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EMC Locks Up Symmetrix Box With RSA Security

When EMC purchased RSA Security last year, experts wondered what the information systems provider would do with the security vendor's assets.

Would EMC operate RSA separately, or bundle the security technology across its storage systems?

EMC  answered that question today at the RSA Conference 2007 in San Francisco, revealing that it has stitched core RSA security software into its top-of-the-line Symmetrix DMX-3 storage array.

The company's goal is to combine the network security characteristics of firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and endpoint protection with information security, which covers identity management, access and audit management and encryption.

The news will be a key part of a keynote session in which EMC CEO Joseph Tucci and former RSA CEO and current EMC Executive Vice President Art Coviello will discuss the EMC/RSA integration roadmap among other security technology enhancements.

For now, Symmetrix Service Credential, Secured By RSA preserves the integrity of the information housed in Symmetrix DMX-3 systems by requiring authentication of users accessing the Symmetrix service processor.

Administrators who want to tap into the Symmetrix must use encrypted credentials and individual passwords; the service credential then authorizes their actions and prevents unauthorized actions.

Did someone say Big Brother is watching?

The new tamper-proof Audit Log allows datacenter administrators to record and track all service or management activities on a Symmetrix DMX-3 system, including those that could impact the integrity of the information stored in the array.

Finally on the security front, EMC has spruced up its disk erasure technology with the new Certified Data Erasure capabilities for Symmetrix DMX-3 systems.

EMC Certified Data Erasure makes sure that information on failed drives is erased before they are removed from the system, reducing the risk of sensitive data leaving the company. This feature is in keeping with Department of Defense (DOD) specification 5220.22-M, providing an auditable record of data erasure.

Why roll the RSA security features into the Symmetrix servers?

Bob Wambach, director of EMC Symmetrix product marketing, said that customers prefer security tools to be built-in instead of just being bolted on, an antiquated method of adding security to storage practiced by rivals like IBM  and HP .

He also said the move is the tip of the iceberg for integrating RSA's IP into EMC systems but declined to provide more specifics.

Finally, Wambach said EMC added new utilities to improve the performance of the Symmetrix DMX-3 system, adding support for 4 gigabit-per-second Fibre Channel and FICON connectivity, support for RAID 6.

Another new tool, Dynamic Cache Partitioning, lets Symmetrix customers split memory resources in as much as eight partitions for different applications.

While most partitions in mainframes and other servers are static, or unchangeable, these partitions can be expanded or contracted according to performance requirements.

Wambach also said it has boosted its asynchronous replication software for copying data over thousands of miles. SRDF/A Reserve Capacity safeguards continuous remote data replication by buffering in-transit data to disk during temporary outages.

The tool can "self-heal around link outages," Wambach said.

Available in the first quarter, the Symmetrix Service Credential, Audit Log, RAID 6 and enhanced SRDF/A replication capabilities are included with Enginuity operating system release 5772.

Enginuity 5772 will be available as an upgrade from the 5771 operating system for existing Symmetrix DMX-3 customers enrolled in a maintenance plan, or with new Symmetrix DMX-3 purchases.

EMC Certified Data Erasure, 4GB/s support and Dynamic Cache Partitioning will be available as standalone, chargeable offerings.