Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

Speed up your SSL operation for IBM HTTP Server on Ultra SPARC T2 systems

Sometime back we have published a Sun Blueprint (Accelerating IBM HTTP Server Cryptographic Operations Using Sun Servers with CoolThreads Technology) detailing the steps needed to get your IBM HTTP Server use the on-chip crypto processor on Ultra SPARC T2 based system for SSL operation. This will give a free SSL operation boost without buying additional hardware for such operations.
The documentation lists all the steps needed to get your IBM HTTP Server and GSKit working  with this on-chip crypto module on Ultra SPARC T2 processor.  In addition to how to configure it, it also has results from some of the performance testing that has been done to measure the performance gain. Your milegae may vary depending on your type of workload but if you are making lot of new client connection and serving "HTTPS" traffic then this would something that is available to you free you want to consider. It wil help you take care of your SSL handshakes operations.
Another important aspect of this is that GSKit is a common library that has been used by IBM in lot of products. And as its evident from the name, Global Security Kit, it is security related implementation to be used across different products such as PKCS#11 or so. Some more details can be found at my prior blog about GSKit. This implies that if you want to hookup with PKCS#11 provider and take advantage of on-chip cryptography for other products that can be done too. You must note that this integration has happened at certain level of IBM HTTP Server so it requires certain version of GSKit embedded with the product for which you will try to take advantage.


Monday Mar 23, 2009

Free cryptography for WebSphere on Ultra SPARC T2 and T2 plus systems

If you have been being hit by the processing overhead of SSL stuff and have to buy special purpose hardware to speed up things, then may be its time to leave all this processing to Ultra SPARC T2 and T2 Plus based system. Which has builtin cryptogarphic support on the chip and websphere supports this:

Here are the details from IBM WebSite: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/java/jdk/security/50/secguides/pkcs11implDocs/IBMPKCS11SupportList.html
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/java/jdk/security/60/secguides/pkcs11implDocs/IBMPKCS11SupportList.html

For details of setup you can follow the WebSphere Infocenter.
Please note that this feature will be available only after certain fix pack release so it will not work unless you upgrade your JDK to required level as suggested in the doc.

If you want to learn more about the Cryptographic Acceleration offered by these processor I would encourage to read this Sun Blueprint titled "Using the Cryptographic Accelerators in the UltraSPARC® T1 and T2 Processors".

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