Storage Fabrics Get Secure

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Security is becoming an increasingly important part of storage fabrics, based on recent announcements from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD).

Encryption of Fibre Channel data in motion was a big part of Cisco’s new switch lineup announced last week.

And Brocade followed this week with a plan for securing data at rest.

“Organizations need a broader deployment of encryption technologies across data centers in order to protect data confidentiality and privacy,” said Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Jon Oltsik. “Specific to storage, these security and privacy demands require an architectural approach for enterprise-wide encryption of data-at-rest while enabling end-to-end management for the secure flow of data across multiple fabrics.”

Cisco and Brocade have been racing to implement their vision of converged networks, combining LAN and SAN traffic — and now security too (see Brocade Takes on Cisco and Cisco, Brocade See One Big Happy Fabric).

Brocade’s encryption is delivered by either the standalone Brocade Encryption Switch or the Brocade FS8-18 Encryption Blade for the Brocade DCX Backbone chassis. Both offer as much as 96 Gbit/sec of encryption processing power.

The Brocade encryption platform has also been integrated with key management products such as NetApp’s (NASDAQ: NTAP) Lifetime Key Management and RSA Key Manager for the Datacenter from EMC’s (NYSE: EMC) RSA security division. Brocade also plans to support HP’s (NYSE: HPQ) StorageWorks Secure Key Manager.

The Brocade Encryption Switch is a 32-port, auto-sensing 8 Gbit/sec Fibre Channel switch with high-speed encryption capabilities. The FS8-18 Encryption Blade provides the same plug-in storage security services in a 16-port blade.

Brocade says its data encryption and management solutions can be implemented without disruption into the fabric and applied to specified data flows. Both platforms support a heterogeneous mix of networked storage systems and promise future support for virtual tape libraries (VTLs) and tape drives.

The encryption solutions are centrally managed and configured using Brocade Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM), the company’s end-to-end data center fabric management application that was also refreshed this week.

Brocade also boosted its services offerings to help customers design secure network architectures.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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