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I am seeking a hardware encryption card for accelerating drive encryption on an older system that I am trying to repurpose as a NAS.

I have a dual-processor AMD Athlon MP 2800+ system with a 12-port 3Ware 9550SX PCI-X SATA-II RAID card. I am eventually going to have 12 drives in 4 × 3-drive SATA backplanes that take up 2 × 5¼″ bays apiece - the case has 9 standard bays. Actual system drive (O/S) will be a small solid-state drive that plugs directly into the IDE ports (not worried about performance there), but the 12 drives will be 2-4Gb traditional hard drives (size dependent on cost at time of purchase).

I am looking to encrypt the entire RAID-5 system (each 3-drive array) and I am limited to either WHS 2003 (the platform is a 32-bit system, after all) or FreeNAS. I know about the Encrypting File System, but I want something under my own control, and I feel that TrueCrypt is the best option. Besides, I want to chain multiple encryption protocols, such as AES-TwoFish-Serpent, and this represents some pretty heavy lifting for an older system to do.

I have a spare PCI-X slot into which I can add another card. I am worried that the system will get bogged down if the processors themselves handle the encryption/decryption, and so I am seeking a PCI-X encryption accelerator card to offload the heavy lifting onto. So far I have found bupkis. Nada. Nothing. At least, nothing still for sale and in production.

Even other cards like this Cisco Accelerator card seem to fit the bill, but likely do not come with Windows drivers and are meant for specialty uses. Heck, the card even does the encryption protocols I want to use, but the card itself seems to be limited to VPN use.

I am seeking suggestions from the community -- what are my options on PCI-X encryption accelerator cards that are still in production and available for sale?

Please keep in mind -- PCI or PCI-X ONLY. No PCIe, as the system has ZERO PCIe slots.

share|improve this question
TrueCrypt does not even support TPM, so I guess you will have to use the software that comes with the card. Theoretically if you use a hardware card, all disk access will go through it. The bandwidth and latency requirement seems to be impossible to satisfy. – Sep 23 '11 at 8:45
...and if you do the encryption with a hardware card, buy a spare too - nothing worse than having the main card die and nothing to replace it and get you back onto your array. Mind you, you will have backups...won't you ;-) – Linker3000 Sep 23 '11 at 8:59
Truecrypt DOES use hardware acceleration, but only processor-based acceleration. – René Kåbis Sep 23 '11 at 15:38
FreeNAS is looking more and more attractive… – René Kåbis Sep 23 '11 at 16:41
Just bumping this so that fresh eyes might be able to help… – René Kåbis Dec 23 '11 at 21:23

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