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IBM Unveils Hardware-Based Encryption Tool

System x Vault protects data when a server's hard drive is disposed or stolen, without affecting server performance.

IBM on Wednesday introduced a hardware-based encryption tool to secure data on a System x server's hard drive.

The System x Vault is aimed at small and midsize businesses. The tool provides a simple way for SMBs to protect data when a hard drive is improperly disposed or a computer is stolen, IBM said.

The adapter tool is easy to install with step-by-step prompts, IBM said. When the technology is installed, users designate a security key, which is essentially a password. The key becomes the only way data can be accessed. The System x Vault, which costs about $1,000, offers four levels of security.

IBM said the tool makes it possible for SMBs to dispose of hard drives without the added cost of having the data erased. In addition, because Vault is hardware-based data encryption, it doesn't affect server performance like software-based encryption, IBM said.

"The new IBM Vault solution directly responds to our clients' concerns over data security, securely protecting their data without adding much in the way of complexity to their existing operations," James Northington, VP of IBM System x, said in a statement.

The Vault adapter will be available through IBM and its resellers this month for System x models x3650, x3400, and x3500. Pricing starts at $1,099.

IBM System x servers are available in tower and rack-mount form factors. The x3400 and x3500 are tower servers that use either two quad- or dual-core Intel Xeon processors. The x3400 is available with up to 32 GB of memory and the x3500 with 48 GB of memory. Prices start at $1,606 for the x3400 and $1,922 for the x3500.

The x3650 is a 2U rack-mount server that also uses up to two dual- or quad-core Intel Xeon chips. The server offers up to 48 GB of memory. Prices start at $2,486.

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