IBM, Sun Add Encryption to High-End Tape Drives
Published: September 19, 2006
by Alex Woodie
IBM last week announced new versions of the System Storage TS1120 tape drive that encrypts data as it is written to tape, preventing data from being read if the tape is lost or stolen. The announcement of the new drive, which supports all major platforms including 5/OS, was immediately followed by Sun Microsystems' introduction of its own new tape encryption solution, called the StorageTek Crypto-Ready T10000.
Every week, it seems, there are new reports of companies, schools, or government departments losing vital data on its customers or users, thereby putting them at risk of identity theft. In fact, in the last year and a half, 90 million U.S. consumers have had their personal data inadvertently exposed. In some of these cases, lost or stolen tapes are to blame.
IBM is addressing this growing problem with its high-end tape drive, the TS1120, which is a version of the 3592 drives (formerly called "Magstar") that IBM has been selling for about a year. IBM will be including the new encryption capability with new drives, and offering it as an upgrade option to customers who previously purchased the drives.
IBM provides three encryption methods with the TS1120, including application-, system-, and library-level encryption. For system- or library-managed encryption, key management is handled with IBM's Java-based Encryption Key Manager software, which is actually included in its Java Virtual Machine distributions. This software can manage encryption of data coming from i5/OS, z/OS, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, and Windows operating systems. For application-level encryption, IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager storage is used to generate and communicate encryption keys to the TS1120 drives.
New TS1120 drives start at $35,500 and support up to 500 GB of data per tape. The drives can be used by themselves, or attached to the TS3500 Tape Library, TS1120 Tape Controller Model C06, the 3592 Tape Controller Model J70, 3494 Tape Libraries, or C20 Silo Attach frame. They can also be used with certain Sun StorageTek libraries.
Sun's StorageTek division, which has been emulating IBM's Magstar drives for years, also introduced an encryption solution, the Sun StorageTek Crypto-Ready T10000 drive, a 500 GB drive based on existing T10000 technology. However, Sun's new Crypto-Ready drives, which start at about $37,000.