Towards a universal CDAR device: a high performance adapter-based inline media encryptor
October 23, 2017
As the rate at which digital data is generated continues to grow, so does the need to ensure that data can be stored securely. The use of an NSA-certified Inline Media Encryptor (IME) is often required to protect classified data, as its security properties can be fully analyzed and certified with minimal coupling to the environment in which it is embedded. However, these devices are historically purpose-built and must often be redesigned and recertified for each target system. This tedious and costly (but necessary) process limits the ability for an information system architect to leverage advances made in storage technology. Our universal Classified Data At Rest (CDAR) architecture represents a modular approach to reduce this burden and maximize interface flexibility. The core module is designed around NVMe, a high-performance storage interface built directly on PCIe. Interfacing with non-NVMe interfaces such as SATA is achieved with adapters which are outside the certification boundary and therefore can be less costly and leverage rapidly evolving commercial technology. This work includes an analysis for both the functionality and security of this architecture. A prototype was developed with peak throughput of 23.9 Gb/s at a power consumption of 8.5W, making it suitable for a wide range of storage applications.