Hifn ships dual-function storage NIC

By Kevin Komiega

-- Hifn today debuted the Express DS 4100, the newest addition to its family of multifunction PCI network interface cards (NICs) with bandwidth optimization and encryption features aimed at storage applications that move data across Ethernet networks.

The Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) NIC – available with dual-port copper or optical fiber connections – automatically offloads data compression and encryption processes to save CPU cycles and bandwidth for replication, mirroring and cloud storage applications, as well as moving data across Ethernet networks in IP SAN and NAS environments.

Hifn's PCIe-level Express DS 4100 NICs offload CPU-intensive applications to minimize performance latency, which can affect backup windows. The cards compress data using IPComp (LZS) and IPsec (AES, 3DES) for encryption.

The Express DS 4100 uses Hifn's FlowThrough processor architecture to deliver these functions transparently by performing a full offload of all security and optimization operations, including IPsec and IPComp processing, SRTP, Internet Key Exchange (IKE), IP, TCP and UDP checksum operations.

Hifn's pitch is value. Mike Goldgof, vice president of product marketing, says the Express DS 4100 cards simultaneously solve the problems of high cost WAN bandwidth and the security risk associated with moving data over shared packet networks.

"Buying additional WAN bandwidth is expensive and it does nothing to protect or optimize data that is moved over shared IP networks," says Goldgof. "The technology saves money by helping customers do more with the bandwidth that they already have."

Samples of the Hifn Express DS 4100 will be available to OEM partners this quarter, with general availability expected in the second quarter. Pricing for the DS 4100 is $395 in OEM volume quantities.

The initial release of the Express DS 4100 NIC includes Linux and Windows Server 2003 and 2008 software and driver support, with additional software support slated for future releases.

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This article was originally published on January 27, 2009