Sun plans on-chip security boost for Ultrasparc

Sun's third-generation Ultrasparc will have an on-chip security processor - if it is ever released

Sun Microsystems' product plans are up in the air pending its acquisition by Oracle, but the company's chip engineers continue to present new designs in the hope they'll see the light of day.

At the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University on Tuesday, 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 chip, known as a coprocessor, will be included on the same silicon as Rainbow Falls, the code name for the follow-on to Sun's multithreaded Ultrasparc T2 processor.

Most coprocessors are separate from the CPU. They offload tasks that use a lot of computing power, such as cryptographic processing, so that the main processor is free to do other work.

But having the security coprocessor as a separate chip makes it unsuitable for some types of applications, according to Sun engineer Lawrence Spracklen.

For applications that require data to be encrypted in small packets, such as VoIP calls and programs that use IPsec, it's impractical to offload the work to an external chip because there is too much latency moving the data back and forth to the CPU, he said.

Moving the coprocessor onto the same silicon as Rainbow Falls will virtually eliminate the latency and will make it practical for companies to use cryptography more widely, he said.

Besides VoIP and IPsec programs, online banking sites also require small packets of data to be encrypted, because of all the fields and graphical elements that tend to appear on the page.

Traffic to and from those sites is encrypted today, but at a substantial cost to CPU performance, he said.

Sun is giving a presentation about Rainbow Falls later on Tuesday, but it's not expected to provide a shipping date.

Oracle has said it plans to continue development of Sun's Sparc chips, but it has given no details and plans for individual products are unknown. That means it's unclear if Rainbow Falls and its on-chip security accelerator will see the light of day.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sparc64Sun MircosystemsHot Chips

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?