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Sun Delivers Open Source Protocol For Encrypted Devices

The communications protocol aims to help Sun's users and business partners more flexibly handle encryption keys while sidestepping costly licensing fees.

Hoping it helps users and business partners more flexibly handle encryption keys while sidestepping costly licensing fees, Sun Microsystems has unveiled the first open source, generic communications protocol between a key manager and an encrypting device.

The proposed standard protocol, which will be released as a toolkit downloadable from the OpenSolaris Web site, lets customers consolidate Sun's Crypto Key Management System and key manager solutions across the offerings of multiple vendors, according to the company.

Because government agencies and companies in the financial, health care, and retail industries must comply with regulatory laws, the new protocol is being made available to customers that use Sun's StorageTek KMS 2.0 Key Manager, StorageTek T9840D, T10000A, and T10000B enterprise drives, and StorageTek HP LTO4 drives shipped in Sun libraries.

Besides breaking the technical bonds imposed by proprietary hardware and software, the new open source protocol helps to better unify what is generally considered to be a fragmented encryption market, according to Jason Schaffer, Sun's senior director of storage product management.

"We think open source equals customer value for encryption solutions and now we have a solution that works across multiple vendors and suppliers," Schaffer said.

Sun officials said several business partners are creating products that will conform to the protocol. One of those partners, EMC, is planning to make the protocol available as an option on its RKM Key Manager.


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