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Author Topic: NCIPHER nFast 800 - SSL accelerator card  (Read 3295 times)
nFast
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October 15, 2012, 01:06:00 PM
 #1

Hi there,

I have a couple of NCIPHER nFast 800 SSL accelerator cards here, and I would like to know if this is able to speed up somehow any kind of mining (cpu or others).  I know it's not a widely used piece of hw, so probably there's no ready-to-use miner for this at this time, but hopefully someone can tell me if I can use them for mining.  (If not: does somebody have any idea what is it good for then?)

THX

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runeks
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October 15, 2012, 09:43:57 PM
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These cards accelerate:

• RSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit, 1536-bit, and
2048-bit RSA public-key and private-key
processing
• DSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, and 1024-bit DSA signing
and verification
• Diffie-Hellman: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit,
1536-bit, and 2048-bit D-H session-key generation

None of which are used in Bitcoin.

Quote
(If not: does somebody have any idea what is it good for then?)
They are good for "[enabling] organizations to cost-effectively improve Web server performance"
http://www.tech.proact.co.uk/ncipher/ncipher_nfast_800_ssl_accelerator.htm

So if you have a web server that uses SSL, these cards help offload the cryptographic operations involved in encrypting traffic to the clients.

I claim this: no matter how far you look, you won't find anything that matches special-made FPGAs - and surely not ASICs - in Bitcoin mining. Doing SHA256 hashing as fast as is considered 'fast' in Bitcoin mining literally has no alternative uses at the moment.
nFast
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October 19, 2012, 07:07:23 PM
 #3

• RSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit, 1536-bit, and
2048-bit RSA public-key and private-key
processing
• DSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, and 1024-bit DSA signing
and verification
• Diffie-Hellman: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit,
1536-bit, and 2048-bit D-H session-key generation

None of which are used in Bitcoin.

I'm afraid I know the answer but I must ask it:  what about LiteCoin mining with these cards?

GenTarkin
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October 19, 2012, 11:11:22 PM
 #4

pretty sure, no

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October 20, 2012, 03:16:02 PM
 #5

Definitely no.
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October 22, 2012, 12:09:11 PM
 #6

These cards accelerate:

• RSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit, 1536-bit, and
2048-bit RSA public-key and private-key
processing
• DSA: 512-bit, 768-bit, and 1024-bit DSA signing
and verification
• Diffie-Hellman: 512-bit, 768-bit, 1024-bit,
1536-bit, and 2048-bit D-H session-key generation

None of which are used in Bitcoin.

Quote
(If not: does somebody have any idea what is it good for then?)
They are good for "[enabling] organizations to cost-effectively improve Web server performance"
http://www.tech.proact.co.uk/ncipher/ncipher_nfast_800_ssl_accelerator.htm

So if you have a web server that uses SSL, these cards help offload the cryptographic operations involved in encrypting traffic to the clients.

I claim this: no matter how far you look, you won't find anything that matches special-made FPGAs - and surely not ASICs - in Bitcoin mining. Doing SHA256 hashing as fast as is considered 'fast' in Bitcoin mining literally has no alternative uses at the moment.

Unless you're also mining on a machine that serves a lot of clients via SSL and it eats up major CPU, I can't see the card helping you much. The other's pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'd say sell the card on ebay if you can, use that to A)get a GPU B)preorder an ASIC C)wait to see if ASIC's are not a scam, etc and buy one.

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senseless
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October 27, 2012, 11:59:51 PM
 #7

Hi there,

I have a couple of NCIPHER nFast 800 SSL accelerator cards here, and I would like to know if this is able to speed up somehow any kind of mining (cpu or others).  I know it's not a widely used piece of hw, so probably there's no ready-to-use miner for this at this time, but hopefully someone can tell me if I can use them for mining.  (If not: does somebody have any idea what is it good for then?)

THX



What did those cards cost you?

How many Mbps can they handle?

Do you have a heavy webserver or something that needs SSL acceleration?



mrb
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October 28, 2012, 12:57:31 AM
 #8

Quote
(If not: does somebody have any idea what is it good for then?)
They are good for "[enabling] organizations to cost-effectively improve Web server performance"
http://www.tech.proact.co.uk/ncipher/ncipher_nfast_800_ssl_accelerator.htm

So if you have a web server that uses SSL, these cards help offload the cryptographic operations involved in encrypting traffic to the clients.

In fact, they don't even help with this because modern CPUs are so fast that they outperform most SSL accelerators.

nFast: 800 1024-bit RSA decryption/second according to http://www.asiapeak.com/download/nfast.pdf
A quad-core Intel Core-2 3.0GHz does 7680 decryption/second (1920 per core), so it is 10x faster:

Code:
$ openssl speed rsa
[...]
                  sign    verify    sign/s verify/s
rsa 1024 bits 0.000521s 0.000028s   1920.7  35894.9

I like to call them "SSL decelerators". They only made sense 10+ years ago when CPUs were 32-bit (modular exponentiation in RSA is much slower when done with 32-bit ints instead of 64-bit).
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October 29, 2012, 05:44:47 AM
 #9

In fact, they don't even help with this because modern CPUs are so fast that they outperform most SSL accelerators.

nFast: 800 1024-bit RSA decryption/second according to http://www.asiapeak.com/download/nfast.pdf
A quad-core Intel Core-2 3.0GHz does 7680 decryption/second (1920 per core), so it is 10x faster:

Code:
$ openssl speed rsa
[...]
                  sign    verify    sign/s verify/s
rsa 1024 bits 0.000521s 0.000028s   1920.7  35894.9

I like to call them "SSL decelerators". They only made sense 10+ years ago when CPUs were 32-bit (modular exponentiation in RSA is much slower when done with 32-bit ints instead of 64-bit).


I've been looking around and I'm not seeing any accelerators on the market (except some crap that won't do more than 100Mbps). I've broken down to buying epiphany, fpga, and gpu test boards for dumping encryption off onto one of those platforms. It seems though I should be able to get at least 10Gbps on a stratix IV of AES encryption/decryption routines. My CPUs are just having a hell of a time keeping up with it all. I'm at the point where I need dedicated crypto hardware to push any more data off a single server. It's more expensive to buy larger systems (3K for dual proc quad core latest gen hardware) than it is to spend on an FPGA or custom epiphany solution. Seeing as there is nothing on the market that will handle high volume crypto, was considering developing my own PCB accelerator solution.




mrb
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October 30, 2012, 05:47:38 PM
 #10

In theory it is possible to design an SSL accelerator vastly outperforming CPUs on RSA. But nobody made one because the market is just too small (<100 companies in the world need to do gazillions of SSL handshakes per sec). Also, the handshake itself is not that expensive as the connection can be re-used / kept open (eg. HTTP keep-alive) and the speed bottleneck usually becomes whatever else needs to be done over SSL (rendering a dynamic HTML page, performing a search in your mailbox, etc).
Bogart
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October 31, 2012, 04:59:44 AM
 #11

...the speed bottleneck usually becomes whatever else needs to be done over SSL (rendering a dynamic HTML page, performing a search in your mailbox, etc).

I would hope that the people who have these kinds of scaling problems already have these things separated, with the application living on one host (or cluster), and the ssl frontend (squid in accel mode or whatever) on another host (or cluster), such that they can scale each as needed, and identify with which their performance constraints lie.

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