EMC plans native encyption on storage arrays

EMC plans native encyption on storage arrays


EMC is planning to incorporate data encryption technology on its storage arrays, using software technology it obtained from last month's acquisition of RSA Security.

The new technology will turn storage arrays into public-key infrastructure (PKI) devices, using the CPU cycles of the arrays to speed up the encryption and decryption process.

EMC expects to ship products within 12 to 18 months, according to Rob Sadowski, senior marketing manager for the data storage company.

"We are in the process of investigating what is the best way to implement encryption in all our disk arrays ... to encrypt the actual volumes where data may be stored," Sadowski said.

EMC has not yet determined whether it will use its midrange Clariion or high-end Symmetrix array line as the platform for the encryption engine, Sadowski said.

Providing the technology within the disk array itself would enable users to encrypt an entire database or multiple data volumes using their standard software management tools, without having to deploy, configure and learn new platforms or a separate appliance, Sadowski said.

In addition, because the encryption would be performed with the processing power of the storage array's controller, it would reduce load on the network and on servers. At the same time, EMC wants to be sure the encryption capability doesn't slow down the performance of the storage array, Sadowski said.

EMC is planning to incorporate RSA's PKI management capabilities into the array as well, Sadowski said. The storage array would be used to back up key management information, authenticate key users and provide the appropriate key to appropriate parties, he said.

"These capabilities would address common problems, such as how to prevent database administrators from viewing sensitive data within their databases, as well as how to assure the integrity of information shared by multiple departments, or even multiple companies [such as business partners] on the same storage," he said.

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