Phobos enters SSL offload market

Phobos Inc. next week will roll out a network interface card aimed at speeding up e-commerce transactions.

Phobos’ In-Boost SSL can be installed in a Web server PCI slot to handle encryption and decryption processing. By using the Web acceleration network interface card (NIC) to control secure processing, network managers can free up their Web servers to carry out other types of processing and speed customer transactions on e-commerce sites.

Phobos isn’t new to the Web acceleration market – the company already makes a NIC-based cache product that serves up popular content requests to users. In the encryption/decryption processing product arena, Phobos will compete with Alteon, Intel and F5.

Observers say offloading the encryption/decryption processes of a secure transaction can go a long way toward speeding up a site’s overall response time, because those processes consume large amounts of Web server CPU power. Phobos says its In-Boost SSL can boost the number of secure transactions a server can handle at any one time by as much as 50 times.

Phobos says tests by Networkshop, a network consulting group in Canada, show that transaction processing for a typical configuration of Pentium-based servers fell from 322 connections per second to just 24 connections per second when handling SSL traffic.

In-Boost SSL is a 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet NIC that plugs into the PCI slot of a Windows NT or Red Hat Linux server. Up to 256 keys and certificates can be stored on In-Boost SSL, simplifying the setup and management of security for multiple domain names, a benefit for ISPs and Web hosting firms offering secure servers for multiple users.

In-Boost SSL is available immediately for US$2,495.