Sun creates worlds smallest SSL Web server

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Fri Jan 14 10:07:23 PST 2005

- Computer Business Review

Sun creates world's smallest SSL Web server

Sun Microsystems Inc has created what can truly be called a microsystem.
The tiny server, nicknamed "Sizzle" (from Slim SSL), is the size and shape
of a quarter. It was created by Sun's engineers as a proof-of-concept
machine for embedded applications and will be presented at the Pervasive
Computing and Communications show in March.

14 Jan 2005, 10:47 GMT -
 Sizzle is a wireless Web server and is based on an 8-bit microprocessor
designed by Crossbow Technology Inc. The server has 8Kb of main memory,
which implements a stripped-down operating system plus a Web server and an
SSL server. Crossbow has created its own operating system, called TinyOS,
for these remote computers, often referred to as motes.

The mote that Sun is using in Sizzle is called the MICA2DOT, and it is
powered by a three-volt button battery, like the kind in your motherboard
to keep your BIOS settings alive. It is unclear if Sun is using TinyOS or a
stripped-down version of Solaris or Linux to create its micro Web server.

Sun is adding 128Kb of flash memory to the mote, and it is implementing a
version of SSL based on Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) that Sun says
makes public key cryptography suitable on a very tiny machine with
extremely limited capabilities.

Sizzle can complete an SSL handshake in under four seconds, and can do it
in under two seconds with sessions that are reused; the Web server can
transfer about 450 bytes per second. While you may not be able to run Yahoo
on it, you can build vast arrays of sensors with ad hoc networking, which
is what motes are for.

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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