Arpeggio Launches Free Encryption and SFTP Tools for IBM i
October 16, 2012 Alex Woodie
Organizations looking to encrypt and move their IBM i backups offsite have another option to accomplish those tasks using new software from Arpeggio Software. The company is rolling out two new products, including an SSH-based FTP product called ARP-SFTP and an encryption and compression product called ARP-SAVE, that together can be used to protect IBM i data and backups. Best of all, the native IBM i software is entirely free.
ARP-SAVE replaces the save and restore commands of IBM i OS with new save and restore commands that execute Arpeggio’s encryption and compression routines. It is built on the open source Open SSL software, and uses AES 128, AES 192, and AES 256 encryption algorithms.
“Let’s say you want to do a Save Library (SAVLIB) or Save Object (SAVOBJ) command,” says Arpeggio Software CEO Rich Brown. “There’s an equivalent command in this tool that contains the additional encryption and compression commands. So you simply replace your existing command with these commands, add in whatever types of encryption and compression you want, and it will allow you to basically encrypt all of your backup, so you don’t need any special hardware or additional software to make that happen.”
Once the encrypted backup has been completed, the user is free to do what he wants with the data, including writing it to tape, keeping it on disk, or replicating it over the network. Or, if they have downloaded Arpeggio’s second new product, ARP-SFTP, they could send the backup offsite using the super secure FTP over SSH (Secure Shell), or SFTP, protocol.
ARP-SFTP is an SFTP client that runs natively on IBM i. The software is based on the open source SSH software suite developed and distributed by OpenSSH. Arpeggio used OpenSSH as a starting point to develop the ARP-SFTP client, which changes all SFTP commands to native CL commands in IBM i.
Keeping everything in native CL makes it easier for IBM i shops to keep track of activity and errors with the product, Brown says. “You can actually get feedback at the individual command level if something fails,” Brown says. “And because we ported and retrofitted and wrote our own SFTP client, it also gave us the capability to allow users to do any kind of SFTP command within a script.”
Scripting may not sound important, Brown says, but it can be, especially as the adoption of SFTP takes off. “You might have to do things like change the ownership on a file, or change the authority on a file after you’ve uploaded it,” he says. “These are the kinds of tasks you can automate with our product that tend to have some risk when you’re using these other products that don’t give you the ability to know if you successfully send the file or not.”
Arpeggio claims that ARP-SFTP is the first “true port” of an SSH client to run natively under IBM i. SSH-based FTP (SFTP) is increasingly being adopted because of its superior security over SSL-based FTP (FTPS). Both, of course, are more secure than plain vanilla FTP, which passes log-in information over the network in plain text.
But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to run FTPS in corporate environments, Brown says. “One of the things auditors are asking companies to do is to shut down the ports they normally had opened for things like FTP over SSL or standard FTP,” he says. “With SFTP, you literally have a tunnel, so it closes off a lot of holes that were opened up just to be able to do simple file transfers. In some cases, when you have to work with auditors, it’s really tough to justify the dollars that developers of managed file transfer (MFT) products are asking.”
ARP-SFTP and ARP-SAVE can be downloaded for free from Arpeggio’s website. The company now has a total of four free IBM i utilities available, including the ARP-ZIP compression software and the SIFT-IT log management software.
Arpeggio gives its software away for free and makes money by selling maintenance and support contracts. This approach has worked surprisingly well for Arpeggio, which Brown and Tim McCarthy founded in July 2011. Brown and McCarthy, who is CTO, also co-founded TrailBlazer Systems before selling it to nuBridges (which was subsequently bought by Liaison Technologies last year).
“Originally we were trying to market [our solutions] to a small group of people as software as a service (SaaS),” he says. “But we decided that we had so much success with SIFT IT and ARP-ZIP to continue marketing the software as a free tool with opt in maintenance services. It’s worked out really well. It’s low pressure. You’re not putting any crazy sales tactics in place to force somebody to do something. It’s actually been very easy for us to get customers to sign up for maintenance services because it’s always an important process they’re automating or securing.”
ARP-SAVE and ARP-SFTP run on i5/OS V5R4 and higher. For more information and free downloads, see the vendor’s website at www.arpeggiosoftware.com.