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Network intrusion prevention system (NIPS) becomes more complex due to the rapid growth of network bandwidth and requirement of network security. However existing solutions, either hardware-based or software-based cannot obtain a good tradeoff between performance and flexibility. In this paper, we propose a parallel NIPS architecture using emerging network services processor. To resolve the problems and bottlenecks of high-speed processing, we investigate the main design aspects which have dramatic impacts on most parallel network security system implementations: efficient and flexible pipeline and parallel processing, flow-level packet-order preserving, and latency hiding of deep packet inspection. To these key points, we address several optimizations and modifications with an architecture-aware design principle to guarantee high performance and flexibility of the NIPS on a network services processor implementation. Performance evaluation shows that, our prototype NIPS on Cavium OCTEON3860 processor can reach line-rate stateful inspection and multi-Gbps deep inspection performance.
Date of Conference: 8-11 Dec. 2009