Companies focus on storage encryption

Encryption and compression chip-maker Hifn has teamed up with storage appliance vendor NeoScale to market and sell the latter's new line of storage appliances. The appliances can protect data both while it's in transit and stored.

Encryption and compression chip maker Hifn will help market and sell a new line of storage appliances from storage vendor NeoScale, which protect data both while it's in transit and stored.

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NeoScale, of Milpitas, Calif., is using Hifn's chips in its CryptoStor products. The deal with NeoScale will allow the company to move into storage, a relatively new market for Hifn, said Doug Makishima, vice president of marketing for Los Gatos, Calif.-based Hifn.

Both vendors developed their technologies independent of each other. NeoScale's products use Hifn's chips, which can compress and encrypt data in one pass. This approach saves latency, since the data doesn't need to pass through separate encryption and compression swipes, according to Makishima.

NeoScale hopes the appliances' performance will appeal to IT executives that buy storage products. A tougher regulatory environment and greater interest in security in general are causing more companies to look at storage encryption technology. But these companies also want an appliance that can perform encryption and compression at or near wire speed. "Storage customers are usually conservative," said Scott Gordon, NeoScale's vice president of marketing, noting they look for evolutionary, not revolutionary technologies.

Little latency is one benefit seen by a government contractor who is testing the appliance. The tester, who requested anonymity, has seen "close to wire speed performance" when using NeoScale's appliance. Another benefit has been the way it has seamlessly integrated into the network, he said.

Setting up the technology, however, wasn't very intuitive, he said.

The customer decided he needed encryption as he was planning a network, but he wasn't sure what specific product to use. Last March, he read about the NeoScale appliance. "A light went off in my head," he said.

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