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Backup hardware

Gold Award:

IBM System Storage TS1120 tape drive model E05

Data breaches played prominently in 2006's headlines, and IBM Corp. has led the charge in responding to this problem by making data security as much a part of the tape process as compression. Its E05 model tape drive includes 256-bit AES encryption, which resides on an application-specific integrated circuit in the drive. IBM's encryption-key management system is especially advanced, and it's being offered with the system free of charge.

The key management repository, a Java app running on commodity hardware, uses public and private keys; the private key is embedded within the tape cartridge and public keys are available to everyone. If the key management system were to use only the private key, the key would have to be transported the first time users send a tape to a trusted partner, which some experts say could compromise security.

Encryption will ship standard with all new TS1120 drives (starting at $35,000); the encryption option can be added to existing TS1120 drives for $5,000 per drive. This product should appeal to many IBM mainframe shops. "It solves a big mainframe encryption tape problem," says one of our judges. "IBM is one of the first major vendors to embed these capabilities in the drives themselves—you have to give them credit for that."

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