-Hyundai Comparison Examined"> What interests me particularly, though, is the Ferrari-Hyundai comparison. According to Microsofts Rizzo, the key differentiator to Oracle and IBM is that Microsoft supports key management. Not only can you encrypt the data with passwords, you can also use standard certificates to encrypt and decrypt all passwords. Rizzo said Oracle has a tool kit you have to download, and DB2 has some built-in capabilities but only supports passwords. That means you have to put a password on every bit of built-in encryption, leading storms of amnesiac users to pester the IT help desk with calls to reset passwords.Still, Im taking that claim with a grain of salt until Oracle and IBM get back to me on current and future plans for data encryption, though.According to this article by Paul Zikopoulos, database specialist at IBM, Stinger will have the ability to encrypt data "on the wire" between the client and server. It will start out as 56-bit encryption in order to maintain compatibility across the DB2 Universal Database family and into the DB2 UDB for z/OS platform. As for Oracle Database 10g, it looks like youll still need to download a package for encryption, although Oracle alleges that the new package is easier to use and contains more cryptographic algorithms than the one available in Oracle8i and 9i. Does this sound as if IBM and Oracle are encryption Hyundais? Oh, I dont know about that. More likely, Microsoft is just trying to stake some claims in an areai.e., securityin which its long been criticized. As Mike Schiff, vice president of BI and e-business with Current Analysis of Sterling, Va., put it: the two giants are fighting in a battlefield where Microsoft cant playnamely, to be the commercial database of choice on Linux. Of course, Microsoft has "issues" with hackers, Schiff said, which is something of an understatement. Whatever else native database encryption does, it will certainly position the company as taking security seriously. Sounds like a win-win for SQL Server customers and Microsoft alike. Please register for TalkBack below and tell me and other readers what you think, or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. eWEEK.com Database Center Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.