Front Porch Digital Debuts the Archive Format of the Future

OUISVILLE, Colo. – April 10, 2011 – Front Porch Digital today announced that its DIVArchive® V7.0 will mark the debut of the new Archive eXchange Format (AXF), an open digital storage format set to revolutionize interoperability among systems, making future media workflows more secure, seamless, and efficient than ever before. Being content and storage technology agnostic, the new AXF format provides the world’s most open, flexible, dynamic, and protected mechanism for file-based archive, preservation, and exchange.

“With interfaces to all leading broadcast devices, editing platforms, file systems, media asset management solutions, and broadcast control systems, our DIVArchive is history’s most successful and most implemented content storage management solution,” said Brian Campanotti, Front Porch Digital’s chief technology officer. “Front Porch Digital has now leveraged our unmatched experience to develop AXF, which we fully expect to become the long-awaited global, open, and portable standard for archiving and preservation of all file-based content. This format will become the new TAR.”

As a founding member of the SMPTE AXF committee in 2006, Front Porch Digital is firmly committed to open standards work. In fact, the company will contribute its AXF designs back to the SMPTE committee to further the goal of AXF standardization.

“Unfortunately, standards body work occasionally cannot keep pace with technical innovation,” added Campanotti. “When the SMPTE AXF committee went into a hiatus in 2008, we went back to the drawing board and leveraged more than a decade of expertise in storage technology and large-scale archiving systems to design, develop, and implement AXF. For me, this has been a personal and professional priority, and it required a significant amount of R&D resources. The result is an important achievement that we are proud to contribute back to the community. This truly is a game changer.”

Front Porch Digital based AXF on a file and storage media agnostic encapsulation approach that abstracts the underlying file systems, operating systems, and storage technologies making the format truly open. The AXF object contains any type, any number, and any size of files along with structured and unstructured metadata, checksum and provenance information, full indexing structures, and more, all in a single, fully self-describing, encapsulated package. Since the AXF object itself contains the complete file system, all of the complexities and limitations of the underlying storage technology, operating system, and file system are avoided and the same AXF object can exist on data tape, spinning disk, flash, optical media, or other storage technology now and into the future.

AXF’s scalable ability to contain any number of component files of any size is a key advantage over the limitations of both legacy container formats and modern operating and file systems. As an entirely self-contained and self-describing format, AXF supports large-scale archive systems as well as standalone applications, facilitating encapsulation, long-term protection, and content transport between systems from different vendors. Built-in features like per-file checksums, per-structure checksums, and easy replication across any type and format of storage technology helps to ensure compatibility with evolving technology and security for the future.

AXF is a truly IT-centric implementation, supporting any type of file encapsulation including database files, Microsoft® Word documents, and image files – not just media assets. AXF offers full support for the well-known Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model as well as key preservationist features like provenance for both media and objects, inherent GUID/UMID support, geo location tagging, error detection down to the file/structure level, and data-validity spot checking. In addition, because AXF does not rely on current tape storage functionality such as partitioning, it works with legacy as well as leading-edge storage technologies such as IBM and HP LTO-5 as well as Oracle’s T10000C.

AXF can be previewed as a key feature of DIVArchive V7.0 – part of the Front Porch Digital DIVASolutions line of products – at the 2011 NAB Show, booth N5806. The latest incarnation of DIVArchive is set for release to the marketplace later this year.

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