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Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design Speeds Deployment

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Next-Gen Intel® NetSec Accelerator Reference Design Speeds

Deployment of Networking and Security Solutions at the Enterprise ​Edge 


Growth of endpoints and services requires enhanced security approaches 

Security has long been a top priority for enterprises, but the changing nature of work presents new challenges. Enterprises today are increasingly distributed across many locations, which has led to massive growth in the number of enterprise network endpoints. 

 To meet the increased demand for bandwidth needed to support the growing volume of connections and services, enterprises can deploy software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs). These networks are appealing for their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. However, SD-WANs can drastically expand the network attack surface, which increases vulnerability to cyberthreats. 

 As the attack surface widens, securing the enterprise becomes increasingly complex, and the threats are relentless. A 2023 report found that 84 percent of organizations experienced one or more breaches in the previous year, and 65 percent expected an increase in cyberattacks over the next 12 months.1 

 Secure access service edge (SASE) can be deployed by security solution and edge network providers to meet changing needs. In contrast, traditional perimeter-focused security and fixed-deployment models can't easily adapt at the enterprise edge. Converging security functions and SD-WANs in virtualized or containerized services, SASE enables network workloads to be deployed where they are most needed and can apply security at the per-workload, per-user, and per-device levels. 

 Given network infrastructure space, power, and thermal constraints, the path to network security can be complex for enterprises. Such barriers leave solution providers eager to adopt approaches to help accelerate the deployment of networking and security functions. While achieving 100% security is impossible, SASE deployments offer enterprises a network and security solution that responds to the transformation of the edge and user dynamics. 


Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design enables SASE functions

At Intel, we understand the challenge of supporting business-critical workloads at the edge. Security solution and edge network providers can use the Intel® NetSec Accelerator Reference Design to quickly build, deploy, and scale networking and security functions within SASE stacks without adding rack space. Our reference design incorporates the Intel® Ethernet Network Controller E810, which enables deployment of a fully autonomous server on a PCIe add-in card (AIC) at the network edge within a small, power-efficient package. 

 The previous generation ran on Intel Atom® processors. The second-generation Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design expands the processor portfolio to include the Intel® Xeon® D processor, a system-on-chip (SoC) built for the edge. This SoC delivers high per-core performance, advanced security features, and built-in hardware acceleration for AI and crypto in a one-package design that offers dense compute power to deliver high data throughput. Our Intel Xeon D processors support advanced high-density, single-socket network, storage, and cloud-to-edge computing solutions with integrated security, network, and acceleration capabilities that deliver workload-optimized performance for space- and power-constrained environments.  

 Edge network and security solution providers can use the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design to help accelerate networking and security workloads at the enterprise edge and edge Points of Presence (POPs). Our reference design provides full orchestration and management capabilities and low-latency networking that help enable: 


  • Scalability: The edge-cluster architecture in a PCIe AIC form factor supports efficient scaling within SASE stacks to manage the network infrastructure footprint without adding rack space. 
  • Flexibility: Providers can deploy networking and security workloads where they are most needed. Dedicated hardware helps accelerate workloads to maximize server infrastructure capabilities at the edge. 
  •  Isolation: Providers can isolate workloads to support a higher density of connections, preserve server capacity, and accelerate processor-intensive network security use cases. This isolation provides a physical security barrier to secure the workloads running on the Intel NetSec Accelerator, including analytics, data loss prevention (DLP), internet protocol security (IPsec), load balancing, next-generation firewall (NGFW), secure sockets layer (SSL), transport layer security (TLS), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA). 
  • Innovation: Intel® architecture-based applications can be quickly ported to the PCIe AIC and run practically straight out of the box. Providers can deploy fully autonomous microservices at the enterprise edge with improved security, performance, and confidence in compatibility with existing Intel architecture-based appliances and the Intel Xeon platform roadmap. 


New Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design use cases 

 Because we understand the challenges providers confront in supporting business-critical workloads at the edge, Intel’s longstanding technology leadership is committed to driving innovation at the enterprise edge. Our reference design supports original device manufacturers (ODMs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and edge NetSec solution providers to deploy NetSec workloads on multi-access edge computing (MEC) and edge infrastructure equipment. 

 As we collaborate with our broad partner ecosystem, we continue to develop and test new use cases for the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design. The latest include: 

  • Versa Networks: Securing data center infrastructure and tenants and securing compute platforms in remote deployments. 
  • Zscaler: Private access for edge to support 8K video, augmented and virtual reality, and AI inferences. 

Edge network and security solution providers can leverage solutions deployment tools integrated with the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design to bring new security products to market more quickly and cost-effectively. The latest integrated solutions deployment tools, which give access to a rich application ecosystem with over 40 applications validated on the solution, include: 


  • Adtran Ensemble Cloudlet: Open, modular, and scalable edge cloud platform providing automated deployment and management of high-performance secure networking workloads at the network edge and on customer premises. 


Visit us at MWC Barcelona 2024 to see our solutions in action. We will demonstrate the capabilities of the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design in collaboration with Adtran, Supermicro, and others. 



Learn more about the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design. 




  1. 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Global Research Report. Fortinet Training Institute, 2023. 


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About the Author
Bob Ghaffari is currently Vice President, Network & Edge Group, General Manager, Enterprise and Cloud Division at Intel Corporation. He is responsible for working with key customers and partners to enable best-in-class solutions for the Edge and Cloud with a focus on network and security solution use cases. Ghaffari’s organization works closely with enterprises, service providers and industry partners to deliver agile, secure, scalable and cost-effective network and edge solutions for multi and hybrid cloud implementations. Prior to this position, Ghaffari has held several positions in product development, business development and marketing strategy. Bob has an EECS degree from UC Berkeley and a MBA from Santa Clara University.