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04:35 AM

NeoScale Faces Up to 4-Gig Encryption

Unveils 4-Gbit/s encryption, but are users ready to take the leap from 2-Gbit/s?

Security specialist NeoScale today is taking the wraps off a 4-Gbit/s security appliance, which the vendor claims will boost users' ability to quickly encrypt data.

With users coming under more and more compliance pressure, NeoScale is touting its two-rack-unit high CryptoStor FC 712 device as a way to lock down more data at higher speeds. (See NeoScale Claims Speedy Encryption, Regulators Rip Records Managers, and Top Tips for Compliance .) "You will now be able to support more tape drives behind a single appliance, and support native 4-Gig server speeds," says Dore Rosenblum, vice president of marketing at NeoScale.

NeoScale's current 2-Gbit/s encryption appliance, the FC 702, supports, for example, up to two LTO 3 tape drives or five LTO 2 drives, according to Rosenblum. The FC 712, he adds, links up to double the number of drives, depending on compression rates.

At least one analyst feels this will be extremely useful for firms looking to consolidate data center kit. "You don't want to end up buying multiple boxes to sit around your network," explains Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.

According to Oltsik, the 4-Gbit/s functionality will also become important as firms encrypt more and more data over the coming years. "You need some headroom and this provides it," he adds.

But this functionality comes at a cost premium: The 4-Gbit/s FC 712 is priced at around $45,000, compared to around $30,000 for the FC 702. Both devices offer AES 128 and 256-bit encryption.

NeoScale's encryption rival, Decru, which is now part of NetApp, only goes up to 2-Gbit/s on its DataFort devices, although the vendor says that 4-Gbit/s is on its roadmap. (See Decru, Sepaton Team and Quantum, Decru Hook Up.) "We have been waiting to see when 4-Gig is deployed [by Decru customers]," says Michele Borovac, Decru's director of marketing, adding that many users are yet to "max out" their existing 2-Gbit/s hardware.

For its part, NeoScale was unable to offer any early adopters of the FC 712 device, and at least one IT manager thinks that 4-Gbit/s encryption is still something of a novelty. "Something like that is always nice to have," says Vikram Kanitkar, IT Project Manager of New York-based non-profit The New Teacher Project. "But it's not something that we would go for in the near future."

That said, NeoScale's announcement underlines the growing momentum behind 4-Gbit/s technology, at least from vendors. (See Cisco Goes 4-Gig & Big, Brocade Bulks Up 4-Gig Gear, IBM Expands 4-Gbit/s & Backup, and Emulex Full Of 4-Gig.)

Some users, particularly in the entertainment sector, are already dabbling with 4-Gbit/s SANs. Pacific Title & Art Studio, for example, which does special effects and creates trailers, credits, and subtitles for movies, was an early adopter of 4-Gbit/s technology, installing a 4-Gbit/s Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) SAN more than a year ago. (See PacTitle Taps DataDirect, SGI and Narad Targets Cable.)

Users in other sectors have also been touting the ability to consolidate servers as the major benefit of 4-Gbit/s, citing the increased bandwidth between host and storage. (See 4-Gig's About Consolidation, Say Users .)

Today, NeoScale also introduced a SCSI encryption device, the SC 702, in an attempt to make inroads into other parts of the security market. "What we find is that a lot of our customers are migrating their data centers to 4-Gig Fibre Channel, but a lot of their disaster locations have SCSI," says Rosenblum.

Pricing for SC 702, which will be available next month, is around $16,000. The FC 712 will be on the market sometime in the first quarter of next year.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Decru Inc.
  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)
  • NeoScale Systems Inc.
  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)
  • SGI

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