SQL Server Remote BLOB Store (RBS) is an optional add-on component that lets database administrators store binary large objects in commodity storage solutions instead of directly on the main database server.
RBS is included on the SQL Server 2017 installation media, but is not installed by the SQL Server Setup program.
Optimized database storage and performance
Storing BLOBs in the database can consume large amounts of file space and expensive server resources. RBS transfers the BLOBs to a dedicated storage solution you choose and stores references to thr BLOBs in the database. This frees server storage for structured data, and frees server resources for database operations.
Efficient BLOB management
Several RBS features support stored BLOBs management:
BLOBS are managed with ACID (atomic consistency isolation durable) transactions.
BLOBs are organized into collections.
Garbage collection, consistency checking, and other maintenance functions are included.
RBS defines a set of APIs that provide a standardized programming model for applications to access and modify any BLOB store. Each BLOB store can specify its own provider library which plugs into the RBS client library and specifies how BLOBs are stored and accessed.
A number of third-party storage solution vendors have developed RBS providers that conform to these standard APIs and support BLOB storage on various storage platforms.
RBS requires SQL Server Enterprise for the main database server in which the BLOB metadata is stored. However, if you use the supplied FILESTREAM provider, you can store the BLOBs themselves on SQL Server Standard. To connect to SQL Server, RBS requires at least ODBC driver version 11 for SQL Server 2014 and ODBC Driver version 13 for SQL Server 2016. Drivers are available at Download ODBC Driver for SQL Server.
RBS includes a FILESTREAM provider that lets you use RBS to store BLOBs on an instance of SQL Server. If you want use RBS to store BLOBs in a different storage solution, you have to use a third party RBS provider developed for that storage solution, or develop a custom RBS provider using the RBS API. A sample provider that stores BLOBs in the NTFS file system is available as a learning resource on Codeplex.
The SQL Remote Blob Storage Team Blog is a good source of information about this feature. The RBS security model is described in the post at RBS Security Model.
When you use a custom provider to store BLOBs outside of SQL Server, make sure that you protect the stored BLOBs with permissions and encryption options that are appropriate to the storage medium used by the custom provider.
Credential store symmetric key
If a provider requires the setup and use of a secret stored within the credential store, RBS uses a symmetric key to encrypt the provider secrets which a client may use to gain authorization to the provider’s blob store.
RBS 2016 uses an AES_128 symmetric key. SQL Server 2016 does not allow the creation of new TRIPLE_DES keys except for backwards compatibility reasons. For more information, see CREATE SYMMETRIC KEY (Transact-SQL).
RBS 2014 and prior versions use a credential store which holds secrets encrypted using the TRIPLE_DES symmetric key algorithm which is outdated. If you are currently using TRIPLE_DES Microsoft recommends that you enhance your security by following the steps in this topic to rotate your key to a stronger encryption method.
You can determine the RBS credential store symmetric key properties by executing the following Transact-SQL statement in the RBS database:
SELECT * FROM sys.symmetric_keys WHERE name = 'mssqlrbs_encryption_skey';If the output from that statement shows that TRIPLE_DES is still used, then you should rotate this key.
Rotating the symmetric key
When using RBS, you should periodically rotate the credential store symmetric key. This is a common security best practice to meet organizational security policies. One way to rotate the RBS credential store symmetric key, is to use the script below in the RBS database. You can also use this script to migrate to stronger encryption strength properties, such as algorithm or key length. Backup your database prior to key rotation. At the script’s conclusion, it has some verification steps.
If your security policies require different key properties (e.g., algorithm or key length) from the ones provided, then the script may be used as a template. Modify the key properties in two places: 1) the creation of the temporary key 2) the creation of the permanent key.
The RBS samples available on Codeplex demonstrate how to develop an RBS application, and how to develop and install a custom RBS provider.
The RBS blog provides additional information to help you understand, deploy, and maintain RBS.
Key rotation script
This example creates a stored procedure named
sp_rotate_rbs_symmetric_credential_key to replace the currently used RBS credential store symmetric key
with one of your choosing. You may want to do this if there is a security policy requiring
periodic key rotation or if there are specific algorithm requirements.
In this stored procedure, a symmetric key using AES_256 will replace the current one. As a result of
the symmetric key replacement, secrets need to be re-encrypted with the new key. This stored
procedure will also re-encrypt the secrets. The database should be backed up prior to key rotation.
