On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 10:38 PM, Robert Haas <robertmh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:07 AM, Peter Eisentraut
> <peter.eisentr...@2ndquadrant.com> wrote:
>> On 6/7/16 9:56 AM, Ants Aasma wrote:
>>> Similar things can be achieved with filesystem level encryption.
>>> However this is not always optimal for various reasons. One of the
>>> better reasons is the desire for HSM based encryption in a storage
>>> area network based setup.
>> Could you explain this in more detail?
> I don't think Ants ever responded to this point.
> I'm curious whether this is something that is likely to be pursued for
> PostgreSQL 11.
Yes, the plan is to pick it up again, Real Soon Now(tm). There are a
couple of loose ends for stuff that should be encrypted, but in the
current state of the patch aren't yet (from the top of my head,
logical decoding and pg_stat_statements write some files). The code
handling keys could really take better precautions as Peter pointed
out in another e-mail. And I expect there to be a bunch of polishing
work to make the APIs as good as they can be.
To answer Peter's question about HSMs, many enterprise deployments are
on top of shared storage systems. For regulatory reasons or to limit
security clearance of storage administrators, the data on shared
storage should be encrypted. Now for there to be any point to this
endeavor, the key needs to be stored somewhere else. This is where
hardware security modules come in. They are basically hardware key
storage appliances that can either output the key when requested, or
for higher security hold onto the key and perform
encryption/decryption on behalf of the user. The patch enables the
user to use a custom shell command to go and fetch the key from the
HSM, for example using the KMIP protocol. Or a motivated person could
write an extension that implements the encryption hooks to delegate
encryption/decryption of blocks to an HSM.
Fundamentally there doesn't seem to be a big benefit of implementing
the encryption at PostgreSQL level instead of the filesystem. The
patch doesn't take any real advantage from the higher level knowledge
of the system, nor do I see much possibility for it to do that. The
main benefit for us is that it's much easier to get a PostgreSQL based
I'm curious if the community thinks this is a feature worth having?
Even considering that security experts would classify this kind of
encryption as a checkbox feature.
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