File-Transfer Access and Management (FTAM)

Definition of File-Transfer Access and Management (FTAM) in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is File-Transfer Access and Management (FTAM)?

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model counterpart of the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol (FTP). The File-Transfer Access and Management (FTAM) protocol is an OSI application layer (layer 7) protocol that specifies a standard mechanism for access and management of a distributed network file system.

FTAM enables users to:

  • Access file stores both locally and remotely, making FTAM a distributed file access protocol more similar to Gopher in this regard than to FTP
  • Integrate management of both local and remote file stores, including the ability to manipulate both files and their attributes
  • Access file stores on different kinds of machines that have different types of file systems
  • Transfer files both synchronously and asynchronously

The FTAM model defines the architecture of a hierarchical virtual file store in terms of file structure, file attributes, and the kinds of operations that can be performed on files and their attributes. The FTAM standard does not specify the actual user interface for file access and management, simply the underlying architecture of the system.

Vendors are left free to create their own user interfaces to FTAM file systems or use existing interfaces for their vendor-specific file systems. Some third-party vendors have developed FTAM-based products for Microsoft Windows NT and other operating systems, but like many aspects of the OSI model, FTAM has not caught on the way Internet protocols such as FTP have, mainly because of its complexity.