The management of keying material for IPsec security associations (SAs) is called key management. Automatic key management requires a secure channel of communication for the creation, authentication, and exchange of keys. The Solaris Operating System uses Internet Key Exchange (IKE) to automate key management. IKE easily scales to provide a secure channel for a large volume of traffic. IPsec SAs on IPv4 and IPv6 packets can take advantage of IKE.
When IKE is used on a system with a Sun Crypto Accelerator 1000 board or a Sun Crypto Accelerator 4000 or Sun Crypto Accelerator 6000 board, the public key operations can be offloaded to the accelerator. Operating system resources are not used for public key operations. When IKE is used on a system with a Sun Crypto Accelerator 4000 or Sun Crypto Accelerator 6000 board, the certificates, public keys, and private keys can be stored on the board. Key storage that is off the system provides an additional layer of protection.