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TeleCommunication Systems Proteus Plus Military SSD Preview

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Sep 28, 2012 4:12 pm

Secure Erase Features




Finally we come to the header that is located on the front of the Proteus Plus case. This is not standard fare on consumer SSDs, but is certainly a crucial component for the Proteus. The Indillinx Barefoot controller does not provide for hardware level encryption, though using software encryption will be common.


This lack of hardware level encryption makes it critical that the fast destruction of the data contained on the SSD is possible. This is where the secure erase functionality, enabled via either software or hardware triggers, comes into play.


This header is a General Purpose I/O header. This allows the SSD to be secure erased via a number of methods, including jumpers or hardware triggers. The hardware triggers can be either physical buttons or remote triggers that assure data destruction. Other possible uses could be triggers activated when panels are removed or when the SSD is removed from the location that it is installed within. There are a number of possibilities, but that is up to the end-user or agency. TCS simply provides them a port to connect the device of their choice.


There are two holes to either side of the GPIO port. One is for a green LED power indication light and the other is for a blue LED to indicate that a secure erase is taking place. If the secure erase is interrupted by a loss of power, it will simply continue upon power restoration.


The Proteus Plus SSD has eight different methods of data destruction. While this may seem over the top, several different governmental agencies have their own specifications for handling data destruction. This includes a bevy of military and governmental agency approved data destruction methods, which range from a fast erase (under eight seconds for our model) to secure erase + overwrite methods in a variety of flavors.


Methods that confirm to US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defense and the National Security Agency specifications round out the list of erasure methods:


Fast Erase, DoD NISPOM 5220.22-M, DoD NISPOM 5220.22-M Sup 1, NSA/CSS 9-12, Army AR 380-19, Navy NAVSO P-5239-26, Air Force AFSSI-5020 and RCC-TG IRIG 106-7.



Test System




We will not be testing this SSD under our normal Enterprise Storage Bench. The reasoning behind this different approach to our testing regimen is that this Military/Industrial/Ruggedized SSD isn't utilized in typical enterprise scenarios by any means. These SSDs will not spend their lives doing anything as mundane as chugging away in a server rack nonstop.


Instead, they will subject to wild extremes. Shot into space, placed into combat situations and conducting top-secret missions. The majority of applications that will utilize this SSD will not require the highest specifications or need to operate under enterprise steady state conditions for an extended time. The data loads placed upon this type of SSD are typically going to be light, such as data logging and telemetry data in aircraft and recording in satellites. These applications will require performance that will be closer in line with consumer testing than our Enterprise Storage Bench, so we will use several consumer benchmarks that are available to the public.


As much as we would like to go skeet shooting with this SSD or even just go throw it in the pool, we aren't allowed to do any hardcore environmental testing. This falls to independent laboratories certified by governmental agencies to handle this type of testing.


Since we have no other SSD of this type to compare to we will be simply presenting the test results by themselves. Perhaps as we receive more SSDs for the industrial or military space we can begin to do some apples-to-apples testing, which unfortunately will not involve shooting at them with rocket launchers.





A brief synopsis of the finer points of the Proteus Plus, then off to testing. It is interesting to see that some of the MIL-STD-810 options include Explosive Atmosphere and Gunfire Vibration.



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