All the information you care about is either stored magnetically (Spinning Hard Disk Drive/Tape), in non-volatile circuits (Solid State Disk), or on optical media (CD-ROM/DVD/BluRay Discs). This is true for your laptop, desktop, phone, tablet, everything. And every single one of those technologies experiences Data Corruption in various forms, whether they are in use or in storage.
To put that simply, all of your data is succeptible to corruption, whether you like it or not. Unaddressed Data Corruption is typically permanent, and the impact can range from a minor irritation to extreme data loss that may result in financial losses. Chances are, you are already experiencing Data Corruption and you are completely unaware of it.
When Data Corruption affects Videos, it has spectacular results. If you are watching a video someone else made, there is an almost 100% chance you are watching a compressed video. These videos use clever math to keep the size of the video itself low, while retaining all those visible details you care about. When you're watching these videos, you have a very large amount of data being sent to your computer/device.
If just one bit of data (the smallest measurable amount of data available) is corrupted, portions of the video can look like complete nonsense. If a video file experiences corruption throughout it, the video itself might be completely useless.
Data Corruption affects Images in almost an identical manner to Videos. A lot of the mathematical methods used for Video compression are used for Image compression too. As such, a single corrupt bit can ruin small to large amounts of an image. But if multiple bits of an image are corrupt, it can ruin the whole image.
Almost everyone with a phone now has the ability to take digital images. We are storing more images that are important to us than ever before. As our image libraries grow, so does the frequency of Data Corruption of those images. Many of us treasure images captured througout our life, in the hopes they may last longer than we do. Unfortunately Data Corruption can irreversibly ruin these images too.
-Credit Lisa Han 2014
Those who produce audio as a hobby or profession typically find accuracy is paramount. When producing audio, a significant effort can go into how it is recorded. This can include equipment used, how the recording space is physically set up, and many other facets. Once a producer is happy with the recordings, they are typically turned into "Golden" versions; The authoritative, original copy of those recordings. These "Golden" versions can be used to manufacture Audio CDs, copies for online distribution, remixes, or any other number of copies or derivative works.
Despite how important they are, "Golden" versions of recordings are not immune to Data Corruption. In the modern day many of them are stored in ways that are readily affected by Data Corruption. This can have very serious implications, especially if the people who were recorded are no longer with us. It is commonplace for "Golden" recordings to be used well in the future for various legitimate purposes. If these recordings are corrupted, they may be completely useless.
Audio Corruption can sound so bad, it might damage your hearing. We will not present an example.
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We really mean EVERYTHING
Data Corruption can literally affect any data stored by a computer or electronic device. Multimedia is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some additional examples you may not have considered.
Almost 100% of the people reading this, have financial records stored on a computer somewhere. It does not matter whether it is in a spreadsheet, a database, or some other form, it will eventually experience Data Corruption. Data Corruption of Financial Records could turn profit into loss with the change of one digit. When referring to Financial Records many years in the past, accuracy is what you care about the most, and Data Corruption can compromise that.
Almost every business and organization rely on many different IT Servers to address continual needs. Such as E-Mail, Databases, Websites, Inventory, Record Keeping, User Access, and so much more. Typically these IT Servers are setup to store your important data in ways that are vulnerable to Data Corruption. This corruption could present you incorrect information, or even worse, take an important IT Server offline. How much does downtime cost you?
You type up paragraphs, enter numbers into fields, record information in a way that is presented for humans to read. Documents are everywhere, in every department. These documents could outline policy, system process, historical records, information to be presented to a prospective client, or many other useful things. Data Corruption could at best make the information inaccurate, and at worse make the documents unable to be read at all.
Data Corruption can be caused by many different elements. This can include vibration, firmware bugs, a faulty power supply, or even sources as obscure as cosmic rays (yes, they are real). But the real compounding effect is that the frequency of corruption scales with larger hard drives. In the past it was commonplace to have hard drives with capacities in the realm of 100Gigabytes to 1Terabyte. Silent data corruption did occur on disks of these size, but it was infrequent.
Today we live in a day and age where hard drive capacity is exploding. Drives as large as 10Terabytes are readily available to anyone with the coin in their pocket. As we increase the size of hard drives we use, so do we increase the number of silent data corruptions that occur.
This is provable
A 2008 study published by NEC talks about their findings for silent data corruption. Some notable instances of data corruption they found included:
- Torn Writes. Where a write only partially happens, so the data on-disk containing part of the old data and part of the new data.
- Misdirected Writes. Where data is written to the wrong part of a hard drive, possibly overwriting other data.
- Data Path Corruption. Where the components controlling the hard drive are faulty, writing and/or serving corrupt data.
NEC also observed that these went undetected by the RAID controllers used in the system, resulting in permanent data loss, with compounding effects over time.
A 2007 study published by CERN observed that data corruption can impact 1 in 1500 files, and if compression exists that impact drastically increases. The same study observed that Hardware RAID controllers providing RAID5 did not correct any such corruption in parity, effectively rendering parity useless. The corruption they observed happens not only when files are being written, but when they are being read too.
This is solvable
Your data is one of your most important assets. Be it your family photo album, your company database, your financial records, or any other information that you store. What would you do if you lost irreplaceable data just by having it?
The sky isn't falling, but chances are by the time you read this, you have already experienced Data Corruption. We at LANified! IT Services employ special technology to ensure our own data is consistent, and the same technology is ready to be implemented for you too. Would you like to know more?