Anyone trying to hack Toshiba’s new solid-state discs must either be fast or extremely sneaky: the new enterprise-class drives feature a cryptographic-erase function that can wipe them clean if accessed without proper authorization.
Toshiba, which is debuting a wide range of products at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, also announced three enterprise-class drives plus an SSD for the more conventional notebook market: the PX02AMU, a value line of SSDs, and the PX03ANU, a more-read-intensive SSD line. Both SATA drives feature multilevel cell (MLC) technology; the PX02AMU family offers capacities of 110 GB, 200 GB, and 400 GB, while the PX03AMU family includes 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. Both can be used in mid-ranger server and storage systems, as well as read-intensive and boot devices for the data center.
The third model, the PX02SMQ/U series, is an enterprise-class SSD with a Serial Attached SCSI interface, boasting capacity points of 200 GB, 400 GB, 800 GB and a whopping 1.6 terabytes of flash storage.
Both sets of Toshiba drives rely on cryptographic erase. Whereas the “typical” means of erasing a drive involves overwriting its contents with random data or else a series of binary zeros, cryptographic erase changes the cryptographic key used to encrypt the drive, making all the data unreadable. (While that allows devices to be quickly “sanitized” in case of a data breach, some prefer to take this method one step further and overwrite the re-encrypted data again, just for safety’s sake.)
All three enterprise-class drive families use AES 256-bit encryption; the PX02SMQ/U support the TCG Enterprise Security Subsystem Class protocols for additional security. Toshiba is apparently working on obtaining FIPS 140-2 certifications for the drives, which could be in hand by the time they ship (either this month for the PX02AMU and PX03AMU drives, or later in the first quarter for the PX02SMQ/U family). Prices were not announced.
Meanwhile, flash maker SanDisk announced a renewed commitment to the SSD market with a pair of SSDs, as well as a new distribution channel known as “SanDisk for Business,” which will offer SSDs to value-added resellers, system integrators and direct market resellers. SanDisk has said it anticipates that SSDs will form a significant portion of its business going forward, perhaps as much as 25 percent.