Re: IDS\IPS that can handle one Gig

From: Ed Gibbs (ed_at_digitalconclave.com)
Date: 06/06/05

  • Next message: Chris Harrington: "RE: IDS\IPS that can handle one Gig"
    To: "Chris Harrington" <charrington@nitrosecurity.com>, <THolman@toplayer.com>, <PPalmer@iss.net>, <prashant@juniper.net>, <focus-ids@securityfocus.com>
    Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 08:20:59 -0700
    
    

    You're absolutely right - there needs to be IPS test standards. I would
    like to propose putting together a forum, and defining what the IPS test
    standards should be - is anyone interested? I would like to see several
    members from each IPS vendor involved. The result is that we create a set
    of procedures that provide guidance, and help someone determine which IPS is
    best for their environment.

    Ed

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Chris Harrington" <charrington@nitrosecurity.com>
    To: <THolman@toplayer.com>; <PPalmer@iss.net>; <ed@digitalconclave.com>;
    <prashant@juniper.net>; <focus-ids@securityfocus.com>
    Sent: Saturday, June 04, 2005 11:43 PM
    Subject: RE: IDS\IPS that can handle one Gig

    > Let's have another vendor weigh in :) See my comments in line.
    >
    >
    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: THolman@toplayer.com [mailto:THolman@toplayer.com]
    >> Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 8:25 AM
    >>
    >> 1) Gigabit performance is irrelevant; it's the packets per
    >> second that count. Vendors cheat and claim 1Gb performance
    >> based on large packet sizes (not real world), or just add up
    >> the sizes of all their interfaces.
    >
    > It would be nice if there was a standardized IPS performance test with
    > regards to packet size, traffic mix, etc. I don't see that happening
    > unless
    > ICSA does it for the NIPS certification. This would cut down on the shady
    > performance numbers that Tim refers to.
    >
    >>
    >> 2) In PC architecture, the PCI bus is the bottleneck, not
    >> the processor.
    >
    > That depends on what you are doing with the processor. If you are doing
    > pattern matching in the CPU you could run out of CPU well before you run
    > out
    > of bus capacity. A PCI bus has a theoretical limit of 1.05 Gbps. A 16 lane
    > PCI-Express bus is 80 Gbps. Several vendors are already shipping 10 Gig
    > PCI-Express cards.
    >
    >>
    >> 3) An Intel processor has a large instruction set designed
    >> for workstation/server performance and GUI operations, and
    >> not for packet processing.
    >
    > I would say that the processor designers didn't have any specific tasks in
    > mind. It is a general purpose processor.
    >
    >>
    >> 4) An ASIC has a tiny instruction set in comparison,
    >> designed for a specific task. So, a 3.2Ghz Intel processor
    >> forwarding/processing network traffic is on a par with a
    >> 133Mhz ASIC designed to do the same thing.
    >
    > I'm not an ASIC guy so I will take your word for it on the comparison :)
    >
    >>
    >> 5) Processors can only do one thing at once. Thus, a
    >> networking device with several processors installed in
    >> parallel (ASICs OR Intel) is far more effective than a box
    >> with a single/dual processor.
    >
    > More processors gives you more flexibility in what gets processed where.
    >
    >>
    >> 6) Hard disks do not slow down performance. They lower
    >> reliability as fail all the time (!). RAID would help, but I
    >> don't think any security vendor offers a RAID array as an
    >> integral part of their appliance, so cut to the chase, get
    >> the HDD off the inline unit and place on a separate
    >> management machine so we have a reliable distributed
    >> architecture that isn't put at risk by HDD failure. On the
    >> same note, dual fans and power supplies also need to be considered.
    >
    > Hard drives do fail, no question there. I definitely disagree with your
    > statement about vendors not having RAID. There are definitely vendors
    > (other
    > than us) who have drives in RAID configuration, both 1 and 5. I am not
    > sure
    > taking the drive off the device makes for a more reliable distributed
    > architecture. What if the link from the IPS to the Management machine goes
    > down or the Syslog server dies? What if the hard drive in the Management
    > machine fails? :) With no drive on the IPS your space to store events,
    > system data, etc, is somewhat limited. How long before you have to start
    > overwriting event data on the IPS?
    >
    > Same goes for dual fans and power supplies. There are vendors (again other
    > than us) who have dual fans and hot swappable power supplies. Although
    > these
    > are generally found in the 500 mbps and up ranges.
    >
    > Don't forget fail open NIC's and bypass devices. Most vendors (including
    > ASIC IPS') have them, at least as an option. If not having a hard drive is
    > the path to reliability then why do vendors without hard drives have fail
    > open NIC's? Because other components can and do fail as well.
    >
    >>
    >> 7) Single-processor machines can easily FORWARD 64-byte
    >> packets at 'multi-Gig' speeds. They can do this as the
    >> processor doesn't have to do anything with them. As soon as
    >> you add intensive operations to the packets in question,
    >> bearing in mind there is only a single CPU that can only do
    >> one thing at once, you introduce LATENCY plus reduce pps
    >> performance DRASTICALLY. This is where a parallel processing
    >> architecture comes into it's own and takes leaps forward over
    >> what a single-CPU box can do.
    >
    > You are assuming that the CPU is doing the packet processing. Many vendors
    > are using network content accelerators and other processing cards to
    > offload
    > the CPU intensive operations.
    >
    >>
    >> In conclusion:
    >>
    >> A box with one or two ASICs in is easily outperformed by a PC
    >> with the latest Intel processor, fast network cards and a
    >> good chunk of memory.
    >> However, the PC is more prone to hard disk failure, which is
    >> why you should never put one inline if uptime is critical.
    >>
    >> A box with several ASICs in will outperform ANY PC-based
    >> solution, and ANY ASIC solution that relies only on one or
    >> two processors.
    >
    > But at what cost in terms of price per Gigabit and flexibility? Adding new
    > functionality to software is pretty easy....
    >
    >>
    >> ..and one comment to Ed with respect to McAfee/TippingPoint
    >>
    >> >both products really don't care if you have every signature and then
    >> >some on.
    >>
    >> Yes they do. If you turn on every signature check with these
    >> IPS's, pps performance slows to a mediocre dribble...
    >
    > They do care. Look at some of the product reviews and you will see that
    > vendor X has 2000 rules / filters / signatures but only 500 are on by
    > default. I've witnessed a couple of ASIC IPS' that were brought to their
    > knees when asked to store the offending packets. What about storing the
    > TCP
    > stream involved with an event? Customers are asking about this...
    >
    >>
    >> Inline devices should NOT rely on REGEX signatures - by
    >> nature, string searching is very resource intensive and best
    >> left to a nice fast offline IDS running on an up-to-date PC
    >> platform, where latency is not going to be an issue...
    >
    > There are PC platform IPS on the market that are under 100 microseconds
    > that
    > do pattern matching.
    >
    >>
    >> Hope this helps - this isn't an all out war ASIC-based vs
    >> PC-based, it's a question of architecture and suitability for
    >> the job in hand!
    >>
    >
    > Definitely an interesting thread. I agree that it is about suitability.
    >
    > --Chris
    >
    > Christopher Harrington, CISSP
    > Chief Technology Officer
    > nitrosecurity
    > o: 603.570.3931
    > c: 603.969.0592
    > e: charrington@nitrosecurity.com
    > w: www.nitrosecurity.com
    > Skype: chrisharrington
    >
    >
    >
    >

