Security vendor Thales has announced its nShield Connect 6000 hardware security module (HSM) product. The nShield Connect 6000 is a network attached appliance designed to serve as a centralized source for the managing encryption keys and digital signing. The nShield Connect 6000 ratchets up performance, enabling the wide spread use of the stronger RSA 2,048-bit keys and supporting more clients in a single box, as well as a number of high availability features typically found in server products.
Like the rest of Thales' HSM products, the nShield Connect 6000 is designed to support a wide range of security focused applications including Microsoft Certificate Services (PKI), RSA Certificate Manager, Oracle Database, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft SQL Server.
The performance bumps on the nShield Connect 6000 are significant, with Thales suggesting an 11x improvement when processing RSA 1,024-bit keys, as well as double the performance when handling 2,048-bit keys. The nShield Connect 6000 also raises the number of clients it can support on a single device. Previous HSMs from Thales topped out at 20 clients, whereas the new product scales up to 100, allowing the nShield Connect 6000 to serve more applications while still lowering the overall footprint of these security modules within the data center.
While the performance enhancements significantly increase the scalabilty and capacity of Thales' key management product, the dual power supplies and the ability to hot-swap failed supplies in the field will likely be as compelling to enterprise customers, giving the security components some parity with the application servers in the data center. Andrew Braunberg, research director for enterprise security at Current Analysis, agrees, saying, "The utility and security of hardware security modules is well established. Thales has extended the reach of its family of HSMs and has clearly focused strongly on delivering a solution where high availability requirements are critical."
As enterprise data centers become ever more mission critical, the products that support their applications, such as hardware security modules, need to achieve similar levels of uptime and reliability. Thales' move to build power redundancy and field swappable supplies into the key management appliance is a step toward achieving necessary service level goals and ensuring that a single component .