The History of AXF

The Early Days

In July 2006, the SMPTE V16-ARC AHG initiative was formed by Front Porch Digital (acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2014), Masstech and SGL to focus on the development of an open-standard for the storage and preservation of assets on any type of storage device or technology.  Merrill Weiss was selected as the SMPTE committee chair to lead this initiative.

In October 2008, the V16-ARC AHG received status as an official working committee under SMPTE and was renamed the 10E30WG-AXF or the Archive eXchange Format (AXF) working committee.  By April 2008, Front Porch Digital was the only remaining founding member in active committee participation. In October 2009, the SMPTE AXF committee ceased activities due to limited participation and the AXF initiative was shelved.

In recognition of the importance of AXF and the concepts it embodied, Brian Campanotti (CTO, Front Porch Digital) brought the initiative inside of Front Porch Digital to continue its advancement.  He formed a small working group including Grégory Pierre and Benoît Goupil.  The original design was abandoned and AXF was reinvented from the ground up while maintaining the key industry and end-user objectives as defined by the original SMPTE committee and by the industry.

AXF Released to the Market

At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas in April 2011, Front Porch Digital announced the completion of their AXF implementation and its release to market as part of their DIVArchive V7.0 Content Storage Management (CSM) solution.  Brian Campanotti further announced their AXF specification and design would be contributed to SMPTE as an unencumbered straw-man proposal for standardization by the AXF committee.  At the same time, the OpenAXF.org site was launched as a community portal for vendors and end-users interested in AXF technology to gather industry input and feedback on the invention.

The SMPTE 10E30WG-AXF committee (previously under the TC-10E Essence parent technical committee) was placed under the TC-31FS File Formats and Systems parent committee.  As a result of this reorganization, the official name of the SMPTE AXF committee was changed to TC-31FS30 AXF WG and this straw-man specification formed the basis for its continued work.

AXF BECOMES a SMPTE Standard

In September 2014, it was announced that AXF was ratified and published as SMPTE standard ST 2034-1:2014.  The SMPTE AXF standard can be downloaded directly from the IEEE Digital Library.

AXF BECOMES AN ISO/IEC STANDARD

As part of a personal commitment made in 2011, Brian Campanotti (Oracle Digital Media Solutions) spearheaded an effort to bring the SMPTE AXF standard to ISO/IEC for standardization and to broaden the reach of this very important technology.  The ISO/IEC PAS submission process was initiated with the assistance of Donald Deutsch (Oracle Chief Standards Officer), Lisa Rajchel (ANSI) and Laura Lindsay (Microsoft) in March 2016.  

Working closely with SMPTE and our ISO/IEC mentor, AXF was finally submitted to ISO/IEC a year later.  Following a two month translation phase, AXF entered balloting on June 7, 2017.  After a two month balloting period, AXF was ratified on August 24, 2017 as ISO/IEC 12034-1 with no comments or objections from voting nations.  ISO/IEC 12034-1 is scheduled for publishing in the coming weeks and represents a very proud and important moment for the AXF team!

AXF Adoption

AXF is already successfully deployed across various storage technologies (flash, disk, tape, optical and cloud) and a multitude of file-based asset types in many industries touching various applications and environments. In addition to storage and preservation, AXF is also in use by several global organizations facilitating authenticated and protected WAN-based transport of valuable assets between globally distributed facilities, as well as to-and-from cloud service providers.  AXF has been successfully deployed on all major storage technologies in industries spanning from national archives, film production and broadcasting, to generic IT-archiving.  We currently estimate there is in excess of 200PB of some of the worlds most valuable file-based assets stored, protected and preserved by AXF, a true testament to the dedication and hard work of many companies and individuals over the past decade.

AXF Vendor Support

As part of our AXF community leadership role, we continue to advocate and support the advancement of AXF across all industries.  We are also there to lend a helping hand to organizations during their planning and implementation of AXF, including supporting compliance and interoperability testing with other community members.  

Today, we are happy to report the following organizations currently offer solutions which support the AXF standard:

  • Digital Preservation Laboratories
  • Etere
  • Oracle (formally Front Porch Digital)
  • Tedial
  • Software Generation Ltd (SGL)
  • Masstech

We encourage you to contact us at info@openaxf.org if you are thinking about implementing AXF or would like help with interoperability testing and compliance certification.