same time; CD-RW allows any area of the disc to be rewritten multiple times. Unlike tape and hard discs, CDR is based on optical technology with a laser used to create “pits” and “lands” in the media to store data.

How do you choose between the different types of CDR media? CD-R media tends to be less expensive, but keep in mind that it cannot be re-used. Once you’ve filled up the disk, you can’t go back and delete data off it to free up space, and continue writing. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing from the point of view of archiving. You may specifically WANT to write data onto media permanently, so that it cannot be altered or deleted once it is written. With CD-RW on the other hand, you can use it almost like a hard disk, adding and deleting files as desired.

[spacer]CD Replacing Tape

CD has largely replaced both tape and diskette as the software distribution media of choice, because of the “Orange Book” physical standards which help ensure compatibility, capacity (usually 650meg to 700meg, per disk), and adoption of standardized CD file system formats such as ISO and El Torito by vendors and the wide availability of CD-ROM drives. CD-R’s and CD-RWs are usually the size of a typical audio CD, however, some manufacturers make them in “interesting” formats such as business-card-sized CD’s, and “cd single” sized CD’s which have a lower capacity (150MB) than full-sized CD’s.

A note to those buying media: CD-R’s and CD-RW’s are not quite created equal. There are “fast” discs (supporting fast write speeds like 24x) and “slow” discs (supporting slower write speeds like 4x), and varying levels of media quality. You generally get what you pay for here. Those bargain CD-R’s may only be burnable at low speed (which increases the time it takes to write the info to the disc), or may have a very short life. For one-off temporary-use copies, bargain media may be sufficient. For backups, it almost certainly is not.

The composition of the media varies, depending on brand and quality. It consists of a reflective layer (either a silvery alloy, or 24K gold) and can include:

1. Cyanine dye (blue)

2. Phthalocyanine dye (aqua)

3. Metallized azo dye (dark blue)

4. Formazan dye (light green)

The type of reflective layer and dye may have a bearing on how long the media lasts (for example, phthalocyanine dye based CD’s are less sensitive to sunlight and UV radiation, while cyanine dye based CD’s are more forgiving of read/write power variations between drives). Additionally, some CD’s have an extra coating to help the CD resist scratches. Since scratching is one of the easiest ways to damage a CD-R or CD-RW, it is recommended that full-disc labels be used, to cover the top of the disc, to protect it from scratches and prolong its life.



Previous Topic/Section  Tape
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Next Page  Hard Drives
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Version 1.0 - Version Date: November 15, 2004

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