CREATE PROC sp_rotate_rbs_symmetric_credential_key AS BEGIN BEGIN TRANSACTION; BEGIN TRY CLOSE ALL SYMMETRIC KEYS; /* Prove that all secrets can be re-encrypted, by creating a temporary key (#mssqlrbs_encryption_skey) and create a temp table (#myTable) to hold the re-encrypted secrets. Check to see if all re-encryption worked before moving on.*/ CREATE TABLE #myTable(sql_user_sid VARBINARY(85) NOT NULL, blob_store_id SMALLINT NOT NULL, credential_name NVARCHAR(256) COLLATE Latin1_General_BIN2 NOT NULL, old_secret VARBINARY(MAX), -- holds secrets while existing symmetric key is deleted credential_secret VARBINARY(MAX)); -- holds secrets with the new permanent symmetric key /* Create a new temporary symmetric key with which the credential store secrets can be re-encrypted. These will be used once the existing symmetric key is deleted.*/ CREATE SYMMETRIC KEY #mssqlrbs_encryption_skey WITH ALGORITHM = AES_256 ENCRYPTION BY CERTIFICATE [cert_mssqlrbs_encryption]; OPEN SYMMETRIC KEY #mssqlrbs_encryption_skey DECRYPTION BY CERTIFICATE [cert_mssqlrbs_encryption]; INSERT INTO #myTable SELECT cred_store.sql_user_sid, cred_store.blob_store_id, cred_store.credential_name, encryptbykey( key_guid('#mssqlrbs_encryption_skey'), decryptbykeyautocert(cert_id('cert_mssqlrbs_encryption'), NULL, cred_store.credential_secret) ), NULL FROM [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials] AS cred_store; IF( EXISTS(SELECT * FROM #myTable WHERE old_secret IS NULL)) BEGIN PRINT 'Abort. Failed to read some values'; SELECT * FROM #myTable; ROLLBACK; END; ELSE BEGIN /* Re-encryption worked, so go ahead and drop the existing RBS credential store symmetric key and replace it with a new symmetric key.*/ DROP SYMMETRIC KEY [mssqlrbs_encryption_skey]; CREATE SYMMETRIC KEY [mssqlrbs_encryption_skey] WITH ALGORITHM = AES_256 ENCRYPTION BY CERTIFICATE [cert_mssqlrbs_encryption]; OPEN SYMMETRIC KEY [mssqlrbs_encryption_skey] DECRYPTION BY CERTIFICATE [cert_mssqlrbs_encryption]; /*Re-encrypt using the new permanent symmetric key. Verify if encryption provided a result*/ UPDATE #myTable SET [credential_secret] = encryptbykey(key_guid('mssqlrbs_encryption_skey'), decryptbykey(old_secret)) IF( EXISTS(SELECT * FROM #myTable WHERE credential_secret IS NULL)) BEGIN PRINT 'Aborted. Failed to re-encrypt some values' SELECT * FROM #myTable ROLLBACK END ELSE BEGIN /* Replace the actual RBS credential store secrets with the newly encrypted secrets stored in the temp table #myTable.*/ SET NOCOUNT ON; DECLARE @sql_user_sid varbinary(85); DECLARE @blob_store_id smallint; DECLARE @credential_name varchar(256); DECLARE @credential_secret varbinary(256); DECLARE curSecretValue CURSOR FOR SELECT sql_user_sid, blob_store_id, credential_name, credential_secret FROM #myTable ORDER BY sql_user_sid, blob_store_id, credential_name; OPEN curSecretValue; FETCH NEXT FROM curSecretValue INTO @sql_user_sid, @blob_store_id, @credential_name, @credential_secret WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0 BEGIN UPDATE [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials] SET [credential_secret] = @credential_secret FROM [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials] WHERE sql_user_sid = @sql_user_sid AND blob_store_id = @blob_store_id AND credential_name = @credential_name FETCH NEXT FROM curSecretValue INTO @sql_user_sid, @blob_store_id, @credential_name, @credential_secret END CLOSE curSecretValue DEALLOCATE curSecretValue DROP TABLE #myTable; CLOSE ALL SYMMETRIC KEYS; DROP SYMMETRIC KEY #mssqlrbs_encryption_skey; /* Verify that you can decrypt all encrypted credential store entries using the certificate.*/ IF( EXISTS(SELECT * FROM [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials] WHERE decryptbykeyautocert(cert_id('cert_mssqlrbs_encryption'), NULL, credential_secret) IS NULL)) BEGIN print 'Aborted. Failed to verify key rotation' ROLLBACK; END; ELSE COMMIT; END; END; END TRY BEGIN CATCH PRINT 'Exception caught: ' + cast(ERROR_NUMBER() as nvarchar) + ' ' + ERROR_MESSAGE(); ROLLBACK END CATCH END; GO
Now you can use the
sp_rotate_rbs_symmetric_credential_key stored procedure to rotate the RBS credential store symmetric key, and the secrets remain the same before and after the key rotation.
SELECT *, decryptbykeyautocert(cert_id('cert_mssqlrbs_encryption'), NULL, credential_secret) FROM [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials]; EXEC sp_rotate_rbs_symmetric_credential_key; SELECT *, decryptbykeyautocert(cert_id('cert_mssqlrbs_encryption'), NULL, credential_secret) FROM [mssqlrbs_resources].[rbs_internal_blob_store_credentials]; /* See that the RBS credential store symmetric key properties reflect the new changes*/ SELECT * FROM sys.symmetric_keys WHERE name = 'mssqlrbs_encryption_skey';