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'Rain Doll' They called it 'Rain Doll!'

The mystery behind the newest encryption algorithm explained.

Actually it is spelled RIJNDAEL but is pronounced "rain doll." Many may recognize it as the successor to DES encryption. Designed by the Flemish team of Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen. It won the designation of AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) a few years ago and is fast winning a reputation as suitably secure and rather zippy while not CPU intensive.

IBM supports AES (and much more) through various cryptographic coprocessors for the S/390, zArchitecture family. IBM's System SSL (Secure Sockets) and TLS (Transport Layer Services) security features for z/OS provide AES encryption.

Study IBM's Integrated Cryptographic Services Facility (ICSF) for z/OS.

Some of the sites below have links to source code for Rijndael. If your preference under z/OS doesn't run to C/C++ or Java and/or you do not wish to use the cryptographic coprocessors or ICSF software then there are alternatives:

See Thierry Fallisard's REXX implementation in Xephon's Mainframe Week site.

Even better, visit his Web site.

For a real gem visit and join H390-MVS set up for those interested in running MVS under the Hercules emulator. Almost exactly a year ago (September 15, 2002) a kindly person from France, Ferruccio B., posted mention of AES routines in S/390 assembler. I have those source files and as soon as I get word back from original creator I will post information on Perhaps even the actual code if allowed.

See some non-mainframe timings showing Rijndael's relative speediness over other AES candidates.

Visit NIST.

Read up on AES.

Buy Rijndael design book by its creators. There are also links to the source code in C, C++, Pascal, Ada and other languages.

See a visual presentation of the Rijndael algorithm.

Groove over an animated presentation of Rijndael in action by downloading zipped anim.exe.

Jim Keohane is president of New York consulting company Multi-Platforms, Inc. His company specializes in commercial software development/consulting with emphasis on cross-platform and performance issues.

This was last published in September 2003

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