Keeping very old and good backups operative.

Our customer has very old backups, 20 or more years.
Those where done with WINRAR and winzip of those days.

there are two issues.
1. Are we able to read those formats today ? Or are we supposed to, lets say, every 5 years convert those backup files to latest formats?
    Is there any software that will do that for us automatically? Auto update itself and auto migrate the backup files to the new format ?

2. The second point is the storage device, usb connections improve they get faster and better, devices need drivers updated, according to new versions of OS
    So I guess we have no choice than to move all every 5 years to new devices ?

 HOw reliable would it be if we store in the Cloud? and is it advisable only the cloud ?
How are companies doing this around the world ?
RGuillermoProject ManagerAsked:
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
unzip should be able to read .zip files (also old one).
unrar should be able to read .rar files.
There are opensource versions where an older version should be able to read them.
Then again the formats didn't change wildly.

Best option TRY a restore.

Wrt. devices, back in the days tapes need to be respooled every 5 years (read and then written back, or to new media as newer media could store more data).  So yes media might need be renewed, this is also true for CD-rom.. The best archival medium i know of are WORM drives.
(not based on CDROM).
Now Disks that are IDLE for long time might have their head stick to the platters.

Cloud as long term storage?.... that will require contracts for that. (And the data might need to be encrypted  or get mined if you think OneDrive, GoogleDrive etc.)   which will add key management to the mix.
Also if the bill isn't payed, the data will be lost irretrievable.
Encryption on older .zip files changed from 3DES to AES some time.. not sure when).

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
1. Formats change from 20 years back. You may be able to read the old file and you may not. So yes, if the files are important make sure they can be opened and are on current media.

DOC and DOCX, XLS and XLSX and PDF from 10 years ago or more can be read by the newest version.

1a.  I have not seen any software that will automatically open and update any version of file.

2. I keep important documents on my modern computers on the drive.  That works.

2a.  Dropbox and Cloud both work.
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
@john, do you expect Dropbox to be still around in 20 years time?... hardly any cloud provider exists for  half that time.
For long term storage one should look into stuff like
except this one needs a valid license to be usable .... so that might be troublesome in years time.

Any specialized equipment also brings the drivers issue with it so long term standard should also be considered.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I move things along to the newer "cloud" venue. That was along the lines of what I said in my point 1 (current media).

Right now, current hardware and drives is one of the best ways for me.
RGuillermo - you left out an important point :
on what media, or device is the backup stored? cd- DVD can grow bad over time, -so does tape backups
disks do work - or not
anyway - if you want to keep backups a long time - best have a second backup on other media

** the backups can be on a zip drive, or iomega drive cartridge - that means you need the proper device to read them back
Shalom CarmelCTOCommented:
The advantage of cloud services is that they are supposed to take care of renewing and upgrading the physical infrastructure of the archive storage, so you should not lose data because of bad drives or incompatible devices. The only problem you then have is the data format itself.
Carlos IjalbaIT Systems DirectorCommented:
1.- Disaster Recovery scenarios should be tested once a year.
2.- Archived Backups should be renewed to newer media every 5 years, otherwise, you risk losing the ability to restore into new machines.
3.- Two copies of Archives should be used at different sites.
4.- Cloud storage is a viable candidate to replace one of the copies of your data.
5.- To access old data, a good and inexpensive option is to also keep old platforms virtualized to be able to access your old data (in our days you can have ms-dos, unix, linux, windows NT machines kept as VMs), emulators can also be used for other platforms not supported via common virtualization (Mainframe like Hercules, DOSBox for really old PCs, etc).
RGuillermoProject ManagerAuthor Commented:
After testing most of the options given
We chose to do several options.
External Hard disk, DVD, and cloud.... all at the same time
and in the case of EHD and DVD moving every five years.....
using 7 zip and winrar.

all comments about this are welcome.
Sorry for the delay, small work trip.

Thank you so much, Experts!!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome - happy to help.
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