We have an application that we're looking to deploy on a Solaris 10 zone on a T5240. We're doing some performance testing and finding that encryption is significantly slower on this platform as compared to the same tests on an old x86 system (also running Solaris 10). I know that floating point on the Coolthreads platform is not the best, but I thought Sun had something built in to assist encryption.
Is x86 going to be a better platform for heavy encryption?
You are right, the cool thread servers do have built in cryptographic chips. I believe its one per core, so if you have an 8 core server it will have 8 crypto chips.
However to utilise them your software will need to be compatible, they wont be used automatically. What kind of encryption are you peforming? If it is ssl for a webserver then you could use the KSSL proxy which comes with Solaris 10. This is very easy to configure, details of which can be found here.
Once you configure this all the SSL will be handled by the crypto chips and your CPU can get on with webserving.