I've been requested to purchase an SSL accelerator card for the Qa Test environment. This will enhance performance of our server and perf testing. I'm unable to locate literature on the differences of a $15,000 accelerator card is Vs. the $100 card. Has anyone worked with an SSL card and does anyone know of a good website to assist?
I think that SSL acceleration cards are a good idea since you can offload expensive SSL processing for the main processor.
However, you should strive to have the same (ideal) or a very similar set up in your test environment compared to your production environment. If you are just purchasing this card to be able to run your tests in the Test environment, I think you are on the wrong track.
Your performance test result will most likely be near worthless if the gap between capacity/capability of your test enviornment and your prod. environment is too big.
If you have money to spend, I suggest you spend it where it will increase realism of your test.
I think you'll probably be surprised at how the performance gap between similar configurations and/or hardware devices can be. While cost prohibitive, I would duplicate the production environment in test if I could.
If not, go with the cheap card, but make sure that people understand that you need to run an "off hours" test against production (typically with limited test scripts - the ones that don't impact the production database), and compare the two results. All other things being equal (which they never are), you'll at least get an idea of how much better the presumably more expensive production card is.
Hope that helps! There is usually tremendous benefit to running tests against a lesser system, since software configuration problems rise to the surface and can be corrected...