MDF (Measurement Data Format) is a binary file format to store recorded or calculated data for post-measurement processing, off-line evaluation, or long-term storage. The format has become a de-facto standard for measurement & calibration systems (MC-systems) but is also used in many other application areas.
As a compact binary format, ASAM MDF offers efficient and high-performance storage of huge amounts of measurement data. MDF is organized in loosely coupled binary blocks for flexible and high-performance writing and reading. Fast index-based access to each sample can be achieved by loss-free re-organization (i.e. sorting) of the data. Distributed data blocks even make it possible to directly write sorted MDF files. The file format allows storage of raw measurement values and corresponding conversion formulas; therefore raw data can still be interpreted correctly and evaluated by post-processing tools. - by ASAM e.V.
ASAM MDF or ASAM ODS?
When data logger applications store their measurements in proprietary formats, many conversion tools transforming data into information are necessary. ASAM MDF is a step towards a readable and compliant ASAM format. However, storing information in ASAM MDF still results in file-based management of test data. Also, other test results from other proprietary formats may be of interest for further analytics. A file-based system is restricting this activity.
With ASAM ODS, this problem is solved. Both standards, ASAM MDF and ASAM ODS are compatible and can be used within one Test Data Management solution. All benefits such as the availability of expert tools remain. Therefore, ASAM ODS is the server solution for MDF files. It combines all data sources and provides all benefits of a server solution.
ASAM MDF is defined as a file format to store various kinds of data within one container. To avoid file-based repositories and provide the solution for a Test Data Management system, ASAM ODS was introduced.
Generated ASAM MDF files usually do not contain a lot of meta-information about the measurement and why it was performed. Enterprise or project-related data is often added from separate sources or is stored in other systems. ASAM ODS unifies all required information in one place.
Projects often have to incorporate measurements from various sources and formats. MDF4 is only one file format to manage and may not even contain a consistent level of information. ASAM ODS combines all sources into one repository.
ASAM ODS manages standardized catalogs for units, quantities, and physical dimensions across all measurements. This feature makes data comparable - independent of the format.
ASAM ODS provides security for all measurement data it contains. Files such as the MDF4 format can be kept in their original format but are protected by security.
ASAM MDF files found in the industry are usually optimized for writing data - not for reading data quickly. This is no problem when accessing the file on a local machine. ASAM ODS allows optimization to read data more quickly from a central data repository.