CipherMax focuses on encryption

By Ann Silverthorn

—CipherMax (formerly Maxxan Systems) this week introduced the CM100 family of encryption products for tape media and disk-based storage networks. CipherMax was previously the security solution that ran on Maxxan's MXV line of intelligent SAN switches. When the company decided to focus on security, it elevated the CipherMax brand from a product to the name of the company.

CipherMax also announced upgrades to its SANCruiser SAN-management software and introduced new key-management software called KeyCruiser.

According to Greg Farris, director of marketing for CipherMax, storage security has become more complex because of multi-tier architectures, distributed topologies, and the use of third-party remote storage facilities. Farris says that the CM series simplifies storage security for organizations.

"If an organization has four different locations—a main data center, a regional location, and a couple of branch offices—addressing security vulnerabilities using encryption appliances can get messy," Farris contends. "Multiple points of management need to be configured and administered. Three to five years down the line, the management burden could be overwhelming."

The CipherMax solution adds encryption to the company's switch technology along with software that provides both the SAN management and security administration through a single interface. The new KeyCruiser software provides key management.

Last year, Maxxan introduced two disk-based encryption solutions, the CM250 and CM500. The new CM100 line of encryption solutions includes three models targeted for tape encryption and one for disk encryption:

  • Designed for tape encryption, the CM110T, CM140T and CM180T are 1U devices with 256-bit AES encryption and support for up to 16 Fibre Channel ports (or 32 ports in a clustered configuration). The CM140T (available Q2) provides 4X the encryption/compression throughput of the CM100T, and the CM180T (also Q2) provides 8X the throughput.
  • CM180D—Designed for disk, this product has the same switching capabilities as the other encryption devices. Features include automatic zone detection and optional LUN masking and remapping.

CipherMax also redesigned its SAN management software for both SAN and security management. If users already have switches on an existing SAN, the CipherMax product can be deployed at the edge and will give a total SAN view to the security administration.

The new KeyCruiser software is a long-term key repository database that runs on Windows. A Linux version is in the works. The key generation and raw key material is only manipulated in the CM encryption systems, so if the KeyCruiser is compromised, no data integrity is lost, according to Mike Witkowski, CTO of CipherMax.

"Our key management system gets only key entries that have already been wrapped by our encryption appliances," explains Witkowski. "KeyCruiser deals with the metadata, the mapping between the keys, and the access maps."

Pricing for the CM110T starter bundle, which includes SANCruiser and KeyCruiser, starts at slightly less than $30,000.

This article was originally published on February 28, 2007