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Regular Expressions in hardware
If you're looking to match a large numbe of strings against a regular expression - for example in a networking or telecom application such as packet switching or a firewall - you might want to look at a hardware rather than a software solution.

Safenet offer Regular Expression Coprocessors which they are targetting at (I quote) "High speed intrusion detection systems, packet classification, server load balancing, web-switching, bio-informatics, SANs, firewall load balancing and virus scanning".

The Perl "flavour" of regular expressions is used, though with a few differences that have been carefully considered to fit packet rather than text file applications. For example, the new line character has huge significance in most data files, but is just a regular part of the data stream in packet analysis applications.

Safenet's product is a chip, and anyone who purchases a chip involves themselves in a substantial development process to harness the power within an application. For customers with a quantity requirement, the approach seems attractive.

Note - Information on this page is based on data supplied to us by Raqia Networks Inc. (since taken over by Safenet), and should be read only as a review.

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