NSA's open-source project aims for secure, large-scale storage

The National Security Agency is looking for help from the developer community in contributing to a label-based storage software that could be enable secure, granular access to data in large storage systems.

NSA submitted the software, named Accumulo, to the Apache Software Foundation’s Incubator, citing the need for a “flexible, high performance distributed key/value store that provides expressive, fine-grained access labels.”

The proposal said the software could be of most interest to “government, health care and other industries where privacy is a concern.”

Accumulo is a sorted, distributed key/value store based on Google's BigTable design, and is built on top of Apache Hadoop, Zookeeper, and Thrift, according to the proposal.

What makes it unique is that it can tag each data cell with a label, Joab Jackson writes for IDG News Service. Its keys can store labels that allow precise access to data while restricting access to other information that is protected by policy rules, Jackson writes.

And because Accumulo is a distributed design that can run across multiple servers, it could be used with large systems, the article states.

NSA submitted Accumulo to the Apache Incubator because of its “strong relationship with other Apache projects,” such as Hadoop, Zookeeper, and Thrift, and because it has similar goals to HBase, according to the proposal. It already has attracted hundreds of developers and is working to get more to commit.


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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