I was a bit uncomfortable with the recent discussion concerning "permanent" retention. It is the same discomfort as when Human Resources people talk about a "permanent" position. It is not a realistic adjective in these cases.
Last night, an esteemed colleague in data security used the phrase "persistent storage". This struck me as a useful description for retention that has otherwise been described as "permanent". The word "persistent" connotes an ongoing nature without definite termination. It seems more appropriate since nothing is truly permanent.
The earliest writings we have are 5,000 year old cuneiforms. That's about half the lifecycle necessary for inventory records of spent fuel rods at our nuclear power plants (and 10,000 years is just the half-life, after which the rods still emit dangerous radiation.)
Call a 10,000 year lifecycle "permanent" storage if you like. For anything shorter, I prefer the word "persistent".
Gordon E.J. Hoke, CRM
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