IBM Floats Encryption Downstream

IBM's new TS3400 tape library borrows encryption technologies from the company's TS1120 tape drive.
Posted February 13, 2007

Clint Boulton

IBM (Quote) is taking encryption to the midrange storage market today, unveiling its System Storage TS3400 Tape Library to protect data as it comes into the box.

The TS3400, a two-drive library that can fit as many as 18 cartridges and store up to 37.8 terabytes (define) of data, includes security technologies found in the IBM TS1120 tape drive for large enterprises.

Encryption is a key buzzword for hardware and software vendors trying to sell their wares these days.

Two major trends are converging to create a Web of paranoia around data housed on computers: the proliferation of laptop thefts and database breaches, along with the emergence of corporate data privacy policies that require data be kept safe are forcing businesses to demand technology to keep their data shored up.

Naturally, vendors such as IBM, HP (Quote), EMC (Quote), Sun Microsystems (Quote) and others are rushing to offer encrypted machines that give enterprises and extra measure of security.

Encrypting data in a tape drive is valuable for customers because, unlike other devices, tape drives show no significant performance slips. Encryption in the drive also allows for data compression.

Sun, for example, offers Sun StorageTek Crypto Key Management Station manages keys used to encrypt and decrypt data on the StorageTek T10000 tape drive.

But Master said IBM believes it is the first to offer midrange encryption on a tape-based device.

To wit, with IBM's new TS3400, users can tap the Java Encryption Key Manager to encrypt and access data across AIX, i5/OS, Linux, HP, Sun and Windows operating systems.

Bruce Master, senior programming manager of tape storage at IBM, said IBM believes it is ahead in this track meet, because it was able to pack the same encryption features from its high-end TS1120 tape drive into the new TS3400 tape library to appeal to midrange customers.

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