Intel has realised, over recent years, that simply making CPUs faster isn’t the only game when it comes to enterprise processors. They have added a new instruction set to their processors, the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions, or AES NI, to the the Xeon and Core processor families so encryption operations can be offloaded directly to the CPU.
Encryption is a key layer in your security strategy – at least it should be. However, encryption and decryption add an overhead in your processing capability. While Moore’s Law has helped, our use of encryption has increased markedly. In particular, some cloud providers are now encrypting each data field separately with its own key leading to an ever-growing thirst for more processing power.
Rather than simply adding more grunt to processors, Intel has added a new instruction set, Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions, to the latest Xeon and Core processor families so crypto-operations can be handled directly on the chip.
According to Intel, the net result of this approach is encryption is over five times faster and decryption gets close to a 20-fold speed boost.
This will rely on software developers re-tooling their software to take advantage of this. VMware is on-board with their new Distributed Network Encryption (DNE) technology. Of course, this isn’t surprising seeing as VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger was Intel’s first CTO where he had a hand in the development of AES NI.