The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), which leads storage standardization efforts, has formed a Long Term Retention (LTR) technical working group. LTR is working on a new logical container format, named Self-contained Information Retention Format (SIRF), for the storage of preservation objects. This format includes PDS ideas for self-describing, self-contained data format.
SIRF is a logical container format for the storage subsystem appropriate for the long-term storage of digital information. It is intended for a logical or physical storage area considered as a unit (storage container). For example, a storage container may comprise a mountable data storage unit, a file system, a tape, a block device, a stream device, an object store, and a data bucket in a cloud storage. SIRF is self-describing; namely, it can be interpreted by different systems and at different points in time. SIRF is also self-contained—all data needed for the preservation objects' interpretation is contained in the container. SIRF leverages OAIS and storage standards to create storage subsystems that are aware of their preservation objects and that can be interpreted by different applications and vendors.
SIRF enables reducing the cost of preservation, as the preservation processes can be done at a lower level of the system stack and can be performed close to the data using more robust, efficient, and automatic methods. This will reduce the need for export/import procedures of preservation objects and enable more scalable, cost-effective, physical and logical migrations.
The SIRF Use Cases and Functional Requirements document is released for public review.