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Recommend an SSD with SED?

Posted on 2013-05-10
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Last Modified: 2013-06-02
I'm looking for the largest SSD I can find in the 2.5inch form factor that supports SED (FIPS hardware encryption).

Any ideas? tech sites haven't done great job allowing this type of search it seems.

This is for a laptop
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Question by:DITGUY
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11 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 39157561
Integral advertises a range of FIPS certified SSDs between 32GB and 256GB.   Here's the 128GB version:

http://www.amazon.com/Integral-Crypto-Hardware-Encrypted-Solid-State-Disk/dp/B008DG6FJI
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39157646
Silly question .. but does your laptop support booting to  a FIPS-enabled device??
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39158088
Good question dlethe!
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Author Comment

by:DITGUY
ID: 39158117
yes it does. according to my desktop manager who orders them. dell sells a 128GB SED SSD minicard drive. been trying to find one for 256GB
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Assisted Solution

by:DITGUY
DITGUY earned 0 total points
ID: 39158126
here is the 256GB version. I'll pass it by him and see if it's compatible. http://www.amazon.com/Integral-Crypto-Hardware-Encrypted-Solid-State-Disk/dp/B008DGB6XS/ref=sr_1_18?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1368279396&sr=1-18&keywords=FIPS+SSD.

it's not the minicard version which stinks, but that's ok
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39158148
Yes, that one shold work for you then.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39158223
I can't speak for this particular product, but I can tell you with 100% confidence that Dell (well LSI) qualifies specific makes/models of SSDs and there are vendor-specific commands involved.

Even if you have the same make/model of device, there is no guarantee it will work.  (Just like in the case of hard drives.   Firmware matters.  Firmware settings matter, and there is a little thing such as a reserved area where some magic happens with a protected region.  

I am not saying that anything other than the specific dell-branded model(s) WON'T work.  I never have had the need to look at this.  I am just warning you that if you want to try, buy from a vendor that lets you return a used SSD!
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Expert Comment

by:msifox
ID: 39159944
Why hardware encryption? For security or just for fulfilling a requirement? If you want security don't trust that hardware encryption is more secure than software. Even with hardware encryption you shouldn't use any sleep mode, always tell windows to completely shut down. A lot of PCs store the disk password somewhere, so you don't need to re-enter it when returning from sleep. But then others also don't need to enter it. And don't depend on the password that windows asks when it comes back from sleep. At this time the disk is already unlocked and can often be copied without knowing the windows password.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39160030
msifox - your opinion of hardware encryption, specifically SED is inaccurate.

Software encryption is prone to a multitude of attacks that SED encryption is immune to; it is vulnerable to offline attacks; requires drivers that result in portability/compatibility issues; can be disabled; can be cracked by offline attacks.   Heck, you can crack software encryption easily if you can get the host system to run a subroutine that monitors RAM.

SED encryption as ZERO performance impact.  ZERO.  It is not affected by patches, and works with all operating systems, you can have MULTIPLE passwords, concurrently, with different regions of the HDD; no driver headaches; no patches;  no issues with backup/recovery.

SED code authenticates to the drive on power up, via a pre-boot O/S embedded in the controller, and at that point, the job is done.
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Assisted Solution

by:DITGUY
DITGUY earned 0 total points
ID: 39201193
Hi All. Sorry for the delayed response. Our Dell rep came back with a model that he said is supported and fits our needs. It's the AXIOM SSD25A32240-AX. It's 240GB with hardware encryption, 2.5 inch form factor. 6GB/s SATA-III MLC.

I imaged my main drive then restored on top of this one once I swapped it out. Be careful though as there are issues changing from anything other than AHCI to AHCI in Windows. I had to follow several online articles to get it to work, otherwise it blue screened unless I left it on it's previous setting (in the BIOS). But now I can notice a significant improvement in speed, particularly in applications that previously took a long time to load.

The hardware encryption requirement was for several of the reasons dlethe mentioned plus some others the encryption team encountered when testing both. We have a few regulatory requirements that the hardware met too apparently. But I'm not sure of the details. Thank you everyone for your time and help.
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Author Closing Comment

by:DITGUY
ID: 39214060
dell rep found largest one compatible with our systems but these others would probably worked unofficially.
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