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Why 64-bit?

For most applications, 64-bit computing provides few advantages over traditional 32-bit operating systems. However one area where 64-bit has a massive advantage is in the implementation of SSL. In particular, a unique feature of the 64-bit Intel/AMD processor is that it can perform the lifesaving 64-bit multiply giving a 128-bit result in a single operation! No other processors can do such a large multiplication in a single step, therefore Intel/AMD 64-bit processors are best for SSL.

SSL requires the CPU intensive cryptography operations of RSA encryption. The slowness of RSA encryption is why many vendors have long since shipped expensive custom hardware to deal with situations where SSL heavily loads web site CPUs. These devices are sometimes extension cards or specialized routers. Deep inside these devices, they have a core that implements multiplication of large numbers inside custom silicon chips - these arithmetic operations are the most time consuming part of the RSA algorithm.

Even the cheapest hardware solutions can run into thousands of dollars, making it most unpopular. Worse still, should the hardware require replacement due to upgrades or failures, obtaining a replacement unit can be difficult - hardware cannot simply be downloaded from the Internet!

The solution is software-based SSL offloading using 64-bit computing. Our tests show that the latest 64-bit AMD and Intel machines can perform SSL at similar speeds to hardware-based solutions. And this is great news for anyone who is starting to see their CPU usage climbing.

But do I need to upgrade to a 64-bit operating system?

No!

What's so great about Proto Balance SSL is that you can install it on a different machine leaving your existing web server untouched. Proto Balance SSL will perform SSL encryption/decryption, creating a seamless connection to your web server. Your web server won't know that it is serving https:// instead of http:// web pages. You won't need to even so much as restart it!

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