AES-XTS is a popular cipher for use in secure storage. In Linux*, the storage subsystem leverages the crypto subsystem to access the cipher suites. Such an implementation limits the incredible performance in Intel® Architecture processors equipped with Intel® AES New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI).
This paper introduces some of the innate characteristics of Intel AES-NI, and demonstrates how an alternative approach to integrating cipher algorithms optimized for Intel AES-NI can deliver an up to 6x performance gain in the storage subsystem. Furthermore, such gains are demonstrable with standard storage tools with sector sizes configured at commonly deployed levels.