Sun Java Enterprise System Deployment Planning Guide

Specialized Hardware to Handle SSL Transactions

Specialized hardware devices, such as SSL accelerator cards and other appliances, are available to provide computing power to handle establishment of secure sessions and the encryption and decryption of data. When using specialized hardware for SSL operations, computational power is dedicated to some part of the SSL computations, typically the “handshake” operation that establishes a secure session.

This hardware might be of benefit to your final deployment architecture. However, because of the specialized nature of the hardware, estimate secure transaction performance requirements first in terms of CPU power, and then consider the benefits of using specialized hardware to handle the additional load.

Some factors to consider when using specialized hardware are whether the use cases support using the hardware (for example, use cases that require a large number of SSL handshake operations) and the added layer of complexity this type of hardware brings to the design. This complexity includes the installation, configuration, testing, and administration of these devices.