Kingston's just sent a note our way with some news we thought was worth sharing. As it turns out, the company's SSDNow V+200 and KC100 SSD drives don't actually encrypt at 256-bit AES claimed; instead, they use 128-bit AES encryption. That's a bummer, but not necessarily catastrophic -- but the problem isn't limited to Kingston SSDs alone. In fact, Kingston and LSI say that the encryption confusion extends to each and every SSD using the SF-2000 series SandForce controller. Intel's confirmed that the SF-2281 found in the Intel SSD 520 (and the OCZ Vertex 3, and the Kingston HyperX, and…) is similarly affected.
Surely SandForce must have had it's fair share of suitors that may have included Intel, Corsair, SanDisk, Western Digital, and others. But it wasn't any of these of solid state drive (SSD) players who rolled the dice on SandForce, and instead it was a company called LSI who scooped up the popular SSD chipset maker. Now the question is, what does the future hold for SandForce and its clients, and in particular OCZ?
Well here's a bit of a shocker. A company called LSI has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SandForce, makers of all those high-speed solid state drive (SSD) controllers that are so popular in the performance category. Most people assumed it would be a company like Intel, or even Corsair who would eventually swoop in and scoop SandForce up, just as OCZ did with Indilinx.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) have the potential to break the mold for data storage, but so far their development has been focused on portable computing. If the market’s going to expand, there’s going to have to be a suitable desktop option. One possibility, which takes advantage of a desktop’s better throughput, is a SSD on a PCIe card, such as Fusion-io’s ioDrive. An announced partnership between Seagate and LSI suggests more of the same is on its way.
PCIe has the advantage of being a bit quicker and easier to integrate into the enterprise computing environment. According to the announcement: “LSI is expected to deliver board-level products that integrate LSI™ SAS and PCIe technology with Seagate solid-state drive (SSD) technology.”
Jeff Janukowicz, a research manager for the market research firm IDC, says, “Solid-state drives remain in the spotlight as a technology and an area of growth in the storage market.” According to IDC, SSD revenues in enterprise computing will reach $2 billion by 2013, with PCIe-based solutions responsible for a significant chunk.
Unfortunately, the announcement only revealed the collaboration of LSI and Seagate. There was no mention of any particular products, when them might be available, or what they might cost.
Many a hardware-encrypted disk has crossed the path of the consumer market lately, but they’ve universally been a questionable investment. All the encryption systems have been proprietary, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s looking to store all their valuable data on a system that can’t be read in a few years down the line.
Thankfully, the Trusted Computing Group has just announced that (almost) every drive maker has agreed on 128-bit encryption for all SSDs and HDDs. The major vendors, such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Western Digital, IBM, Wave Systems, LSI and Ulink Technology have all hopped on board.
With any luck we in the consumer market will be looking at simpler disk encryption sometime very soon.