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Encryption Security Sun Microsystems Hardware

Sun Plans Security Coprocessor For New Ultrasparc 59

angry tapir writes "At the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, Sun presented plans for a security accelerator chip that it said would reduce encryption costs for applications such as VoIP calls and online banking Web sites. The coprocessor will be included on the same silicon as Rainbow Falls, the code name for the follow-on to Sun's multi-threaded Ultrasparc T2 processor."
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Sun Plans Security Coprocessor For New Ultrasparc

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  • by BabyDave ( 575083 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:23AM (#29202347)
    As I understand it, the T1 and T2 chips both have on-chip crypto accelerators (one per core) already - what's the difference with the Rainbow Falls version?
  • Unanswered Questions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:31AM (#29202487)
    As there always is when you off-load some job on to a co-processor somewhere (even if it is on the same silicon) there are some unanswered questions:
    • How will current software interact with this chip and be transparent for current applications? Software support in things like IPSec libraries for this hardware is going to be important.
    • Is this a response to the Sparc's lack of CPU grunt compared with other processors? If it is then it's going to make Sparc even more expensive relative to the competition.
    • It's easier to update software than it is to update silicon or chips. How will this approach and this chip fare in a few years when technology and software has moved on? This history of co-processors for specific jobs has never been a very happy or long-lived one.

    This doesn't look as if it's going to reduce encryption costs for most people as they say. It looks like a way of making up for the inherant lack of grunt on the Sparc platform, so maybe it will reduce encryption costs as far as that platform is concerned.

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