The Storage Networking Industry Association proposed a specification for an interface between reference information and the location where it is stored on.
The eXtensible Access Method (or X-Access Method, XAM) is intended to provide an interface for reference information - medical images, documents, PDF files - that is independent of any specific storage system technology.
Reference information makes up as much as 80% of the data on the network, says the Enterprise Strategy Group. It is data that changes infrequently once it is written, but which needs to be retained for regulatory compliance.
The X-Access Method initiative began in October 2004 as a collaborative project between IBM and EMC, which were joined in the consortium by HP, Hitachi Data Systems and Sun. In September 2005, the XAM presented the proposal to SNIA, which after reviewing it passed it to a SNIA working group developing standards for fixed content data.
The interface would reside between applications and storage systems and would coordinate metadata for long-term archiving, interoperability and automation.