SIDF Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about SIDF:
What is SIDF?
SIDF, System Independent Data Format, is the media format used by
a variety of tape and optical disk backup companies. The SIDF
specification focuses on representing system data and file data
and metadata for all types of operating systems and platforms in a media independent
common format. SIDF also addresses the media labeling, media indexing and session
Backup products bearing the SIDF logo are certified to read and
write tapes and optical disks using the international standard cross-platform removable
media format, ECMA-208.
the first major new file and label format approved by an international standards
body in over a decade. Because fields are recorded in a tagged-field format, the SIDF
tape standard is ideal for interchange between vendors, interchange between operating
systems, and interchange between versions of operating systems as they change over time.
What is ECMA-208?
the European Computer Manufacturer's Association, adopted SIDF in December, 1994.
ECMA committee members include the largest manufacturers of computer systems in the
industry: Apple Computer, Compaq, Digital, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Kodak, Sony and Sun.
The ECMA specification for SIDF, ECMA-208, covers the foundation of SIDF.
A few platform-specific attributes are noted in the "informative" section of the
specification and considered SIDF Association extensions to ECMA-208.
full ECMA-208 spec
as published by ECMA is now available in HTML (2.6 Megabytes),
Microsoft Word format (400 Kilobytes),
rich text format (800 Kilobytes)
and postscript (1.1 Megabytes).
What is ISO/IEC 14863?
ISO, International Standards Organization
spec ISO/IEC 14863 is ECMA-208 with comments.
Voting for Approval were: Belgium, Brazil, China, Egypt, Hungary, Ireland, Korea (Republic
of), New Zealand, Romania, Sovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.
The USA added several comments to it's approval, suggesting clarifications and wording
Japan alone voted to disapprove, citing as a technical reason that, in their opinion,
existing standards were sufficient and adding another standard will be undesirable.
By virtue of sufficient majority, ISO/IEC 14863 passed.
ECMA will be responsible for addressing all comments.
What is the SIDF Association?
The SIDF Association is an official organization dedicated to promoting the growth
of the tape and optical disk storage industry. The association is a non-partisan
consortium comprised of storage industry leaders who contribute both administrative
and technical resources to fulfill the committee's objectives.
The SIDF Association was formed to overcome the technological obstacles of data
storage products in the computing industry. Historically, proprietary storage products
have been incompatible across manufacturers' products. This incompatibility exists
among a single manufacturer's products on different operating systems, and among product
versions. The SIDF Association addresses cross-product compatibility, cross-platform
inter-operability, and many other technical barriers which are obstructing industry growth.
Association members include Cheyenne Software, Colorado Memory Systems,
Dantz Development, Emprise Technologies, Exabyte, Hewlett-Packard, Legato Systems, Mountain
Network Solutions, NovaStor Corporation, Novell, Seagate Storage Management, Stac Electronics,
Sytron, and Symantec. Prior members Arcada and Palindrome have merged to form Seagate Storage Management.
Which companies support SIDF?
Palindrome Backup Director,
and Stac Electronics RemServe
sponsor the SIDF Authorized Testing Lab for data interchange.
Certified products demonstrate the ability to read and write
data on a tape in full compliance with the published SIDF standard.
Companies supporting SIDF include
How can I get a copy of the spec?
Contact the SIDF Administrator,
VOICE: (847) 577-7200 or FAX: (847) 577-7276.
The spec can be viewed here, or you can download it (see
below), or you can also request a free printed copy from
SIDF Documents via FTP:
There are several subdirectories containing such things as meeting minutes and
the documentation (docs). Within the docs directory there are directories based
on the various revisions document by date, 208_YYMM. As of this writing,
the subdirectory 208_9412 contained the latest specification document:
- ecma208.ps -- in Post Script format for easy printing on A4 size paper,
- ecma208u.evy -- in Novell Envoy format for 8.5" by 11" paper,
- ecma208u.exe -- as a windows executable in Envoy format
For more information, see
The ECMAnews home page
How can I participate in the discussions?
SIDF Association meetings are publicized through the internet using the same
list-server used for the technical discussions, SIDF@wwa.com. To subscribe
send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the word "subscribe" as the subject. For help, set the subject to "help".
To unsubscribe, send email to email@example.com with the word "unsubscribe"
as the subject.
Use: firstname.lastname@example.org for posting content to all subscribers.
Use: email@example.com for talking to the robot that manages the list.
ECMA TC-15 meetings take
place 3 to 6 times a year at various locations in the US and Europe. For more
information, contact the ECMA secretary general, Jan van den Beld
Should I become a member of the SIDF Association?
Any interested party can become a member of the SIDF Association.
Members pay dues to defray the administrative costs of the facilitator.
Voting members are expected to attend SIDF meetings. Associate memberships
and Enduser membershipsare also available. To receive a complete packet
describing SIDF contact:
- Administrator, Andy Larsen,
ALarsen@wwa.com, (847) 577-7200
- Chairman, George Wayland, Seagate Storage Management,
- Secretary, Jim Gast, University of Wisconsin / Platteville,
For SIDF-certified products
Copies of the official SIDF logo are available in TIFF, GIF, BMP, and PICT
This page created and maintained by Jim Gast
Updated November 2000