Data integrity and data security for volumes

You can enable volumes to use the Data Assurance (DA) feature and the Drive Security feature. These features are presented at the pool and volume group level in System Manager.

Data Assurance

Data Assurance (DA) implements the T10 Protection Information (PI) standard, which increases data integrity by checking for and correcting errors that might occur as data is transferred along the I/O path. The typical use of the Data Assurance feature will check the portion of the I/O path between the controllers and drives. DA capabilities are presented at the pool and volume group level in System Manager.

When this feature is enabled, the storage array appends error-checking codes (also known as cyclic redundancy checks or CRCs) to each block of data in the volume. After a data block is moved, the storage array uses these CRC codes to determine if any errors occurred during transmission. Potentially corrupted data is neither written to disk nor returned to the host. If you want to use the DA feature, select a pool or volume group that is DA capable when you create a new volume (look for "Yes" next to "DA" in the pool and volume group candidates table).

Make sure you assign these DA-enabled volumes to a host using an I/O interface that is capable of DA. I/O interfaces that are capable of DA include Fibre Channel, SAS, iSCSI over TCP/IP, NVMe/FC, NVMe/IB, NVME/RoCE and iSER over InfiniBand (iSCSI Extensions for RDMA/IB). DA is not supported by SRP over InfiniBand.

Drive Security

Drive Security is a feature that prevents unauthorized access to data on secure-enabled drives when removed from the storage array. These drives can be either Full Disk Encryption (FDE) drives or drives that are certified to meet Federal Information Processing Standards 140-2 level 2 (FIPS drives).

How Drive Security works at the drive level

A secure-capable drive, either FDE or FIPS, encrypts data during writes and decrypts data during reads. This encryption and decryption does not affect the performance or user workflow. Each drive has its own unique encryption key, which can never be transferred from the drive.

How Drive Security works at the volume level

When you create a pool or volume group from secure-capable drives, you can also enable Drive Security for those pools or volume groups. The Drive Security option makes the drives and associated volume groups and pools secure-enabled. A pool or volume group can contain both secure-capable and non-secure-capable drives, but all drives must be secure-capable to use their encryption capabilities.

How to implement Drive Security

To implement Drive Security, you perform the following steps.

  1. Equip your storage array with secure-capable drives, either FDE drives or FIPS drives. (For volumes that require FIPS support, use only FIPS drives. Mixing FIPS and FDE drives in a volume group or pool will result in all drives being treated as FDE drives. Also, an FDE drive cannot be added to or used as a spare in an all-FIPS volume group or pool.)
  2. Create a security key, which is a string of characters that is shared by the controller and drives for read/write access. You can create either an internal key from the controller's persistent memory or an external key from a key management server. For external key management, authentication must be established with the key management server.
  3. Enable Drive Security for pools and volume groups:
    • Create a pool or volume group (look for Yes in the Secure-capable column in the Candidates table).
    • Select a pool or volume group when you create a new volume (look for Yes next to Secure-capable in the pool and volume group Candidates table).

With the Drive Security feature, you create a security key that is shared between the secure-enabled drives and controllers in a storage array. Whenever power to the drives is turned off and on, the secure-enabled drives change to a Security Locked state until the controller applies the security key.