A data exchange process is implemented by a computer system coupled for communication with a remote index server via a network. The process provides for transfer of a data block from a source host having an internal source data format, to a destination host having an internal destination data format different from the source data format. The process includes the steps of: determining characteristics of the source data format by comparing the source data format to sets of data format characteristics stored in a memory storage space of the computer system to determine if a predetermined relationship exists between the characteristics of the source data format and a particular one of the sets, and if so, a source driver associated with the particular set is accessed from memory of the computer system, the source driver being capable of extracting a data block from the source host and converting the format of the data block to an intermediate data format. If no predetermined relationship exists, the process samples data from the source host, and transmits the sampled data to the index server which compares the sampled data to remote sets of data format characteristics stored in a memory of the index server to determine if a predetermined relationship exists. If a predetermined relationship exists, the server accesses an appropriate source driver, and transmits it to the client computer system.