Cost-cutting, greater efficiencies to be topics at SNW

HP, IBM and others line up a host of new offerings to be announced at Storage Networking World.

As the Storage Networking World conference opens in Dallas, it's likely that the recent stock market and financial sector upheavals will have attendees even more interested in cost savings and increased efficiencies.

With that in mind, one of the speakers is Madge Meyer, an executive vice president at financial services company State Street, who will officially open the conference Tuesday with a presentation on "IT Transformation & Optimization as a Competitive Advantage."

On Wednesday, Burzin Engineer, vice president of infrastructure technology at online comparison shopping service Shopzilla, will present a keynote on "How Increasing Data Mobility Can Reduce the Costs of File Storage." Also Wednesday, Marty Smith, CIO at information privacy company ChoicePoint, will speak on "Optimizing the Data Center to Increase Performance and Generate Cost-Savings for Business Unit Customers."

Throughout the conference, which runs through Thursday at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel and Convention Center, IT vendors will be announcing dozens of new products and services. Computerworld sponsors SNW with the Storage Networking Industry Association.

HP to offer data security products

Hewlett-Packard will announce new disk encryption and key management features for its tape libraries to help medium-size and large enterprises to enhance their data security and to simplify their data management, said Carlos Martinez, HP's senior product manager for storage security.

Many of the new requirements are coming from stricter forced disclosure laws that are mandating improved data protection to guard individuals' personal information, he said. "These forced disclosure laws are going to increase and will drive demand for storage security," Martinez said. HP's new enhanced systems are able to add that security without the performance hit systems get with software encryption, he said.

HP has added an option for users -- new hardware encryption for its HP StorageWorks XP24000 and XP20000 disk arrays. The enhancements can reduce the risk of breaches by protecting the data stored on each disk drive in the array, even if they are removed for transport or are stolen.

The hardware encryption feature wasn't previously available from HP but is being offered because of market demand, Martinez said. "The forced disclosure regulations and the hacking that's going on is bringing this to light," he said. "People were willing to risk a breach before, but now it's getting so much exposure that customers are asking for this. They're starting to ask for air cover."

For customers that want to add this optional capability to new or existing XP disk arrays, the extra cost is about US$23,000.

Also, HP is unveiling its enhanced Secure Key Manager (SKM) rack-mounted hardware appliance that automates encryption key management for HP LTO-4 enterprise tape libraries.

This new version of SKM (1.1) helps users track up to 2 million keys, making it easier to securely store and then find the keys when they are needed to unlock data on a long-ago stored tape, disk or other backup medium.

The Secure Key Manager 1.1 will be available in December for US$28,500, HP said.

"Keys for an online transaction may live for a few seconds and then disappear, but stored data keys live a long time," Martinez said. The problem eventually becomes one of administering them and being able to find them again quickly.

"If you don't have a good management system, you can't unlock it right away" when someone needs it, he said. "If you lose the keys, you are in big trouble. You want to mitigate risk but also keep that information accessible to those who have permission to see it."

As part of the announcement, HP is also cutting the cost of the SKMs, to us$57,000 for a redundant pair, from the previous price of $100,000.

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