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Test Your IDS

    Is your IDS deployed correctly?
    Find out quickly and easily by testing it with real-world attacks from
    CORE IMPACT.
    Go to http://www.securityfocus.com/sponsor/CoreSecurity_focus-ids_040708
    to learn more.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------


  • Next message: Chris Harrington: "RE: IDS\IPS that can handle one Gig"

    Relevant Pages

    • RE: Recent Gartner IDS/IPS report
      ... > resources to properly analyze security reports, ... > replace the IDS products. ... since these same vendors compete with your ... Basing IPS entirely on IDS and making the offspring a single product is ...
      (Focus-IDS)
    • Re: IPS Reliability/Availability
      ... Actually, I'm seeing other vendors, SourceFire being one of the ones ... Does anybody have a list of which vendors are using ASICs ... TippingPoint sells a zero-power bypass add-on for their IPS. ... with real-world attacks from CORE IMPACT. ...
      (Focus-IDS)
    • IPS test criteria (was IDSIPS that can handle one Gig)
      ... Chris - what makes ICSA particularly relevant when it comes to defining IPS ... Speak to the vendors who were at their recent forum meeting ... a wide range of traffic loads and packet sizes. ... wide range of test criteria). ...
      (Focus-IDS)
    • RE: NIPS Vendors explicit answer
      ... this is the only comprehensive independent IPS test that's been ... Make sure the product continues to block attacks when simple, ... Test the IPS like you would any other network element (switch, ... The other vendors waiting for my tests:) are Netscreen IDP,RealSecure ISS Proventia G200 and Network Associates NAI Intruvert 2600 series. ...
      (Focus-IDS)
    • Re: IPS Reliability/Availability
      ... switched focus from supplying firewall vendors to supplying in-line IPS ... Subject: IPS Reliability/Availability ... appliance simply by adding processor boards. ... Does anybody have a list of which vendors are using ASICs ...
      (Focus-IDS)