HP Pumps Up Storage Encryption Capabilities


HP used the Storage Networking World conference, held this week in Dallas, to unveil its moves to improve the protection of customers' data.

It is a move welcomed by Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP storage partner.

There is a certain group of customers for whom it is urgent that data cannot be read by unauthorized people, Baldwin said.

"Encryption is becoming a standard feature," he said. "You see it even in laptops. If data is encrypted, and then the storage device is lost, the customer doesn't have to make the tough announcement about losing unencrypted data."

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HP on Monday said it enhanced its StorageWorks Secure Key Manager (SKM) appliance by giving it a capacity to store and manage up to 2 million keys, said Carlos Martinez, senior product manager for storage security at the vendor.

Previously, SKM had a capacity of only 100,000 keys. With the larger capacity, customers will have less concerns about running out of space for the keys, Martinez said.

HP has also lowered the entry price for SKM buy cutting the minimum number of licenses needed to buy and cutting the cost of additional licenses, Martinez said.

Previously, the price for a two-node appliance cluster and five SKM licenses was about $100,000. Going forward, customers can purchase the cluster and two licenses for $57,000, with additional licenses available for $7,500, he said.

"Before, we were thinking about the needs of Fortune-500 companies with several tape libraries," he said. This move makes more sense for the midmarket."

It does indeed, Baldwin said. "If a customer has a lot of storage, it will have a lot of keys, and will need the extra capacity," he said. "If you lose the key, you lose the data. This is part of an end-to-end storage strategy, and it makes sense to have one key vault instead of one for tape, one for secondary disk, and others."

Also new from HP is native encryption of data stored on its XP24000 and XP20000 enterprise-class storage arrays, said James Wilson, product manager of HP's XP disk array line.

The encryption is done on a separate controller as the data is brought into the array, regardless of whether it was originally encrypted or not, Wilson said. "So the data is encrypted at rest," he said. "This is important so that if a disk is sent to HP or Hitachi for repair, the data is protected. No disk has ever fell out of our secure facility, but just in case. . . ."

Each pair of encryption controllers costs $23,000. They are sold by the pair for the XP20000, while the XP24000 requires two pairs. Each controller pair can work with up to 128 hard drives or 256 hard drives.