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XAM - Frequently Asked Questions

What is XAM?

XAM refers to the technology and not an implementation. XAM means “eXtensible Access Method”.

A joint storage industry proposal to establish standard interfaces coordinating information metadata between applications and storage systems.

XAM is a project underway for a standardized storage interface targeted initially for fixed content created by IBM and EMC in concert with other industry leading companies.

As a project it is subject to revision and expansion by SNIA as it progresses towards a standard.

Who is leading XAM work?

The founding XAM-team consisted of EMC and IBM as contributing sponsors of the IP and the initiative and Hitachi Data Systems, HP and Sun as endorsing sponsors. All sponsors have received respective executive commitment and committed resources to support this initiative.

Now that the proposed spec has been contributed to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and accepted by the Technical Council (TC) as a good starting point, the XAM-team continues to support this initiative in their capacity as members of the SNIA, the SNIA Data Management Forum (DMF), and the Fixed Content Aware Storage Solutions (FCAS) Technical Work Group (TWG).

Why XAM?

The submitting sponsors believe that application developers want one way to speak to multiple content-centric devices and customers want easy migration between vendors’ technology.

Why was XAM launched?

To initially facilitate wide adoption of fixed content or reference information storage platforms by storage vendors and consuming applications.

Why do we need a new storage standard?

By assigning standard metadata, ‘fixed, or reference’ information can benefit from being stored in a different way than we do ‘active and changing’ information.

  • Application, ownership, or other types of record metadata enables storage transparency and interoperability.
  • Requirements for performance, availability, security, privacy, authentication, integrity, access audits, distribution, location, retention period, disposition, long term online archive and migration, etc. can be set and managed via the metadata empowering ILM-based practice automation.

Who benefits from the XAM?

As an industry standard, the XAM will benefit application developers, customers, systems integrators, services developers, and storage vendors.

How will the initiative be implemented and maintained?

The standard will be developed within the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and the ratified by an international standards body. The Fixed Content Aware Storage Technical Working Group with SNIA, FCAS-TWG, is progressing the technical standard and the Data Management Forum is charged with market development.

Will new specifications be created?

Yes. The current specification proposal is the starting point of a standardization process. We envisage many revisions and extensions to the spec as part of this process.

We envision the XAM-Interface will define a set of key deliverables such as a XAM-API, XAM-SDK, XAM-reference implementation, etc.

Will the specifications be public?

Yes. SNIA’s practice is to make these public once ratified.

How long will this take?

This is a proposal and it is not certain how long this will take. The Fixed Content Aware Storage (FCAS) Technical Work Group will dictate the timeline.

XAM Genesis

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