Hitachi adds data encryption to hard drive

Hitachi touts its highest-capacity, highest-performing notebook hard drive

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Thursday announced availability of what it is touting as the highest-capacity, highest-performing notebook hard drive. The Travelstar 7K200 doubles the capacity of its predecessor to 200GB and includes optional data encryption technology for securing notebooks at the hard drive level.

The 2.5-inch Travelstar 7K200 bests the application performance of competing 7,200-rpm drives by as much as a third, while keeping power consumption and heat emission on par with those of 5,400-rpm drives, according to the company.

In an effort to provide enterprises with much-sought-after data protection relief, Hitachi's optional bulk data encyption technology protects data at the hard drive level, using a key to scramble data as it is written to disk. Mobile workers then use the key to descramble the encrypted data when they want to retrieve it from the drive.

The methodology provides a higher level of protection than software-based encryption or system-level passwords, according to the company. Moreover, because the data is encrypted on the drive, it never needs to be erased, even when retiring the drive. Deleting the key provides all the data protection necessary, as data is rendered unreadable without it, the company said.

Rival Seagate Technologies has also been pursuing drive-based data encryption. As opposed to the encrypted write methodology employed by the Hitachi Travelstar 7K200, Seagate's Momentus 5400 FDE.2 (Full Disk Encryption 2) -- a 5,400-rpm drive with as much as 160GB of capacity -- includes an encryption chip that requires users to authenticate before accessing the drive.

Hitachi Travelstar 7K200, which is currently shipping on Alienware and Dell XPS laptops, will be available this summer for retail at $US249.

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